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My first Dutch historical medal: coronation of William III of England


DonnaML

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Most Dutch historical and commemorative medals from the 16th and 17th centuries are extremely expensive and unaffordable to me, but this one was an exception. It's a small medal minted in Rotterdam in the Netherlands to celebrate the joint coronation in 1689 of William, Prince of Orange as William III, King of England, together with his wife -- and first cousin -- Mary as Queen.  (William's mother was a sister of Mary's father, the deposed King James II.)

Netherlands, AR William III (& Mary II) of England, Coronation Festivities at Rotterdam, 1689. Obv. In foreground, City Shield of Rotterdam, resting against a palm tree and supported by two lions; on a band beneath, ROTERODAMUM; in background, city view of Rotterdam, with the River Meuse and its shipping in front / Rev. People seated at a feast, in front of a triumphal arch inscribed PRINCIPI PATRIAE QUE S. C. [To the Prince and our country, by order of the senate], and decorated above with a crowned bust of William III, facing with head turned slightly to right; in foreground to left, the city’s statue of Erasmus; in exergue, 1689. 30 x 31 mm., 9.72 g. MI i, pp. 678-679 no. 55, ill. Pl. LXXIII no. 6 [Medallic Illustrations of the History of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. I (1885, reprinted by Spink 1969; Plate volume 1911, reprinted by Spink 1979)]; Michael Mitchiner, Jetons, Medalets & Tokens Vol. II, The Low Countries and France 2658 p. 849 (ill. same) (London 1991). Purchased 30 Jan 2024 from Daniel Zufahl Münzen & Medaillen Numis Matic, Munich, Germany.*

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*See MI I, p. 679: “The coronation of William III was celebrated with great rejoicings at most of the principal towns in the United Provinces. At Rotterdam a great dinner was given in the place where the statue of Erasmus is erected, and this small medal was distributed upon the occasion.”  

Here, for comparison purposes, is the official British coronation medal for William & Mary, by John Roettier: 

England, William & Mary, Official AR Coronation Medal, 1689, by John Roettier. Obv. Busts of William & Mary right, conjoined and draped, William laureate, GVLIELMVS. ET. MARIA. REX. ET. REGINA./ Rev. Jove (possibly representing William III) hurls thunder from cloud at Phaeton (possibly representing James II), falling from his chariot, the earth in flames at left, NE TOTVS ABSVMATVR [That it may not all be consumed]; in exergue, INAVGVRAT. 11 AP 1689.  MI I, 662/25 [Medallic Illustrations of the History of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. I p. 662, No. 25 (1885, reprinted 1969)];  Eimer 312 & Pl. 40 [C. Eimer, British Commemorative Medals and their Values (2nd ed. 2010)]; Wollaston pp. 7-8 no. viii & ill. 9. 35 mm., 17.07 g. Purchased from Hedley Betts, 11 Jan. 2008. [For discussion of possible allegory of William III as thundering Jove hurling James II as Phaeton from his chariot, see Wollaston p. 70 and Till p. 40 [William Till, Descriptive Particulars of English Coronation Medals (London 1837)]; but see Wollaston p. 70 regarding John Roettier actually having been a James II supporter and therefore, perhaps, unlikely to insult him in that manner.]

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Please post anything you think might be relevant, including any Dutch medals on any subject.

Edited by DonnaML
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Very nice medal Donna. I do not go after medals but always love seeing yours/ and your historical analysis. I can post something....

United Dtch Provinces

Utrecht

AV Rosenoble ND (1600)

Utrecht Mint

These were imitations of Edward IV Rose Nobles in Flanders

excuse my bad foto.

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IMG_0133.JPG

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Nice medal @DonnaML! Unfortunately, the story in Medallic Illustrations is quite incorrect and simply based on a 19th century numismatist wrongly interpreting the obverse and taking that interpretation to be a historical fact. Such a great dinner given in the place where the statue of Erasmus is erected, and where this small medal was distributed upon the occasion’ simply did not exist.  

