World Coins

1683 gold 5-ducat medal in Künker auction

A 1683 gold 5-ducat sized medal, or half bank portugalöser, from Hamburg is offered in Fritz Rudolf Künker’s Sept. 25 to 27 auction, the firm’s 352nd.

Images courtesy of Fritz Rudolf Künker.

A rare gold medal from 17th century Hamburg is available in Fritz Rudolf Künker’s Sept. 25 to 27 auction No. 352.

The 1683 gold 5-ducat sized medal, or half bank portugalöser, is from a class of medallic issues from the bank in Hamburg to commemorate events and showcase the city.

These pieces have weights equivalent to coins and are based on the Portuguese 10-ducat coins but are not coins and could not be used as payment. 

Eventually the term was applied to numerous similar pieces worth more than a single thaler.

These items are very rare and highly sought after by collectors, since few of them were circulated in any real sense, and they are often well-preserved.

The item in the Künker auction depicts Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, on the obverse, with a city view of Hamburg and the Elbe River (in which ships are sailing), as well as the city’s coat of arms and the year of issue, 1683.

The reverse depicts a female personification of the bank with caduceus, book and scales, and the LB signature of the banker Ludewig Becceler.

The medal weighs 17.49 grams and measures 36.52 millimeters in diameter. These pieces were apparently made in .986 fine gold, based on Austrian ducats. 

The medal is classified as Gaedechens 1621 by Otto Christian Gaedechens in the 1850 book whose title translates to Hamburg Coins and Medals (in German: Hamburgische Muenzen und Medaillen).  

The featured medal was once sold in 1952 by Helbing in Munich.

The piece is Extremely Fine condition according to the auction house, and has an estimate of 5,000 euros ($5,924 U.S.). It is from the Hermann Schwarz Collection.

To learn more about the sale, visit the firm’s website,

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