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My First "Wild Man" [Wilder Mann] Coin


DonnaML

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I've always thought that the "Wild Man" silver coins minted in Germany in the 16th-early 19th centuries (I believe mostly in the various states in the vicinity of  Brunswick/Braunschweig and Lüneburg in today's Lower Saxony) looked interesting. But I never got around to buying one until I recently saw one on MA-Shops that was in decent condition and reasonably-priced.

Plus, entirely by coincidence, the coin I bought happens to have been issued by the future King George I of Great Britain, albeit at a time when he was merely Georg Ludwig, the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and a Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire. So I think I can legitimately consider it to be an adjunct to my collection of British coins and medals!

It seems that although there have been a number of threads on this type of coin on Coin Talk (see, for example,  https://www.cointalk.com/threads/my-wildman-addiction.318099/ ), there hasn't been one here. So I hope others take the opportunity to post whatever they may have that fits the subject. 

German States, Brunswick [Braunschweig]-Lüneburg-Calenberg-Hannover, Georg Ludwig  (1660-1727), Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg & Prince-Elector of Holy Roman Empire 1698-1727 [also King George I of Great Britain & Ireland 1714-1727], AR 24 Mariengroschen (2/3 Thaler) 1707, Zellerfeld Mint, Lower Saxony. Obv. Bearded, hairy Wild Man (Wilder Mann), wearing loincloth and cap made of leaves and branches, standing facing, head turned slightly to left, upon fields dotted with tiny trees, holding large uprooted tree in right hand; above, motto IN RECTO DECUS. [Honor in Doing Right]; in lower right field, the number 24 [value in Mariengroschen] / Rev. In five lines within circle, *XXIIII* [Value] | MARIEN | GROSCH [Denomination] | V.FEIN.SILB: [fractional silver mark value] | *** (three stars) [privy mark for Zellerfeld Mint]; around, * GEORG . LUD : D : G : D : BR : & L : S : R : I : ELECT : 1707.  36 mm., 13.06 g. KM-15, p. 267 [Standard Catalog of German Coins 1501-Present (Krause Publications, 3rd ed. 2011)]; Welter 2158 [Gerhard Welter, Die Münzen der Welfen seit Heinrich dem Löwen (3 v., Braunschweig: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1971-78); Davenport 423 [Davenport, J. S., German Talers 1700-1800 (Galesburg 1958)]. Purchased 15 Jan. 2024 from Manfred Olding Münzhandlung, Osnabrück, Germany.

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Anyone who wants to learn about the "Wild Man" myth in general, and its representation in works of art since medieval times, can go to https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/The_Wild_Man_Medieval_Myth_and_Symbolism and download a free pdf of a 1980 book, published in connection with an exhibition at The Cloisters, entitled The Wild Man: Medieval Myth and Symbolism, by Timothy Husband. There are only a couple of coins illustrated and discussed at length (see pp. 161-162, concerning two 16th century talers of Heinrich IX the Younger) but the book is interesting nonetheless.

Another reason I was interested in this coin is that one branch of my mother's family actually originated in Braunschweig  (before the Jews were finally expelled from there in 1590), and took their surname from that city after winding up in Alsace, including my 7th-great-grandfather Isaïe (Schey) Brunschwig (known as "Le Roux" for his red hair) (b. ca. 1635, d. 1698 in Cernay [Sennheim], Haut Rhin, Alsace), and his son, my 6th-great-grandfather Abraham Brunschwig (also known as "Le Roux") (b. 20 Aug. 1671, Bollwiller, Haut Rhin -- his entry survives in an old mohel book -- d. July 1740, Cernay). Abraham must have had delusions of grandeur, because he apparently paid enough money to the French government to get permission to adopt his own coat of arms around 1696, and was one of only a handful of Jews in Alsace to do so :

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[See D. Ingold, "Histoire de la Communauté Juive de Cernay," in Annuaire de la Société d'Histoire des Régions de Thann-Guebwiller, Tome XVIII (1990-1992), pp. 27-34 at p. 29:

"Vers 1700, Abraham Brunschwig était un des Cernéens les plus aisés de la ville apparemment, pusiqu'il se vit attributer, sans doute d'office moyennant finance, des armoiries par l'héraldiste royal D'Hozier: 'De gueules à six besants d'argent, troix, deux et un.'  (Armorial de la Généralité d'Alsace, No 225).  Les 'besants' (ancienne monnaie) qui meublaient son blason étaient sans doute une fine allusion à ses activités de prêteur sur gages.

