11 Nisan 2011 Pazartesi


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Teutonic Order Silver SchillingThe Teutonic Knights were founded in the 12th century to care for injured German Crusaders in the Holy Land, however they soon converted to a military order. After the defeat of the Crusaders at Acre in 1291 they moved to Europe and began their conquest of Prussia, exterminating much of the native population. After the Pope allowed the Order to abandon its vow of poverty, they engaged in trading activities and soon monopolized the lucrative Prussian grain trade.   The Order continued to expand its territory until it was defeated in the Battle of Grunwald in 1410. After its defeat the Order entered a long period of decline.  Today it has returned to its roots as a hospital order.  This silver Schilling of the Teutonic Order was minted during the early 15th century. The coin features a shield with a cross on one side, and a shield with an eagle on the other.  The coin grades VG to Fine, however they are weakly struck in some areas and have some spots.


Hungary: medieval silver Obols of Sigismund IThis small  (10mm) silver Obol (1/2 Dener) was issued in Hungary by Sigismund I.  Sigismund ruled Hungary from 1387 to 1437.  He also ruled Luxembourg and Bohemia and was one of three simultaneous claimants to The Holy Roman Empire.  (Each of which was supported by one of three simultaneous Popes).  Sigismund's long reign was less than a success.  He lost considerable portions of his land to the Turks and started the bloody Hussite wars by promising Jan Hus safety, then had him burned at the stake.


Hungary silver Denars of Hapsburg Emperors Ferdinand, Maximilian II and RudolfThese early, dated, silver Denars of Hungary feature the Madonna and Christ Child on the obverse and the Hungarian arms on the reverse. They were struck by Hapsburg Kings of Hungary: Ferdinand I who reigned from 1526 to 1564, Maximilian II who ruled from 1563 to 1576 and Rudolf, who reigned from 1572 to 1608.   Unlike most coins of the period, they carry a date, though it can sometimes be obscure and its location can vary considerably. Ferdinand I was noted for making peace with the invading Ottoman Turks, and temporarily settling the religious wars in Europe with the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, which let the monarch of a territory decide the religion of its inhabitants.  His son Maximilian continued a policy of religious neutrality, while at the same time proposing reforms to the Catholic Church.   Maximilian’s son, Rudolf II, was an ineffectual ruler, who was more interested in science, art, the occult, and sexual adventures, than in the affairs of state.  The coins are approximately 15mm in diameter.


Poland 3 Polker of Sigismund IIIThis silver 3 Polker coin of Poland  issued by king Sigismund III Vasa is dated between 1622 to 1624. Sigismund became king of Poland and Lithuania in 1587.  He was also king of Sweden from 1592 until he was deposed in 1599.  His efforts to unite Poland and Sweden caused sixty years of war between the two.  He invaded Russia in 1605, taking advantage of their Time of Troubles.  Despite occupying Moscow and proclaiming himself to be Czar, he was unable to control the country. His war in Russia continued until a peace treaty was finally signed in 1618.  One side of the coin has the crowned arms of united Poland and Lithuania.  The other side features the number 24 within an orb, indicating the coin was worth 1/24th of a Thaler. On either side of the cross and orb are the last two digits of the date.  Sigismund did not feel it necessary to include the first two digits.

Treasure coin from the wreck of the Sao Jose


The São José, flagship of the Portuguese flotilla bound for Goa, left Lisbon in 1622.  Aboard was Viceroy of India, Francisco da Gama, great grandson of famed Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, and nine chests filled with many thousands of Spanish silver coins.  The flotilla was attacked by a combined fleet of Dutch and British ships off the coast of Mozambique.  The São José, damaged and cut off from the rest of the flotilla, ran into a shoal and sank, with a loss of some 300 to 400 passengers and crew.  The ship was excavated and coins recovered in 2005.  The coins included a number of Spanish silver 4 and 8 Reales cob coins.  Cobs were crudely hand struck, often from irregularly shaped planchets.  The coins come packaged in attractive boxes that include a history of the treasure and a Certificate of Authenticity.  These coins have been offered elsewhere for many hundreds of dollars.


Piece of Eight from the Spanish Tresure Ship Santa Maria de la ConsolocionThe Spanish treasure ship Santa Maria de la Consolocion left Callao, Chile in 1681, bound for Panama, where her precious cargo that was to be transported across the isthmus and then shipped onto Spain.  Because of a delay in getting its silver coins from the mint in Potosi, Bolivia, she was forced to sail alone, after the rest of the South Sea Armada had departed.   The lone galleon was soon attacked by a fleet of six British pirate ships.   The captain attempted to defend his precious cargo by landing his ship on a small island named Isla de Muerto (Island of the Dead) in the Bay of Guayaquil, Ecuador.  The vessel accidentally hit a reef and began to sink.  To prevent the treasure from falling into the hands of the pirates, the captain set the ship afire.  The pirates, furious that the ship had been burned, captured and beheaded the estimated 350 passengers and crew of the ship.  Neither the pirates, nor the returning Spaniards were able to recover the treasure from the shark infested waters.  We are pleased to offer you a genuine Spanish silver Eight Real cob, also known as a Piece of Eight, salvaged from the treasure ship Consolacion.   As with all cobs, the coin is very crudely struck, and sitting under the ocean for over 300 years did not improve their quality. A cob was basically a piece of silver, cut to the right weight, then stamped with the royal insignia.  They are much cruder thana the later portrait pieces-of-eight.  The major elements of the design are visible.  The coin is dated between about 1660 and 1680, though the date is a bit obscure, and are from the Potosi mint. The coin comes with an attractive Certificate of Authenticity that includes a photograph of the coin.  It is an interesting and historic treasure coin.