In fact, in traditional Dutch numismatics, this medal does not even fall under the term of ‘historiepenningen’ (historical medals)! It instead is a so-called ‘vroedschapspenning’ or as they are known in English city-council tokens. People serving in the city council, both the ‘Burgemeesters’,  ‘schepenen’ and the secretaries, received financial compensation whenever they attended city council meetings. Initially this was paid out directly once a year, which required thorough and detailed administration. So instead, towards the end of the 17th century, quite a few Dutch cities switched to a system of using silver tokens. For every meeting, the attending members would receive a token. In Rotterdam, the ‘burgemeesters’ (mayors) received a slightly larger token worth 24 stuivers, while the other members of the vroedschap (city-council) would receive a smaller one worth 18 stuivers. They could either be used for ordering wine during these meetings or exchanged with the city-treasurer for actual circulating coinage. Though in many cases, member also kept examples, as they quickly became prestige objects!

The idea to start producing Vroedschapspenningen for use in Rotterdam came in September 1688. One of the great Dutch artists of the late 17th century, Romeyn de Hooghe (1645-1708), was asked to design them. The letter he sent the city-council in January 1689 is still preserved in the city archives, showing some interesting alternative versions. Unfortunately, it seems to not have been digitized yet. 

These vroedschapspenningen were very much a symbol of local pride within the upper circles. Hence why they have strong local imagery; those from Haarlem depict the saw-ship of Damiate, Gouda’s shows three important historical figures in their history, Alkmaar references their role in the eighty years’ war, etc. Rotterdam naturally had to depict Erasmus and being one of the most pro-Orange cities in the republic, had to make a small reference to William III. The scene on the obverse is not meant to depict a banquet, but rather an idealized/classicized city council meeting, with all the 18 members of the vroedschap depicted in Roman togas.

The tokens themselves were struck in the mint in Dordrecht, where the dies were cut by master engraver Daniel Drappentier (1643-1714). Two pairs of dies were cut, of which 3 individual dies are still kept in Rotterdam. In total, 1200 large medals for the mayors and 3000 small medals for the rest of the vroedschap were struck. While the designs of these two varieties only shows minor differences, the diameter is often decisive. Yours for example, is one of the 3000 smaller pieces. Tokens with this design were first handed out in the meeting of 26 September 1689 and continued to be used until 1705, when a new token, also struck in Dordrecht, was introduced.

So while not so much a medal commemorating the coronation of William III, an incredibly fascinating piece of Dutch local history and certainly a piece of art! My example (one of the 1200 for the mayors):

Rotterdamjpg.jpg.7fbfffbc4b0b2741e21e7810262c779f.jpg

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5 hours ago, AnYangMan said:

Nice medal @DonnaML! Unfortunately, the story in Medallic Illustrations is quite incorrect and simply based on a 19th century numismatist wrongly interpreting the obverse and taking that interpretation to be a historical fact. Such a great dinner given in the place where the statue of Erasmus is erected, and where this small medal was distributed upon the occasion’ simply did not exist.  

In fact, in traditional Dutch numismatics, this medal does not even fall under the term of ‘historiepenningen’ (historical medals)! It instead is a so-called ‘vroedschapspenning’ or as they are known in English city-council tokens. People serving in the city council, both the ‘Burgemeesters’,  ‘schepenen’ and the secretaries, received financial compensation whenever they attended city council meetings. Initially this was paid out directly once a year, which required thorough and detailed administration. So instead, towards the end of the 17th century, quite a few Dutch cities switched to a system of using silver tokens. For every meeting, the attending members would receive a token. In Rotterdam, the ‘burgemeesters’ (mayors) received a slightly larger token worth 24 stuivers, while the other members of the vroedschap (city-council) would receive a smaller one worth 18 stuivers. They could either be used for ordering wine during these meetings or exchanged with the city-treasurer for actual circulating coinage. Though in many cases, member also kept examples, as they quickly became prestige objects!

The idea to start producing Vroedschapspenningen for use in Rotterdam came in September 1688. One of the great Dutch artists of the late 17th century, Romeyn de Hooghe (1645-1708), was asked to design them. The letter he sent the city-council in January 1689 is still preserved in the city archives, showing some interesting alternative versions. Unfortunately, it seems to not have been digitized yet. 