See also Armorial Général de France, vol. 1, Haute et Basse Alsace (1696), at p. 511, illustrating in color the arms of "Abraham Bronsvich, Juif."  (Armorial général de France par Charles d'Hozier (1696-XVIIIe siècle), Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), Département des manuscrits, français, Ms 32228 à 32262, available at http://www.chateauversailles-recherche.fr/francais/ressources-documentaires/corpus-electroniques/sources-manuscrites/armorial-general-de-france-par.html, with link to vol. 1 at http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k1105860/f2.item -- 1er volume : Haute et basse Alsace (Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), Département des manuscrits, Français, Ms 32228; identifier ark:/12148/bpt6k1105860).) For description of arms, see Armorial de la généralité d'Alsace, recueil officiel dressé par les ordres de Louis XIV (A. Aubry, Paris, 1861) [link at http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k54062097/f6.item.r=armorial general alsace 1861.zoom], at p. 358, in section for Brisack et Colmar: "No 225. ABRAHAM BRONSVICH, juif; Porte de gueules à six besants d'argent, troix, deux et un."   For manuscript version of description, see 
VOLUMES RELIES du Cabinet des titres : recherches de noblesse, armoriaux, preuves, histoires généalogiques. Armorial général de France, dressé, en vertu de l'édit de 1696, par Charles D'HOZIER. (1697-1709). I Alsace (1701), Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Français 32194, at p. 682, No. 225.  (Link to manuscript at http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10724045g/f2.image.r=armorial general alsace; identifier ark:/12148/btv1b10724045g.)] [My notes on genealogy can sometimes be as detailed as my notes on certain ancient coins!]

 

 

Edited by DonnaML
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9 hours ago, DonnaML said:

r: 'De gueules à six besants d'argent, troix, deux et un.'  (Armorial de la Généralité d'Alsace, No 225).  Les 'besants' (ancienne monnaie) qui meublaient son blason étaient sans doute une fine allusion à ses activités de prêteur sur gages.

 

That is a very beautiful coin and an interesting family connection. 

The blason (heraldic description) of Abraham Brunschwig's coat of arms translates as "In red six besants of silver, (in order) three - two and one". The heraldic term besant or bezant describes a silver or gold disc, indicating money. The term besant/bezant was used by the Crusaders to refer to Byzantine gold coins, i.e. besant is a modified form of Byzantine. The name was later applied to dirhams. The coat of arms may have been designed to reflect the fact that Abraham Brunschwig had effectively bought the arms or the reference to money could have been intended to indicate his substantial wealth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Tejas
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Terrific coin and write-up @DonnaML.  It so happens I too recently caught Wildman fever (er, I guess you could call it that?)when a $7.50 "deal" came my way on eBay - probably too much given the hole.  But I used to have a thaler, but I sold it years ago and I regret it now, so this is my only Wildman (future George III, though he didn't put his name on cruddy little coppers).  I really like the various renditions of the Wildman on these coins - yours seems wilder than mine because of the stance and despite the Christmas wreath loin cloth. Mine seems a bit more relaxed:  

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Brunswick-Luneburg-Calenberg-Hannover Pfennig 1794 Wildman standing facing, holding tree, P.L.M in exergue  / 1 | PFENN | SCHEIDE | MÜNTZ . | 1794 KM 330.3. (3.34 gram / 20.5 mm) eBay Sep. 2023  

Thanks for giving me an excuse to post this!

