World Coins

Rosenblum sale offers 17th-century anti-Semetic medal

A 1694 silver anti-Semitic medal from Germany was among the first medallic items designed to spread religious hatred against Jews. The medal demonizes the Jewish corn seller, and uses a Bible quote on the reverse to give it the imprimatur of authority.

Medal images courtesy of William M. Rosenblum Rare Coins.

One of the most infamous anti-Semitic medals is the Korn Jude medal from 1694.

Made in silver, the design by Christian Wermuth hypes stereotypes and plays to fear during tough economic times in Germany. 

An example of this medal is offered in William Rosenblum’s auction No. 46A, which closes July 11. 

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Anti-Semitic medals are “probably the most common and most notorious medals for spreading religious hatred,” according to collector Ben Weiss, who chronicles the wide array of such medals at

What is anti-semitic about this medal?

In 1694 heavy rains and a grasshopper plague swept Germany. As food prices increased, speculation rose and starving people blamed the Jews. 

Korn Jude medals in the late 17th century were designed to perpetuate the myth that the Jews were to blame for these hardships and to portray Jews as diabolic speculators, particularly in grain crops. Medals of this type continued to be issued as late as 1773, according to Weiss.

The obverse of the 1694 medal in Rosenblum’s auction depicts a Jewish grain peddler walking toward the right with grain sack on which sits a devil opening the mouth of the sack to allow the grain to fall out and be wasted. Below the image and above the date the inscription translates to “expensive time.”

The reverse depicts an empty grain sifter on which is inscribed the biblical quote from Proverbs 11:26, translating to “He that withholds corn, the people shall curse him. But blessing shall be upon the head of him that sells it.” 

For those interested in buying

The medal measures 35 millimeters and weighs 13.04 grams.

Rosenblum said the medal is Fine to Very Fine and, unlike most examples offered, does not appear to have been mounted.  

The medal has an estimate of $400 or more. There is no buyer’s fee in the Rosenblum sale.

For more information about the auction, visit Rosenblum’s website

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