When is a medieval medal not a medieval medal?
answer, it turns out, was available for purchase in Classical
Numismatic Group’s Oct. 7 auction.
Though dated 1231 in
Roman numerals, the pseudo-medieval medal was actually struck circa
1576 to 1657, according to the firm, for the Holy Roman Empire. This
piece is part of a series long known as “Judenmedaille” from their
supposed manufacture by Jewish minters in Prague. However, the medals
were actually part of a very carefully thought out series designed to
glorify the ancestors of the House of Hapsburg.
The piece in the CNG auction shows Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (1207
to 1231) who had been the wife of Ludwig IV of Thuringia. The reverse
shows the great church of St. Elizabeth in Marburg, construction of
which began in 1235 when Elizabeth was canonized.
Though usually found in silver, the example sold by CNG is in gold,
and was cast, measuring 52 millimeters in diameter.
The auction firm graded the piece as Very Fine and acknowledged that
it appears to have once been mounted.
Still, the “medieval” medal realized a hammer price of $3,250
against an estimate of $2,000 (the buyer’s fee begins at 20 percent
but varies based on bidding method).
The medal, once owned by Abe Kosoff, was most recently part of the
collection of Dr. Lawrence A. Adams.