Edited by Marsyas Mike
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Donna congratulations on your first "wildman" coin! Hope you add many more to your great collection. I have a few too.

Here are two of them/ one from Denmark/ struck under King Frederik VII in 1837 at the Altona Mint. And Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel Zehn Thaler 1834-CvC Braunschweig Mint

One interesting tidbit/ Georg I of Great Britain/ also King of Hannover/ Braunschweig-Lünenburg-Calenberg had a "pet" wildboy named Peter.

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1 hour ago, panzerman said:

Donna congratulations on your first "wildman" coin! Hope you add many more to your great collection. I have a few too.

Here are two of them/ one from Denmark/ struck under King Frederik VII in 1837 at the Altona Mint. And Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel Zehn Thaler 1834-CvC Braunschweig Mint

One interesting tidbit/ Georg I of Great Britain/ also King of Hannover/ Braunschweig-Lünenburg-Calenberg had a "pet" wildboy named Peter.

lf - 2024-01-29T142939.297.jpg

lf - 2024-01-29T142955.065.jpg

lf - 2024-01-29T143151.654.jpg

lf - 2024-01-29T143207.515.jpg

I also thought of Peter the “wild boy” when seeing George I and the Wild Man coin mentioned together. Interestingly, Peter, who was found living wild in a forest in Germany, and was brought to live in Kensington Palace, may have been part of the inspiration for Peter Pan. That character first appears in J.M. Barrie’s “The Little White Bird” in a chapter titled “Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.”  (E.g., https://pitthopkins.org/newly-diagnosed/peter-pan-connection/ )

 

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6 hours ago, Tejas said:

That is a very beautiful coin and an interesting family connection. 

The blason (heraldic description) of Abraham Brunschwig's coat of arms translates as "In red six besants of silver, (in order) three - two and one". The heraldic term besant or bezant describes a silver or gold disc, indicating money. The term besant/bezant was used by the Crusaders to refer to Byzantine gold coins, i.e. besant is a modified form of Byzantine. The name was later applied to dirhams. The coat of arms may have been designed to reflect the fact that Abraham Brunschwig had effectively bought the arms or the reference to money could have been intended to indicate his substantial wealth.

Thanks for providing the translation, @Tejas. I forget sometimes that not everyone reads French! Perhaps it was prophetic that the only coat of arms of anyone in my family tree depicted old coins. Even if the reason had nothing to do with collecting them.

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54 minutes ago, Tejas said:

Yes, that is actually pretty cool to have a coat of arms that reflects your hobby. Are you entitled to bear that coat of arms?

I might have to pay a licensing fee to Louis XIV.

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Similar to the lovely Danish and Brunswick gold posted by @panzerman  Prussia also featured a couple of rather relaxed Wildmen leaning against the coat of arms on this Napoleonic-era thaler.  Sorry for the lousy photo, but I haven't seen the sun in well over a week and my photos just don't work at all in cloudy weather.  Hope that's not poison ivy those guys are wearing!

image.jpeg.9e3433d28974ef812001d1f76b17767c.jpeg

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Can't beat those wild men and wild women!  The garlanded, virtually naked wild man, standing in almost a nonchalant pose attracted me early on in my collecting of world crowns.  I used to own several, but some were sold in fundraising efforts over the years.

This coin was purchased back in 1980, on a dark and rainy day, as I recall, in Carmel, at the shop of Hal Blackburn.  

Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, Frederick Ulrich "wild man" thaler, 1617.

KM-52.1; Dav-6303.

28.81 grams

D-CameraBrunswick-WolfenbttelFrederickUlrichwildman1617KM-52.1Dav-630328.81gBlackburn198010-27-22.jpg.2fc4ab6c57fdb677f0fab2ec1d625623.jpg

 

The other wild man thaler that I photographed is this one, purchased years later, late eighties or early nineties, from a group of crowns at my local coin shop in San Jose, the same group that included my 1590 Segovia 8 reales.  This coin has a more complex design on the obverse, full of symbolism relating to mortality; indeed Julius died the following year.

