World Coins

Gold medal in Künker auction marks liberation of city

A 1704 gold medal of 5 ducats weight marks the freedom of the city of Augsburg following a months-long occupation.

Images courtesy of Fritz Rudolf Künker.

Augsburg, a city about 30 miles west of Munich in Bavaria, has a colorful history that includes being occupied following the War of Spanish Succession.

A 1704 gold medal celebrating the freedom of the city after the occupation is a highlight of Fritz Rudolf Künker’s Feb. 1 auction preceding the World Money Fair in Berlin.

The gold medal of 5 ducats by P. H. Müller depicts the city on the obverse, with the name of the city in Latin above.

An inscription below the city scene (as seen from the east) marks the date of occupation, Dec. 16, 1703, and the date of liberation, Aug. 16, 1704.

On the reverse, a dove with olive branch in its beak flies towards a rock in a surging sea whereon rests the ark; leaning against the rock is the stadtpyr (the city’s symbol, a pinecone).

The medal weighs 17.32 grams and measures 28.92 millimeters in diameter.

Marking a moment

After Bavaria concluded an alliance with France in the War of Spanish Succession, French troops had already occupied Memmingen and Ravensburg, and the Elector of Bavaria advanced against Augsburg Dec. 6, 1703.

He built trenches just outside the city, from where bombardment began. On Dec. 15, the French forces under Marshal Marsin entered the city.

They completely plundered the city; many families became homeless and food became scarce, but this did not inhibit the greed of the troops.

The Elector of Bavaria then mandated that residents provide food for the troops, and any citizen who violated this order was at the mercy of beatings and other ill-treatment from the French invaders.

This situation continued until Aug. 13, 1704, when the Bavarian-French army was completely destroyed by Prince Eugene of Savoy and the Duke of Marlborough at the Battle of Höchstädt.

On Aug. 16, the French garrison withdrew from Augsburg in great haste, but not without an attempt to first burn down the city, which failed.

Graded Mint State 62 by Numismatic Guaranty Co., the medal has a pre-sale estimate of €20,000 ($22,062 U.S.).

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