World Coins

Legend of St. George Slaying Dragon not just on British coins

A silver St. George taler of modern-day Slovakia shows the legend of St. George slaying the dragon.

Images courtesy of Emporium Hamburg.

Though British sovereign coins might be the most recognized source of coins recalling the legend of St. George Slaying the Dragon, many other coins highlight the tale.

An 18th century example of a St. George silver taler issued in what is modern-day Kremnitz, Slovakia, recently offered in Emporium Hamburg’s April 23 and 24 auction, also tells the legend. Graded Extremely Fine to Very Fine, the coin realized a hammer price of €90 (about $97 in U.S. funds), with buyer’s fee varying depending on buyer location.

As the tale in the Golden Legends records, St. George was traveling in Libya when he reached a town that was home to a plague-infested dragon.

The residents tried to appease the dragon by first feeding it sheep and then humans, until the king’s daughter was selected by lottery as the dragon’s next meal. St. George happened to pass by the lake when the daughter (dressed as a bride) was being sent to her planned death. 

Instead, St. George charged at the dragon, striking it with his lance and, with the princess’ help, brought it into town. He offered to kill the dragon if the townspeople would convert to Christianity.

The scene of St. George and the dragon, with the princess in the background, is captured on the obverse of the silver coin.

The reverse shows another incident related to Christianity, of Jesus on a ship in the Sea of Galilee, with two apostles, amid a storm. In three accounts in the Bible, Jesus, awakened by the frightened apostles, calms a storm and counsels the men on lacking faith. 

The legend on the reverse in Latin translates loosely to “In times of storms, there is security.” 

To learn more about the auction, visit the firm's website.

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