A couple of recent medieval wins (and a provenance question…)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by AnYangMan, Dec 5, 2020.

  1. AnYangMan

    AnYangMan Well-Known Member

    In preparing my top 10 list for this year, I realized a fair few of my favourite purchases of this year fell within my subcollection of late medieval coins from the Low Countries. I think some deserve a spotlight outside of just a top 10, so why not post them here


    County of Flanders, Louis I de Nevers. AR Leeuwengroot (1341-1343, Ghent). Full res.

    The first is by no means a rare type, but is one of the most pleasing examples of the type I have come across. This iconic Gros, very aptly called Leeuwengroot/Gros au Lion, was first struck by Lodewijk/Louis de Nevers (who died on 26 August 1346 on the battlefield of Crécy and is therefore also called ‘Louis de Crécy’) The Leeuwengroot (also called Lakengeld, gezel or Gros Compagnon) would remain one of the most important coinages of the medieval Low Countries and was imitated by many of the smaller fiefdoms from Groningen to Cambrai. Recent scholarship by Torongo (our very own @leeuwengroot) and Van Oosterhout only truly revealing the scope of its importance; this exact coin is pictured in their article on the Leeuwengroten of Louis de Nevers under type II-D!

    After Louis the Nevers, Flanders passed on to his son Louis de Male. I think I already showed this coin before in the Medieval Monday topic, but it fits here perfectly:


    County of Flanders, Louis de Male. AR Zilveren Lyoen (1365-1367, Ghent. First emission). Still an image taken with my previous photography setup.

    After the leeuwengroot, this larger Zilveren Lyoen or Lion d’argent became one of the most important coins in the Low countries, it too was imitated frequently by both large and small fiefdoms, whose relevance long outlasted Louis. These double groten have often abusively been called 'botdragers', but this is an anachronism, as the real botdrager was issued by Louis’ successor. Since he had no male heirs and after the revolt of the city of Gent, he was the laughingstock at the French royal court. The revolt could only be subdued with the help of his son-in-law Philip of Burgundy; not only would this Philip inherit the County of Flanders, he would also found a mighty dynasty that at one point, after acquiring fiefdom after fiefdom through clever marriages, diplomacy and battle, would be in control of almost the entire Low countries!


    Duchy of Brabant, Joanna and Wenceslaus. AR Leeuwengroot (1382, Leuven) Full res.

    Another Leeuwengroot, but this time a later ‘imitation’ from Brabant. Numismatically speaking, the coinage under Joanna is one of the most diverse series in the low countries. An initial continuation of the Leeuwengroot of Jan III, a new Leeuwengroot from Vilvoorde, the vlieguits, two different tourelles, Vrijman, another Leeuwengroot in 1382, the coin-convention with Phillip of Flanders, followed by several Flemish imitations (and that’s only the silver…) The 1382 leeuwengroot is one of the last Leeuwengroten to be struck and would constitute the last emission of Joanna together with her consort Wenceslaus of Luxembourg (the son of the Bohemian king).

    I bought this in the same auction as the first leeuwengroot; the type is only somewhat scarce and I have seen several nicer ones pass by on the market in the last few years, so I was initially rather unsure whether this would be the example for me. But luckily I went to the viewing for this auction and discovered something that made this a prime target for me; it came with a tag noting it was bought in a Hess auction on 28-03-1933; part of the Erzherzog Sigismund von Österreich collection! It sounds very prestigious and having a provenance that far back is always neat. But does anybody know who exactly the archduke is? I have been assuming it is Sigismund Leopold von Österreich (1826-1891), but have not yet been able to get any confirmation that it is indeed his collection that was sold in 1933. Anyone here familiar with his collection by any chance? Either way, a purchase I am very happy with!

    Both of these coins were struck before the period which we in the Netherlands refer to as the period of ‘Burgundian unification’. I already touched upon how Philip the Bold managed to acquire Flanders, but after Wenceslaus died in 1384 it became clear that Joanna would not be able to produce a male heir. Therefor in 1390, she made a deal with this same Philip: the duchies of Brabant and Limburg would pass to the Burgundians in exchange for his children to marry those of the count of Holland (who she was related to distantly…) It was certainly the long game Philips was playing and eventually Brabant, Limburg, Holland, Zeeland and a fair few others came under the control of his descendants and it culminated in arguably the heydays of the low countries. The Burgundian court came to be known as one of the most prosperous and lavish throughout Europe. And its coinage reflects that! These last two were bought earlier this year already and were both struck under Philip the Fair, son of Austrian archduke and later Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian and Mary of Burgundy, one of the last of this line before it was absorbed by the Habsburgs:


    Duchy of Brabant, Maximilian of Austria as regent for Philip the Fair. AR Griffioen (1487-1488, Antwerpen or Mechelen) Full res.