Heavily corroded Piece-of-Eight of Carlos IIIModerately corroded Piece-of-Eight of Carlos III
Few coins can match the history and romance of the Piece-of-Eight. Commonly known as the Spanish 8 Reales, or Spanish Milled Dollar, this large silver coin was widely used throughout the Americas. Its wide acceptance made it a favorite of both pirates and merchants. It was used throughout the colonies before the American Revolution, and was the basis of the United States Dollar. The coin continued to be legal tender in the United States until 1857. These original Pieces-of-Eight went down aboard the El Cazador in 1784 off the coast of Louisiana.
Some say that Spain's loss of the El Cazador changed the course of history. Spain had gained control of New Orleans and Louisiana from France by treaty in 1762, over objections of the residents who had nothing to say in the matter. Following the American Revolution there was increasing rebellion in the territory caused by restrictions Spain placed on trade with the United States, a deluge of unbacked paper currency, and the ideals of the American Revolution. King Carlos III of Spain dispatched the brig of war El Cazador, loaded with newly minted Pieces-of-Eight from the Mexico City mint to New Orleans, in an effort to redeem the paper currency and boost the local economy. Alas the ship was lost at sea. Perhaps it was attacked by pirates or lost in a storm. The loss was devastating to both Louisiana’s economy and Spain's ability to profit from the territory. Further efforts by the Spanish Crown to sustain Louisiana failed, and in 1800, Spain ceded Louisiana back to France in exchange for some minor European considerations. Three years later France sold Louisiana to the United States for $15 million dollars. The Louisiana Purchase opened the floodgates of westward expansion for the young United States.
We have had these exciting coins that helped bring about a turning point in the history of the United States for some time, however until recently, we have not been able to reveal the name of the ship that they came from due to marketing restrictions. We can now reveal the story behind these historic Pieces-of-Eight.
The coins bear the bust of Spanish King Carlos (Charles) III one side and the Spanish coat-of-arms between the Pillars of Hercules on the other. The coins were struck at the historic Mexico City Mint, and were on their way from Mexico to the then Spanish port of New Orleans when the ship was lost at sea. The coins were only recently recovered, and definitely show signs that they have been underseas for the last 200 or so years. We offer the coin in two grades. The Heavily Corroded coins are identifiable and show major design elements, however much of the silver and most of the design details have been eaten away by the corrosive salt water. We recommend these for someone who would like to have an example of an historic Piece-of-Eight, a lucky pocket piece or just want a real piece of treasure. The moderately corroded coins are hand selected to show a readable date and a reasonable amount of the design details, including a clear bust of Carlos


PERU 5 AND 10 CENTAVOS PROVISIONAL ISSUE 1879-1880From 1879 to 1884 Bolivia, Chile and Peru engaged in the War of The Pacific over control over huge piles of bird droppings (guano) which were mined to obtain nitrate.  Chile won, Bolivia became a land-locked nation, and Peru almost collapsed.  During the war Peru issued special copper-nickel coins, which they called provisional money, in place of their usual silver coins.  We offer the set of two historic Peru Provisional coins in Uncirculated conditions. The 5 Centavos is dated 1879 and the 10 Centavo is dated 1880.  The coins have the denomination on one side and a sun face on the other.  For Uncirculated coins over 125 years old with such an unusual background, they are quite a bargain.


Italy 10 Centesimi of Vittorio Emanuele IIAfter the fall of ancient Rome, Italy disintegrated into a collection of independent cities and states.  The country was not reunited again until 1861. King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was made the first king of the united Italy.  This 30mm copper 10 Centesimi was one of the first series of coins issued for Italy after the unification.  The king is on the obverse and the date and denomination within a wreath on the reverse.   It was struck from 1862 to 1867.


Bulgaria 1 Stotinka 1912This 1912 Brilliant Uncirculated Bulgarian Bronze 1 Stotinka was found in the basement of a church in Sophia, Bulgaria. The coins were probably hidden there at the beginning of World War I, then forgotten. One side of the coin has the arms of the Kingdom of Bulgaria, the other has the denomination and date. Even after almost 100 years the coin still retains much of its original red luster. We are pleased to offer the coin at half of its $14.00 catalog value!