These vroedschapspenningen were very much a symbol of local pride within the upper circles. Hence why they have strong local imagery; those from Haarlem depict the saw-ship of Damiate, Gouda’s shows three important historical figures in their history, Alkmaar references their role in the eighty years’ war, etc. Rotterdam naturally had to depict Erasmus and being one of the most pro-Orange cities in the republic, had to make a small reference to William III. The scene on the obverse is not meant to depict a banquet, but rather an idealized/classicized city council meeting, with all the 18 members of the vroedschap depicted in Roman togas.

The tokens themselves were struck in the mint in Dordrecht, where the dies were cut by master engraver Daniel Drappentier (1643-1714). Two pairs of dies were cut, of which 3 individual dies are still kept in Rotterdam. In total, 1200 large medals for the mayors and 3000 small medals for the rest of the vroedschap were struck. While the designs of these two varieties only shows minor differences, the diameter is often decisive. Yours for example, is one of the 3000 smaller pieces. Tokens with this design were first handed out in the meeting of 26 September 1689 and continued to be used until 1705, when a new token, also struck in Dordrecht, was introduced.

So while not so much a medal commemorating the coronation of William III, an incredibly fascinating piece of Dutch local history and certainly a piece of art! My example (one of the 1200 for the mayors):

Rotterdamjpg.jpg.7fbfffbc4b0b2741e21e7810262c779f.jpg

Thank you so much, @AnYangMan. I'm surprised that Mitchiner repeated what seems to be an untrue story as late as the 1990s. 

Is there a book or article I can cite in my records as a source for your explanation? If it's available online, all the better: I can use google translate to read it, even if it's in Dutch.

 

Edited by DonnaML
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The numismatic club of Rotterdam published a 53-page book(let) on the Rotterdam Vroedschapspenningen in 1982 ('penningen uitgegeven door de Rotterdamse Vroedschap'), but I don't believe there is a digital version of that available. It is partially based on an article from 1888 by J.H.W. Unger, titled 'De vroedschapspenningen van Rotterdam'. That's (largely) available here.

Edited by AnYangMan
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@DonnaML, it's easy to commiserate about a source as ostensibly reliable as Mitchiner having been so wrong.  Ow.  But you have me back to forlornly trawling for a representative example of James II's 'gun money.'  That's daunting, given the price range and my own effectively total ignorance of the series.

And, Yep, busted again, the only Dutch Anything I have is medieval.  Here are two I think are fun.

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(From the dealer's description.  ...Not in Kluge, Salier (strangely enough), but confirmed for Ilisch.  A coissue of Henrich III and the bishop of Groningen.  I have to like the bishop's tonsure.)

The Netherlands. Groningen. Wilhelm and Heinrich III /IV, 1054-1076. AR Denar (18mm, 0.52g). HENRICVSRE+, crowned bust facing / + VVIIHEINIVS, head left, crosier in front, cross before. Ilisch 18.6; D[annenber}g 546 (for type).

And a vaguely contemporaneous, freestyle imitation: 

image.jpeg.39ade31899a6b5661ff43956f0f0a311.jpeg

 

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@DonnaML, it's like, Yowie!  Here in Pacific Time Land, I just settled on this for a presumably lone example of James's 'gun money.'  Mostly, I was just looking at the convergence of the date (early), denomination (shilling? good enough) and, thank you, price (better than waiting out five days of an auction on ebayUK, for an example that was in dauntingly better condition in the first place).  Thank you, in terms that are wholly independent of the numismatic context, this one is Just Fine.

5GxSky3A4NPpcW7MMJf62eCLYEt94n.jpg

Edited by JeandAcre
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On 2/16/2024 at 2:52 PM, AnYangMan said:

The numismatic club of Rotterdam published a 53-page book(let) on the Rotterdam Vroedschapspenningen in 1982 ('penningen uitgegeven door de Rotterdamse Vroedschap'), but I don't believe there is a digital version of that available. It is partially based on an article from 1888 by J.H.W. Unger, titled 'De vroedschapspenningen van Rotterdam'. That's (largely) available here.