    The Griffioen (Litt. Griffin) was introduced during the third emission under Maximilian as regent for Philip, who at the time was around nine years old and thus unfit to rule in his own stead. It names neither monarch, but the Griffin portrayed on the obverse, holding a Briquet (a firesteel, an important Burgundian heraldic element) is the personal emblem of Maximilian. The symbolism and craftsmanship of the 1487-88 emission are far superior to the preceding coinage of the Burgundians; they constitute a series of ‘prestige-coinage’ celebrating the election of Maximilian as King of the Romans (a precursor to becoming Holy Roman Emperor, which he would later be crowned as well in 1508).

    The minting of the Griffin and its related denominational series started in July 1487 in the mint of Antwerpen. Despite its regal and grandiose appearance, the Griffioen was overvalued at four and a half Groot (Flemish). Just over a million pieces were struck in Antwerpen, until the mint for Brabant moved to Mechelen in June 1488. Almost simultaneously, the Griffioen was devalued even more; while the weight stayed the same, the silver content was lowered from 6 Denier (50%) to 5 Denier and 12 Grein (45.8%). In Mechelen at least 1.2 million more Griffioenen were struck from June 1488 until November of that same year.

    While it was the incredibly fine detail in the griffin that drew me to this type, I find the inscriptions on this coin to also be highly fascinating; The obverse legend, ‘DENARI SIMPLEX NOIAT GRIFON’, translates to ‘Coin called a single Griffin’ and is one of the rare instances in which the name of a coin, not the denomination, is given on the coin itself. And while generally on coinage from this period generic mottos taken from the bible are placed upon the reverse, this type sports a very relevant one to put on coinage. ‘DEV PLVS AMA QUA ARGENTV’. ‘Love god more than silver’ …


    Duchy of Brabant, Philip the Fair. AR Zilveren Vlies (1498, Antwerpen) Full res.

    The imagery on this Zilveren Vlies/Toison d'argent (Litt. Silver Fleece) harkens back to a chivalric order founded by the great-grandfather of Philip the Fair. The order of the Golden Fleece was instated by the Burgundian duke Philip the Good in 1430 at the occasion of his marriage to Isabella of Portugal in Brugge. It sought to reconcile faith and knighthood and restore the chivalric values of ages past. But above all, the prestige order had a political function; it created a platform for the duke to control and oversee the nobility of this various fiefdoms and simultaneously cemented his Burgundian dynasty as one of the leading houses in chivalry and the European political scene…

    The zilveren vlies as a coin (together with its rare gold counterpart, the Gulden Vlies of two Gulden) was introduced on 14 May 1496 in the seventh emission under Philip the Fair. The seventh emission was the first that was struck solely under the dominion of Philip, as he had come of age three years prior and Maximilian, who had acted as his regent, now devoted his attention to the Holy Roman Empire, whose de facto ruler he became after the death of his father, Emperor Fredrick III, in that same year (the official coronation would not happen until 1508). The imagery emphasises the Burgundian roots of the duke through his mother’s side and the emission constitutes a clear break from the unstable financial approach of Maximilian. The obverse shows the insignia of the order of the Golden Fleece, as well as the beginning of the collar made of two Briquets (firesteels) emitting sparks, as well as the motto ‘INICIVM SAPIENCIE TIMOR DOMINI’ (the beginning of wisdom is fearing the Lord), followed by the year it was struck in ‘ANNO 1498’. The reverse shows the crowned arms of Philip, surrounded by his name and titles; ‘PHS DEI GRA ARCHID AVSTE DVX BG B’ (Philip, by the grace of God, Archduke of Austria and duke of Burgundy and Brabant). The only pre-1500 date I currently have in the collection!

    The Zilveren Vlies was struck from 1496 till 1503, primarily in the Antwerpen mint, but to a lesser degree also in Brugge and Dordrecht for Flanders and Holland respectively. From the opening of the ‘muntbussen’, we known that between September 1497 and May 1499 roughly 640.000 Zilveren Vliezen were struck in the Antwerpen; the exact mintage of these pieces dated 1498 is thus likely to be lower. It circulated for 3 stuiver (= 6 groot) and is thus one of the larger denomination silver coins of the Burgundian period. I personally fell for the fascinating depiction of the insignia of the Golden Fleece; both for its historic and aesthetic dimensions!

    A bit of a lengthy topic, but there is a lot to say about these coins ;). Please post anything your find relevant: Dutch or Flemish coinage, early dated pieces, recent medieval pickups, griffins or even something related to the original Golden fleece from Kolchis!
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
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  3. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    I don't remember ever posting these Flemish coins:

    Louis maille.jpg
    A "maille tierce" AR20mm 0.87g heavily circulated for the leeuwengroot of Louis I de Nevers from Ghent, 1341-1343

    Louis de Male.jpg
    A groot pseudo-"Botdrager" AR27mm 2.03g of Louis II de Male from Ghent, 1369-1370.

    They both came from a lot of 4 14th century coins -- 3 Flemish (these 2 and a copper mijt from Aalst of Louis I) and 1 French, an incredible denier tournois of Charles V on a large spectacular flan AR22mm 0.78g, 20/04/1365:


    For the whole lot I paid 51EUR shipped.
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  4. tibor

    tibor Well-Known Member

    Since you posted a 1498 Toison D'Argent, I will post a 1497 piece.



