Making a spectacle

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Denis Richard, Oct 1, 2022.

  1. Denis Richard

    Denis Richard Well-Known Member

    I heard (from an unreliable source) that the earliest known reference/depiction of eyeglasses is actually found in a medieval Italian coin. The coin in question is a silver bracteate, minted circa 1285-1292, which bears the image of a man wearing a pair of rudimentary eyeglasses. This coin is supposedly now on display in the British Museum. Has anyone ever heard anything like that?

    I know eyeglasses are medieval, and they're depicted in paintings and other art of the period, but did they make it onto coins?
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  3. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    This isn't as old as you are referring to but is dated 1586 and is referred to as a spectacle thaler due to the glasses hanging under the hourglass and skull.

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  4. alurid

    alurid Well-Known Member

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  5. Denis Richard

    Denis Richard Well-Known Member

    That isn't quite what I was looking for, but it's equally fascinating. What were the skull, hourglass and spectacles for?
  6. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    From an earlier post of mine:
    “On the Brillentallers we find spectacles depicted along with a skull and an hourglass sand clock, which may signify the temporary nature of all earthly goods and encourage penitence and self-evaluation. The symbolism of the spectacles is unclear, but may signify that the Duke’s subjects should open their eyes and participate in the then raging battle between the Protestants and Catholics and, with the help of the spectacles, find the right camp.” Opthalmomogia p. 413
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