World Coins

1648 silver medal marks Treaty of Westphalia

A silver medal from 1648 celebrates the momentous Treaty of Westphalia, which ushered in a new geopolitical reality in Europe.

Medal images courtesy of Emporium Hamburg.

The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 brought an end (at least for a while) to religious wars in Europe. 

It took three treaties to bring about the peace, ushering in a new era in diplomacy and European history.

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Medallic commemorations to this era are abundant, and include one silver medal being offered at a March 2 auction by Emporium Hamburg in Munich. 

The Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years’ War (1618 to 1648) in the Holy Roman Empire, with the Habsburgs and their Catholic allies on one side, battling Protestant powers (Sweden, Denmark, the Dutch, and Holy Roman principalities) allied with France (Catholic but anti-Habsburg). 

The treaties also ended the Eighty Years’ War (1568 to 1648) between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the independence of the Dutch.

The medal in the auction offers a city view of Münster, above which appear two floating angels with trombone, palm, laurel and olive branch,and the word “peace” in Latin.

The reverse shows a glowing sun above two entwined hands coming out of the clouds on both sides, holding together an olive branch and two crossed cornucopia; weapons are scattered on the ground. 

The medal weighs 35.95 grams and measures 52.5 millimeters in diameter. It has an estimate of €450 (about $510 U.S.). 

To learn about the auction, visit the firm’s website

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