    Here is a piece from 1499


    TheRed, panzerman, svessien and 7 others like this.
  5. AnYangMan

    AnYangMan Well-Known Member

    Wow, amazing Toisons @tibor! Fantastic patina on the 1499 piece. Do you have any of the toisons from the eight emission? As in, a toison dated 1500-1503? I have been on the lookout for a toison from Dordrecht as well, but they frequently show significant weak spots, more so than the pieces from Brugge or Antwerpen.

    And cracking deal @seth77! Comparing your not-really-a-botdrager to my double not-really-a-botdrager makes it easy to see the differences between the various emissions. The pointed E’s, Lombardic M and so on. It is difficult to find the half zilveren Lyoen in this nice condition, even with chips!
  6. tibor

    tibor Well-Known Member

    @AnYangMan Thank you for the kind words. Most of my collection are
    coins with dates pre 1500 A.D. I have a few from both Southern Netherlands
    ( Brabant, Antwerp and Liege) and from Northern Netherlands ( Utrecht
    and Holland). Most of them can be viewed here:
    https://www.cointalk.com/threads/pre-1501-ad-coins-with-dates.329064/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+cointalk+(CoinTalk+Update) I've collected Early Dated coins for the
    past 20 years. I have German, Spanish, Austrian to name some of the
    issuing countries. Most date between 1374 A.D. - 1500A.D.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2020
    AnYangMan likes this.
  7. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    A very erudite and detailed post that gave me a bit more understanding of your fascination of this period. I've seen the coins - well, the photo's - before and must say: your investment in your new photography setup pays off. For those that did not click on the 'full-res' hyperlinks below the pictures: please do.

    Well, you know my collection. Here are a few.

    I really like the toning on this bracteate (my only):
    [1138] Annonymous - Arnhem, the Netherlands (AE Bracteate, ca.1460-1570).jpeg
    COUNT OF HOLLAND, Anonymous. Denomination: AE Bracteate, minted: Arnhem, the Netherlands; ca.1460-1570
    Obv: Double-headed eagle with horizontal spreaded wings and extended claws
    Rev: Incuse of obverse
    Weight: 0.28g; Ø:mm. Catalogue: vd.Chijs VIII.25. Provenance: Ex. private collection; acq.: 11-2019

    [11124] Jan I - Dordrecht, the Netherlands (AR Dutch Penny or 'Kopje', 1296-1299).png
    COUNT OF HOLLAND, Jan I. Denomination: AR Penny (or Dutch Penny or 'Kopje'), minted: ; 1296-1299
    Rev: + MON ETA DOR D'CI, long cross patteé
    Weight: 0.36g; Ø:13mm. Catalogue: Grolle 12.3.1 / vdCH 4.2-3 / vH. 48. Provenance: Ex. private collection; acq.: 09-2019

    [1137] Floris V (1254-1296) -  (AR Dutch Penny or 'Kopje', 1284-1286).jpg
    COUNT OF HOLLAND, Floris V. Denomination: AR Penny (or Dutch Penny or 'Kopje'), minted: ; 1284-1286
    Obv: x COMES HOLLA'DIE Head of Floris V to the left.
    Rev: + HO-LL-AN-Tx, voided long cross-pattee with rosettes in each quarter
    Weight: 0.54g; Ø:mm. Catalogue: Grolle 11.6.1, vdCh. 2.1-3. Provenance: Ex private collection; acq.: 11-2019

    And, well, sceatta's would be allowed as well, right? :cigar:
    My most recent series D bmc 2c (bust facing left, somewhat scarce because of that):
    Series D, type 2c (cleaned).jpg
    ... and my most recent series E, VICO Var 1
    Serie E, VICO var 1.jpg
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  8. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Nice coins guys!

    Here are some of my "Low Countries" lf (86).jpg lf (86).jpg lf (87).jpg lf (61).jpg lf (62).jpg lf (79).jpg lf (80).jpg
  9. AnYangMan

    AnYangMan Well-Known Member

    Wow, fantastic gold @panzerman! I absolutely adore the Chevalier d'or/Gulden rijder of Philip the good! You have great taste ;)

    Thanks for your kind words! Still not totally happy with the sharpness and crispness of some of them and there's still some improvements to be made. Still, overall very happy!

    And I do recognise some of those, especially the penning from Jan I ;). And well, Sceattas are fair game of course. Neat VICO! But you desperately need a Hexagon-type...
  10. tibor

    tibor Well-Known Member

    Since we're showing some gold, here is a recent purchase, Early Dated,
    Demi Noble d'or. 1&88 A.D. This one is listed in Levinson as II-101a.
    TheRed, Bing and Johndakerftw like this.
  11. tibor

    tibor Well-Known Member

    This is the earliest dated Low Country piece I own.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2020
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