Renaissance - Ferdinand I, HRE, King of Royal Hungary

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by FitzNigel, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    Hello everyone - I recently found a bit of a steal in a local junk shop, and while this might not be ancient, it is still hammered so I thought it would be appropriate to post here. This type of coin was called 'Maddonnenmunzen,' and it is said that the beginning of this design and minting of these coins marks the beginning of the Renaissance in Hungary. It depicts the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus on one side, and a coat of arms on the other. These are also the first coins in Hungary to be dated.

    02-Hun-Ferdinand I-AR-D-01.jpg
    Ferdinand I, r. 1526-1564 (1554)
    Kremnitz Mint, AR Denier, 15.82mm x 0.3 grams
    Obv.: FERDINAND· D·G·R· VNG· 1554·, Coat of arms
    Rev.: PATRONA· * ·VNGARIE, Madonna and Child, mintmark K B on either side

    This particular coin was minted by Frederick I, but the design began during the reign of Matthias Corvinus in the fifteenth century. As for Frederick, he would essentially form the Hapsburg monarchy. The Hapsburgs as a family had come to power in the thirteenth century, but due to extensive marriage alliances, members of the Hapsburg family would come to rule Spain, Sardinia, Sicily, Southern Italy, Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, and various other lands both inside and outside the Holy Roman Empire (there were two major branches - Ferdinand was from the Austrian branch). The height of the family's power would be in the 17th century, so Ferdinand's consolidation of the ancestral lands of Austria and Slovenia with Bohemia and Hungary would yield tremendous results.

    Hapsburg Lands, showing both the Spanish and Austrian branches. Ferdinand I was the major founder of the Austrian Hapsburgs.

    While Ferdinand would come to Inherit Hungary through marriage, he would not succeed in holding all of it. Ferdinand would have to defend his rule of Hungary by defeating a rival claimant to the Hungarian throne in 1527 and again in 1528. Ferdinand's defeated rival fled to the Ottoman Turks to seek their help to secure Hungary for himself. The Ottomans had already conquered Constantinople and were in the process of slowly moving into Europe. With the loyalty of the Hungarian nobles split, the Ottomans were able to to take over about 2/3 of the kingdom, leaving Ferdinand with only the Western most part.

    The story of Hungary is then a series of battles, wins and losses, and occasional agreements of peace made between Ferdinand and the Ottoman Turks. The year this coin was minted saw an attempt by Ferdinand to establish a permanent border with the Turks in Hungary, but his emissary to Istanbul came back with nothing. The wars with the Ottomans, however, kept both Ferdinand and his brother (the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V) so busy, that they could do little to stop an internal threat to the religious unity of their territories.

    Woodblock print showing the German Princes and Emperor Charles V gathering at Augsburg to agree on the Peace of Augsburg.

    This was the beginnings of the Reformation. While Charles V was Holy Roman Emperor, he did little to try to suppress the preaching of Martin Luther, rather leaving the mess mostly in the hands of the church. Perhaps he could have been more forceful and crushed those who were attempting to break away from the Catholic Church, but Luther's message was appealing to many of the Princes of Germany, and Charles needed their support for the wars against the Turks. Charles would attempt a religious compromise by agreeing to the Peace of Augsburg in 1555. This was a monumental agreement that allowed the German Princes to choose whether they followed Catholicism or Lutheranism, and essentially established the notion that there was more than one sect of Christianity (excepting Eastern Orthodox of course...). When Charles died and Ferdinand was elected Emperor, he too was at the whim of the German princes: such was the position of the Roman Emperors at this point, that being elected meant keeping their electors happy.

    The Kremnica Mint in modern-day Slovakia. It was founded in 1328.

    So my cheap coin pick-up has turned out to have some fascinating historical connections, but there is one last little trinket of information, found the the mintmark. The 'K B' on either side of the Virgin stands for the city of Kremnitz (Kremnica), today in modern Slovakia. The mint began producing coins in the 14th century with a 'C' mintmark for its Latin name, which was replaced by a 'K' in the 15th century, and eventually the 'K B.' The mint is still producing coins to this day, and its website can be found here.

    Quant.Geek, stevex6, Jaelus and 16 others like this.
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  3. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Fascinating write up.
    Cucumbor and FitzNigel like this.
  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    They're pretty common and one of the cheaper medievals you can get.

    They lasted a long time. Many collect them.