@AnYangMan, after reviewing (in translation) the 1888 Unger article -- which came out three years after Medallic Illustrations was published in 1885, with its story of coronation festivities -- and doing some further research, it's obvious that you're correct that the story of the 1689 Rotterdam medal being issued in connection with such a coronation feast for William III is entirely fictional. However, by stating that Rotterdam, "being one of the most pro-Orange cities in the republic, had to make a small reference to William III," and that the medal is "not so much a medal commemorating the coronation of William III," I believe you may be underplaying the connection of the medal to the coronation that same year, and understating the desire of the city council (as opposed to a feeling of compulsion) to commemorate that event, and honor the fact that William was now King in England, Scotland, and Ireland. Therefore, I will still classify this medal as serving as a "coronation medal" as its secondary purpose, in addition to its primary function as a token serving as substitute compensation to city council members for their attendance at meetings, in lieu of attendance fees.

I think the key to my interpretation is the fact that none of the proposed designs originally submitted by de Hooghe in January 1689, before the April 1689 coronation, depicted William at all -- let alone William crowned as King, as did the final version issued after the coronation, even though he wasn't a "king" in the Netherlands. The proposed designs also gave far more prominence to the Erasmus statue than did the final version.

See the discussion of the medal in a recent article about a proposed map that de Hooghe created: Laurien Van Der Werff , "Rotterodamum: Romeyn de Hooghe’s Rejected Map of Rotterdam Rediscovered," The Rijksmuseum Bulletin, Vol. 69, No. 2 (2021), pp. 122-143 at pp. 128-129 (available at https://www.jstor.org/stable/27020084?read-now= )

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Here are the original sketches. Note the absence of William's image (crowned or otherwise) and the placement of the statue of Erasmus in the center rather than off to the side as in the final version:

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See also this excerpt from an 1888 article by J.H.W. [Johan Hendrik Willem] Unger, "De vroedschappspenningen van Rotterdam," Rotterdams Jaarbockje 1 (1888), pp. 169-195,  at the link provided by @AnYangMan (see https://rjb.x-cago.com/GARJB/1888/12/18881231/GARJB-18881231-0175/story.pdf ) :

image.png.132701c20c81d7b205b34473c28b3544.png

After describing the five preliminary sketches submitted by De Hooghe, the author states (as translated), that "If one now compares these five designs with the medal, one sees that important changes have been made, and so if the executed design actually comes from Romein de Hooghe, he must have supplied a completely different drawing. Nothing can be found about this in the archives."  At p. 174, Unger then discusses the final version of the medal:

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In (very rough!) translation:

"On the medal, as it was minted in 1689 (1) [fn. omitted],
Rotterdam is depicted in the distance on one side, seen from the Maas side, and in the foreground below
a palm tree, her crowned coat of arms, by two lions held, under which a ribbon reads: «Roterodamum». On the other side in the foreground a statue of Erasmus, on the second plane[?] a meeting of 18 [sic] people dressed in Roman costume, and in the background an honorary gate, which bears an inscription: «Principi Patriaeque», d. i. “To the Prince and Our Country." Above the honorary gate is a laurel wreath with various attributes and a bust of King William III. In the distance between the bar you see water with ships. Between the columns the letters: S.C., d. i. Senatus Consulto; at the bottom of the medal the year 1689. That the stadtholder, who recently was crowned King of England, was given a place of honor on this medal, is proof of how much the Vroedschap [City Council] of Rotterdam, where the English trade particularly flourished, was pleased with the elevation of the prince of Orange (2).  (Emphasis added.) [Fn 2 cites Gerard Van Loon Vol III p. 420.]*

*See Gerard Van Loon, Beschryving Der Nederlandsche Historipenningen, etc. [Description of the Dutch Historical Medals], Vol. III p. 420 (1728) (available at https://www.google.com/books/edition/Beschryving_der_Nederlandsche_Historipen/A5FMAAAAcAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&printsec=frontcover ), placing this medal within the series of medals commemorating the coronation of William III & Mary II:

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(Brief digression: every time I try to count the number of council members in my specimen of the medal, illustrated in my original post, I count 16. If anyone can find 18, please let me know!]

So I am comfortable with continuing to characterize the medal as being connected to the coronation, at least as its secondary purpose.

I should also point out that even though the true origins of this medal should have been well-known, at least in the Netherlands, since at least 1888, every museum in the Netherlands holding an example of the medal has continued to describe it as having a connection to the coronation of William III. 

