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Peace of Westphalia


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Are there any talks of adding a forum category for medallic art? 

Europe had been battered by the Thirty Years' War and the Eighty Years' War, exacting a heavy toll in money and lives. The Eighty Years' War was a prolonged religious war between Catholics and Protestants, evolving to a struggle for the independence of the Protestant-majority Dutch Republic, supported by Protestant-majority England, against Catholic-dominated Spain and Portugal. The Thirty Years' War was the deadliest of the European wars of religion, centered on the Holy Roman Empire. The war included many domestic and foreign players, siding either with the Catholic League or the Protestant Union. The Peace of Prague (1635) ended most religious aspects of the war, and the French–Habsburg rivalry took over prominence. With between 4.5 million and 8 million dead in the Thirty Years' War alone, and decades of constant warfare, the need for peace became increasingly clear.

The Peace of Westphalia is the collective name for two peace treaties signed in October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück and Münster. They ended the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) and Eighty Years' War (1568–1648), and brought peace to the Holy Roman Empire, closing a calamitous period of European history that killed approximately eight million people. The Holy Roman Emperor, the Spanish Monarchy, the kingdoms of France and Sweden, the United Provinces (Netherlands), and their respective allies among the princes of the Holy Roman Empire participated in these treaties.

The negotiation process was lengthy and complex. Talks took place in two cities, because each side wanted to meet on territory under its own control. A total of 109 delegations arrived to represent the belligerent states, but not all delegations were present at the same time. Two treaties were signed to end the war in the Empire: The Treaty of Münster and the Treaty of Osnabrück. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, with the Habsburgs and their Catholic allies on one side, battling the Protestant powers allied with France, which was Catholic but strongly anti-Habsburg under King Louis XIV. The separate Peace of Münster ended the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the United Provinces.

I recently purchased the medal below. It is titled, The Peace of Westphalia and includes some exquisite imagery and die engraving. This was an important event in the history of Europe. Years of terror and war were, in theory, coming to an end and there was reason to be hopeful. One result of this event was that the United Provinces were officially recognized as a nation for the first time.

Scholars of international relations have identified the Peace of Westphalia as the origin of principles crucial to modern international relations, including the inviolability of borders and non-interference in the domestic affairs of sovereign states.




Dated 1648
 By E. Ketteler

Weight: 36.4g
Diameter: 57.6mm

Schulman, Pax 96, Goppel 680


Obverse: “alas, the lions joined together have come under the Lord's chariot”. Peace, holding reins, winged caduceus, and cornucopia, driving chariot pulled by two crowned lions right, one holding bundle of arrows in raised forepaw, the other holding a scepter; around, military and musical instruments cast aside; in two lines to right, PAX/HIS PANO BATAVA.

Reverse: “The happiness of peace unto the Christian world, however devised or accomplished by such kingdoms and provinces, either alone or by ocean, land, or sea, is the security of public harmony, for which we hope and vow here in the monastery of Westphalia in the year 1648” in ten lines.


Based on a draft from the Spanish delegation, the Münster mint-master Ketteler minted a medallion which shows the triumphal carriage of the goddess of peace being pulled by the Spanish and Dutch lions fighting spirit is transformed into a desire for peace.

On the eve of his departure, Peñaranda, leader of the Spanish delegation at the Peace of Westphalia,  wrote to Spanish nobleman Don Luis de Haro, enclosing a copy of the medal which he and others had had designed and struck, at Münster , to celebrate the conclusion of the Peace.

Fabio Chigi (later Pope Alexander VII) wrote in his diary on June 27, 1648, at his visit with the Spanish chief diplomat Peňaranda “che fa donar miei una medaglia per uno della sua pace di Olanda” (who gave me a medal on the peace with Holland ).

Little is known of the engraver, Engelbert Kettler. Forrer’s Biographical Dictionary of Medallists merely states that he was mint-master at Osnabruck in 1637 an Munster from 1638-1656.

This medal has the distinction of being included in the exhibition (and subsequent book) “50 Masterworks for the Golden Age” a collection of Dutch medals from the 17th century.



Allegory of the Peace of Westphalia, by Jacob Jordaens


Feel free to post anything that you feel is relevant. 

Biographical Dictionary of Medallists: by Leonard Forrer
50 Masterworks from the Golden Age: by Nomos and John Endlich Antiquars


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..well, i don't consider them coins per say, but they are very collectible, not to mention attractive in art and detail ...since there's no coins of Louis XVII, i'm now looking to get a contemporary medal of him to add to my (coin)collection of Louies of France....:)

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Beautiful! I've posted some medals in the "General" forum and some in the World Coins forum, just as I did on Coin Talk. It doesn't really matter to me where people post them, since my front page shows the 25 most recent threads from all the different forums. I haven't excluded any of them from my "feed," since I have at least some interest in all of them. Unlike on CT where I had no interest in seeing threads on US coins, etc. 

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