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A fun Staufen (12th-c.) German denar --and the first slabbed coin I've ever gotten; the liberation forces are on high alert


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Honestly, I've yet to find this mint in Dannenberg, never mind Kluge (no less mysteriously); from here, it's hard to imagine that, as of both intervals in the 20th century, it would be considered as other than what it was, a contemporaneously German issue.  And, Thank you, online listings are routinely citing sources to which I have exactly zero access.  But, as routinely happens with denars of the Salian era (11th-early 12th c.), I'm getting some traction with this on an unapologetically esthetic level.  To all appearances, the dealer has gotten this much right: the abbey of Seltz (Fr.) /Selz (Ger.), in Alsace; anonymous, c. 1150-1190.

Picture 1 of 4

Picture 2 of 4

The Benedictine abbey dates to the end of the 10th century.  ...Right, if monks could do this

File:Monk sneaking a drink.jpg

I guess they could issue coins, too.

In the effectively total absence of documentation (thank you, I'm still new to this Salian and Staufen stuff), I like how the reverse includes the Agnus Dei, apparently resting on some sort of architectural motif.  Here's a Serbian (edit: Croatian) rendering, which looks c. 12th century.



I'm liking the detail on both sides, replete with the conventionally uninspiring strikes.

Edited by JeandAcre
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Many thanks, @TheRed.  My best guess is that, in conjunction with the apparent architectural element, it's likely to be a tree branch ...maybe with a complementary one on the left.  --A little too cartoony to be the Hand of God, along the lines of, say, Constantine commemoratives or pennies of AEthelred and their German imitations.

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On 3/5/2023 at 1:57 PM, TheRed said:

Do you happen to have any idea what is to theright of the lamb?  


On 3/5/2023 at 3:40 PM, JeandAcre said:

it's likely to be a tree branch

Looks like a dragons head to me...or is my imagination playing with me?

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/5/2023 at 4:27 AM, JeandAcre said:

Agnus Dei, apparently resting on some sort of architectural motif

On your second coin, I see what looks like an antependium with a cross. I thus suppose that your architectural motif is actually an altar.

The lamb therefore probably constitutes a Eucharistic reference. The hymn Agnus Dei is part of the liturgy of the Mass since the 8th century, and the representation of the consecrated host as a lamb fits well into the iconography of the time.

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Many thanks for the clarification, @Ursus.  Right, I knew it was the Agnus Dei, but, even with the second example, was nowhere near identifying the structure below as an antependium.  --Which is a new word! --that's how 'Low Church' I am.  

Also, one online listing (citing what from here are impossibly arcane German references) identifies the smaller figure in front of the bishop as an acolyte holding an open book (presumably Biblical or liturgical).


The religious imagery in these, and similar, contemporary ones of Strassburg /Strasbourg, is remarkable, even for ecclesiastical issues.  Just from what I've seen online over the past week or two, both the diversity and symbolic resonance are without easy precedent.

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Today the second of the examples above arrived, along with a different issue from the same mint.  To reiterate, the references that German dealers cite onine, while reassuringly running to the same ones, are hopelessly arcane for the likes of me.  But this third one made me sit up.

They're all anonymous, but depending on who you choose to believe, they start at an interval within the later 12th century, presumably with later ones in a comparably discrete range, or they're all just c. 12th-13th century.  It's frustrating to imagine the nuances involved just on that level, without even knowing which of the references that are cited are more or less up-to-date.  But one fun thing is that while this third one has the module of a petit denier, common to the Low Countries and Alsace-Lorraine, the first two are clearly 'oboles' relative to that one.  Ironic enough, since in medieval France, petit deniers were sometimes referred to as oboles, relative to the prevailing module of deniers.  But while the third one clocks in at a big 17 mm, the first two are 15mm, or just under.

Anyway, here's the new, full-module one.  (Apologies for the pics --yes, I took a hammer to all three slabs today; a very efficient, not to mention satisfying method.)

Picture 1 of 2

Picture 2 of 2

Now watch this.  I've bought from Diller, and consider him to be as reliable as he is established. 



Along with discovering an entire subseries from the ground up --always as fun as it can be frustrating-- now the more mundane mercenary factor makes a surprise appearance!


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