See, e.g.:

https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/nl/collectie/NG-VG-5-111

Title:

"Viering van de kroning van Willem III en Maria te Rotterdam, penning geslagen op last van het stadsbestuur van Rotterdam, Romeyn de Hooghe, 1689"

Translation: Celebration of the coronation of William III and Mary in Rotterdam, medal minted by order of the city council of Rotterdam, Romeyn de Hooghe, 1689

Further description:

Object number NG-VG-5-111

Description Silver medal with hole. Obverse: crowned coat of arms held up by two lions above pennant with inscription, palm tree and city on the harbor in the background. Reverse: group of people near statue of Erasmus in front of erected triumphal arch with inscription and crowned bust of William III.

Artist Romeyn de Hooghe
Daniel Drappentier
Place Dordrecht 
Dating 1689

https://museumrotterdam.nl/collectie/item/57110?itemReturnStart=16&objectrow=26&itemReturnSearch=stadhouder AND objecttrefwoorden%3A"penning"

[Translation]
Object data
Title Rotterdam council medal 1689
Description Medal made into a pendant, with braided silver edge and eye.

Obv: Palm tree with the Rotterdam coat of arms at the foot, covered by a crown and held by two prominent climbing lions. In the background the city seen from across the Maas, with the Laurenskerk recognizable.

Rev: statue of Erasmus in front of a temple, surrounded by sixteen [sic!] people in toga, arch of honor in tympanum decorated with bust of stadtholder William III.

Obv: on ribbon "ROTERODAMUM" (Rotterdam). Rev: "PRINCPI PATRIAE QUE", "SC" (Senatu Consulto = having heard the senate / council) and in the cut "1689".

Manufacturer design: Romeyn de Hooghe (Amsterdam 1645 - Haarlem 1708) / stamp cutter: Daniël Drappentier (The Hague 1643 - The Hague 1714)

Dating 1689
material silver
dimensions (cm) with cable edge: dm 3.7
association Rotterdam , King Stadtholder , Willem III , coronation celebration, Erasmus , Maas , river view
shape & decoration river, skyline

Inventory no. Museum Rotterdam 57110

https://www.teylersmuseum.nl/nl/collectie/munten-en-penningen/tmnk-05468-vroedschapspenning-betaalpenning-van-de-stad-rotterdam-over-de-kroningsfeesten-ter-ere-van-de-inhuldiging-van-willem-iii-als-koning-van-engeland

Title

Vroedschappenning (payment medal) from the city of Rotterdam, about the coronation festivities in honor of the inauguration of William III as King of England.

Data subject(s)
Drappentier (Drapentier; Trapentier), Daniël T. (1643-1714) (manufacturer)

Orange, Willem III Hendrik van (1650-1702), king of England (1689-1702), prince of Orange, stadtholder (1672-1702) (subject)

Gerritszoon, Gerrit (Desiderius Erasmus) (1469-1536) (subject)

Erasmus, Desiderius (Gerrit Gerritszoon) (1469-1536) (subject)

Hooghe, Romeyn de (Marlois) (1645-1708) (designer)

Keyser, Hendrik de (1565-1621) (subject)

Sonnemaens, Mattheus, mint master (1678-1715) (mint master)

Object name
token

Dating
1689

Production site
Dordrecht

Material
silver

Technology
beaten

Format
diameter: 29.7mm

Object number
TMNK 05468

Description
front: in the background Rotterdam aan de Maas, in the foreground palm tree with in front of it the crowned coat of arms of Rotterdam with two lions as shield holders

reverse: in front of a building with a portrait (Willem III) on it, a crowd sits and stands, on a platform stands Hendrik de Keyser's statue of Desiderius Erasmus

Inscription
obverse: / 1689

reverse: / ROTERODAMUM

signatures: (none)

Origin
Teylers Foundation < collection Pieter Teyler van der Hulst (1702-1778)

Finally, from the 1895 catalog of a museum in Nijmegen, at p. 480 No. 7, citing Van Loon:

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Catalogus_van_het_Museum_van_Dudheden_te/OuCRBTVGcmgC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=vroedschapspenning+1689+rotterdam&pg=PA480&printsec=frontcover
 