Brunswick-Wolfenbuttle, Goslar, Julius, "Brillentaler", 1589.

Davenport 9067

29 grams

D-CameraBrunswick-WolfenbuttlethalerGoslarBrillentaler29grams8-31-20.jpg.e43b240ce62257286c3af68cff408db4.jpg

Edited by robinjojo
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9 minutes ago, robinjojo said:

Can't beat those wild men and wild women!  The garlanded, virtually naked wild man, standing in almost a nonchalant pose attracted me early on in my collecting of world crowns.  I used to own several, but some were sold in fundraising efforts over the years.

This coin was purchased back in 1980, on a dark and rainy day, as I recall, in Carmel, at the shop of Hal Blackburn.  

Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, Frederick Ulrich "wild man" thaler, 1617.

KM-52.1; Dav-6303.

28.81 grams

D-CameraBrunswick-WolfenbttelFrederickUlrichwildman1617KM-52.1Dav-630328.81gBlackburn198010-27-22.jpg.2fc4ab6c57fdb677f0fab2ec1d625623.jpg

 

The other wild man thaler that I photographed is this one, purchased years later, late eighties or early nineties, from a group of crowns at my local coin shop in San Jose, the same group that included my 1590 Segovia 8 reales.  This coin has a more complex design on the obverse, full of symbolism relating to mortality; indeed Julius died the following year.

Brunswick-Wolfenbuttle, Goslar, Julius, "Brillentaler", 1589.

Davenport 9067

29 grams

D-CameraBrunswick-WolfenbuttlethalerGoslarBrillentaler29grams8-31-20.jpg.e43b240ce62257286c3af68cff408db4.jpg

Fantastic! I must say, my Wild Man is virtually hairless compared to some of these guys. They're just about as furry as Bigfoot!

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4 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

Fantastic! I must say, my Wild Man is virtually hairless compared to some of these guys. They're just about as furry as Bigfoot!

My wild man probably had pretty bad grooming habits!

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Couple more from Stack's Auction/ for reasonable bids/ price

Braunschweig-Blankenburg/ Fürstentum

Ludwig Rudolf 1717-31

Quarter/ Half Dukats

This principality was short lived/ absorbed into the Herzogtum of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel in 1731. These depict wildman shaking tree/ like the ones in US West Coast forests!

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On 2/4/2024 at 2:52 AM, ChrisB said:

Here's a wild family for you:

 

image.jpeg.cc4cffcaef6be0ade6095aa8ccc20352.jpeg

Very nice. This is a so called Schieß-Guldiner of Erfurt in Thuringia
Obs.:   ✱MON·REIPVBLICAE·CIVITATIS·ERFFORDI   -   wie vorr.
Rev.:   AVF·IEDES·SCHIS: / EN·MEIN·R·DIS·IAR / ZV VORN·I00.60-40 / GEBEN·WAR·✱· / Z9 AVG:&.5.SEPT
Above: F - G ( for Florian Gruber)

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  • 2 weeks later...

here is my Wild Man :

 

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12 Mariengroschen = 1/3 Thaler , 32 mm, 6,4 gr, Georg Ludwig (1660-1727) in 1698

The Wild Man was also used in The Netherlands : a test in tin from the same medalist as my medal for the king. It was made in 1828 for the academy in 's Hertogenbosch, now in the Netherlands :

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52 mm, 19,8 gr., Dirks, N.P., p 241, nr 300

KONINKLIJKE SCHOOL VOOR NUTTIGE EN BEELDENDE - KUNSTEN TE S’HERTOGEN-BOSCH. : Royal School for useful and plastic arts in 's Hertogenbosch.

Wild Man with his left hand on a crown and the arms of the town of 's Hertogenbosch, left an orange tree, symbol for the king of the Netherlands : the house of Oranje (from Orange)-Nassau

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