    Ferdinand I (1526-1564)
    Hungary Denar
    O: *FERDINAND·D·G·R·VNG·1536

    Matthias "Corvinus" (Mátyás Hunyadi in Hun.) (1458 - 1490 A.D.)
    AR Hugary Denar
    O:+ M • MATHIE • R • VNGARIE •, Four-part shield with Hungarian arms (Árpádian stripes, patriarchal cross, Dalmatian leopard heads, Bohemian lion), raven with ring in escutcheon, annulets to sides.
    R: PATRON — VNGARIE, Nimbate crowned Madonna with nimbate infant Jesus to her right, K—P/rosette (privy mark) in fields.
    Kremnictz (Körmöczbánya) Mint
    P=Mintmaster Peter Schaider
    Huszar 722, Unger 567-b, and Corp. Num. Hung. II. 232 (Pohl)

    Die Clash Reverse
  5. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Great post and coin! Thanks! I have nothing to add though...
    FitzNigel likes this.
  6. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    I have a couple of these I ordered from Hungary. Gotta look for pictures...
    FitzNigel likes this.
  7. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Yay for your fortuitous find! Nice writeup, too :)
    FitzNigel likes this.
  8. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    Thanks all - I know I've seen the type before, but never thought about buying one. A random find and a good price sold me on it. Good history behind the coin too (although I argue that for all coins...)
  9. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    I've noticed that prices of Eastern European medieval coins are generally lower than the sometimes very pricey Western European stuff. Probably for the se reasons Islamic and Indian coins tend to be so cheap, collectors shy away from them.

    @FitzNigel That is a pretty coin. Sounds like you really like it. The article was fantastic. I may have to give these eastern bargains a second look.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  10. chrisild

    chrisild Coin Collector

    Interesting coin and story! Since you mentioned the KB mint mark, let me just add that there is a reason for the "B". ;) Kremnica is the Slovak name of the city, in German it would be Kremnitz, but the Hungarian name is Körmöcbánya (see Mat's reply). And the city and mint were in the Hungarian part of "double monarchy", hence KB. Side note: After the end of WW1, pretty much all the minting equipment was moved to the new Hungarian mint in Budapest - Kremnica had to get new machines ...

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  11. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter

    Thank you for the write-up - I learned some new things about the context of these coins. As Mat says, they're pretty common. They must have been extensively minted. I sold this one earlier in the year, which I remember picking out of a bag of a hundred or so at NYINC...

    dinar k.jpg
  12. arnoldoe

    arnoldoe Well-Known Member

    Nice, i have one from that mint in the 1600's,
    yeah pretty cheap too.. only about $9 US

    Matthias I, Holy Roman Emperor 1612-1619
  13. icerain

    icerain Mastir spellyr

    Nice coin and interesting too. This was the first medieval coin I first bought. There may be varieties though I'm not sure. The 2 I have looks somewhat different.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  14. Mikey Zee

    Mikey Zee Delenda Est Carthago

    Very impressive and informative presentation!!!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  15. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    very nice write up!

    i have one of these, one of the first silver coins i purchased. obverse pic is not great, but i'm to lazy to reshoot.

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  16. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    Looks like we have the same date, chrsmat!
    chrsmat71 likes this.
  17. Jaelus

    Jaelus The Hungarian Antiquarian Supporter

    This, but also under Austrian occupation, coins out of Körmöcbánya also used the B mint mark. The Austrians issued mint marks alphabetically, with the most important mint being Vienna (mint mark A). As the second most important mint, Körmöcbánya used B. So Hungarian coins from this mint can be found with C (Cremnicium), K (Körmöcz), KB (Körmöcbánya), and B (Körmöcbánya under Austrian occupation).
    FitzNigel and chrisild like this.
  18. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Great OP-score, Fitz (congrats)

    Ummm, all I have from the 16th century AD are these three French sweeties ...

    France, Henri IV Huitieme d'Ecu 1599
    newa.jpg newb.jpg

    LORRAINE, City of Metz
    1415-1540 AD
    Lorraine 1400 a.jpg

    Lorraine, Antoine the Good
    1508-1544 AD
    Lorraine 1500 Sword a.jpg Lorraine 1500 Sword b.jpg

    => oh, I should also probably include these babies in that "Thin-coin" thread ...

    => pretty cool


    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
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  19. Quant.Geek

    Quant.Geek Well-Known Member

    An excellent write-up! I collect a lot of Hungarian coins as it fits perfectly in my "Eastern Christendom" collection. Here is mine:

    Hungary: Ferdinánd I (1526-1564) BI Denár (Huszár-935, Réthy-40, Unger-745a)

    Obv: FERDINAND · D · G · R · VNG ✶ 1537 ✶; Quartered Coat of Arms (strips, double cross, leopard heads, Bohemian lion), at the heart , Austrian Shield
    Rev: PATRONA · ✶ · VNGARIE; Virgin Mary, crowned, enthroned facing, holding infant Jesus; across field, K-B (Kremnitz)

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