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Edited by DonnaML
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@DonnaMLYou seem to have your heart set on calling it a coronation medal, which is perfectly fine. After all, the design does reference William III with his crown (though it seems to forget Mary!). I however doubt anyone handling this medal in the 17th century would have thought ‘wow cool, a coronation medal!’. The ‘PRINCIPI PATRIAE QUE’ inscription is already present on the designs by De Hooghe, so the only addition that references his coronation really is his relatively small portrait up top. But sure, it does reference it in some way and it must surely have been the major thing in the zeitgeist of 1689. But it is just as factually correct as calling it a medal celebrating the ’67-anniversary of the erection of Hendrick de Keyser’s statue of Erasmus’, as neither of these truly had any impact on the function of the medal. In the Netherlands, especially in the latter half of the nineteenth century, collecting medals connected to the house of Orange (‘Oranjepenningen’) was extremely popular, so overstating that connection in (museum) catalogues does not surprise me.

As for the amount of council members, this is not quite as visible on the smaller medal as on the larger module (even if it is just a couple of mm larger). The ones that are easily overlooked are the individual right below the book of Erasmus, whose head just peaks out over his fellow councilman seated right and the one towards the left edge of the opening in the arch, who is only visible form the nose upward. See this detail on my example:

Rotterdam.JPG.02a0a7cba3cb5cd71d8d797dc53873c5.JPG

On the smaller reverse die the first individual is rendered properly, but the second of these is reduced to a mere few strokes barely recognisable as a human head. It is there, however. Due to the strike the individual to the absolute right sometimes also gets obscured, as on your example. I’ve handled quite a few of these over the years; how well the individual towards the left edge of the opening is rendered, is actually a very easy manner of discerning the two varieties when diameter is not given.

Edited by AnYangMan
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6 hours ago, AnYangMan said:

@DonnaMLYou seem to have your heart set on calling it a coronation medal, which is perfectly fine. After all, the design does reference William III with his crown (though it seems to forget Mary!). I however doubt anyone handling this medal in the 17th century would have thought ‘wow cool, a coronation medal!’. The ‘PRINCIPI PATRIAE QUE’ inscription is already present on the designs by De Hooghe, so the only addition that references his coronation really is his relatively small portrait up top. But sure, it does reference it in some way and it must surely have been the major thing in the zeitgeist of 1689. But it is just as factually correct as calling it a medal celebrating the ’67-anniversary of the erection of Hendrick de Keyser’s statue of Erasmus’, as neither of these truly had any impact on the function of the medal. In the Netherlands, especially in the latter half of the nineteenth century, collecting medals connected to the house of Orange (‘Oranjepenningen’) was extremely popular, so overstating that connection in (museum) catalogues does not surprise me.

As for the amount of council members, this is not quite as visible on the smaller medal as on the larger module (even if it is just a couple of mm larger). The ones that are easily overlooked are the individual right below the book of Erasmus, whose head just peaks out over his fellow councilman seated right and the one towards the left edge of the opening in the arch, who is only visible form the nose upward. See this detail on my example:

Rotterdam.JPG.02a0a7cba3cb5cd71d8d797dc53873c5.JPG

On the smaller reverse die the first individual is rendered properly, but the second of these is reduced to a mere few strokes barely recognisable as a human head. It is there, however. Due to the strike the individual to the absolute right sometimes also gets obscured, as on your example. I’ve handled quite a few of these over the years; how well the individual towards the left edge of the opening is rendered, is actually a very easy manner of discerning the two varieties when diameter is not given.

@AnYangMan, thanks for the explanation of how one gets to 18! I did see and count the person directly below the book held by Erasmus, but missed the one at the left of the arch opening, as well as the guy on the far right. Interesting that even the Rotterdam Museum's description of its example says there are only 16.

I know it's a fine distinction I'm drawing, but I'm really not characterizing the medal as a "coronation medal" per se. Instead, I'm saying that the Rotterdam city council's secondary purpose was to recognize and acknowledge the coronation -- enthusiastically, not because they felt compelled to do so -- by adding the portrayal of a crowned William at the center of the arch. I think the portions I quoted from the Unger and Van Der Werff articles both expressly support that interpretation. Regardless of exactly how one characterizes the medal, though, I think it's an unusually interesting piece.

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