World Coins

Gold ducat of Munich marks Thirty Years’ War

A gold 5-ducat coin from 1640 honors the erection of new fortifications around Munich during the Thirty Years’ War. The coin highlights Numismatik Lanz’s Dec. 7 auction.

Images courtesy of Numismatik Lanz.

The Thirty Years’ War has been called Europe’s tragedy, but the resulting numismatic relics of three decades of turmoil are fascinating.

A 1640 gold 5-ducat coin issued to celebrate the erection of additional fortifications around Munich highlights the Dec. 7 auction of Munich-based coin dealer Numismatik Lanz. 

Auction No. 163 includes 710 lots of “Numismatic Rarities,” including ancient coins and a special emphasis on coins of the Holy Roman Empire. 

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After Bavaria, and Munich specifically, had been occupied by the Sweden as a result of the Thirty Years War, elector Maximilian I strengthened fortifications, the auction house said. 

Maximilian I appears on the obverse of the coin, bearing a sword, with the right hand resting on a stick, the left hand resting on the orb that sits on a pedestal. The obverse inscription details Maximilian’s history of service in the Holy Roman Empire. 

The reverse carries a cityscape of Munich, with Madonna and child between two angels on clouds, with an inscription referencing Psalm 127:1, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

The Baroque coin weighs 27 grams and is Uncirculated, according to the firm. It has an estimate of €10,000 (about $10,606 U.S.).

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