What is the “Davenport Number” referred to in the labels?
One of the widest recognized series of catalogs for dollar sized coins was authored by the late John S. Davenport (1907-2001)
a Professor of English Literature at Knox College in Galesburg, IL. As he compiled his catalogs, he gave each coin a number,
beginning with 1 and ending well over 10,000. The Davenport number is, therefore, the reference number to the coin as cataloged
in one of his ten volumes of his works.
Below is a profile of John S. Davenport from the ancient coin publication the Celator, vol. 15, No. 12 p. 32 (2001). Reprinted
Profiles in Numismatics
John S. Davenport
John S. Davenport was a noted taler expert and a pioneer in the study and publication of these dollar-sized coins. He is best
known for his ten-volume series on talers and crowns, and an additional volume on large size taler multiples.
A professor of English literature at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1967 Prof. Davenport was awarded with the American
Numismatic Association's highest honor the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for distingished service and advancement of the science
of numismatics. His research on European crowns, German talers and African silver dollars yielded a wealth of numismatic information,
most of it published.
Davenport continued to write until his death. His most recent published work,
The Talers of Brandenburg-Franconia
, was issued in 2000. At the time of his death, he was working on the coinage of Hennen.
This feature is provided courtesty of George Frederick Kolbe Fine Numismatic Books, Crestline, CA 29325
Factors effecting coin value
Collecting ancient, medieval and early modern coins is a lesson in tolerance. No coin from these eras was “uncirculated” so
even a “perfect” coin will have marks of circulation. How much you will tolerate in a coin to add it to your collection is
a subjective matter, and only developed over time and in looking at many, many coins. Before buying a very high priced coin,
which looks very attractive, consider all of the factors that go into that premium price.
Generally, dealers of ancient, medieval and early modern coins are a more close knit fraternity than the more general collectables
dealer, as the number of collectors is much smaller than the collectors of modern coins, but even then “caveat emptor” is
Unlike U.S. coins, which have extensive references for grading and pricing of coins, ancient, medieval and early modern coins
have no precise guide for the values or grades. The most useful work for ancient coins is David Sear’s books and the guides
published by Krause, but even there the pricing is very tenuous.
In lieu of these references, the grade and price of an ancient, medieval and early modern coin is based on experience. You
should go and look at a number of coins before making a purchase. Here are some of the factors that may have a positive, negative
or neutral impact on the grade and price of the coin:
: Factors that, when present, always enhance a coin, and when absent detract from the value of the coin.
Few records exist of mintage of ancient, medieval and early modern coins, so rarity has to be inferred from auction records
and museum collections. Obviously, what is rare today, may not be rare tomorrow, as many times hoards of bronze, copper, gold
and silver coins (some in near perfect condition) are still being uncovered.
Collectors are willing to pay a premium for coins that can be traced to a particular owner or comes from a particular hoard.
This is particularly true now that the trafficking in looted artifacts from ancient sites is a grave concern. Some provenance
can be determined by catalogue records, and some from counterstrikes
This is a subjective factor, the immediate impact the coin has on the viewer as striking examples of coins. This includes
elements of Centering, Relief, Toning, Detail and Style that produce an overall effect that required little contemplation
or study. This is your basic “wow” factor of the coin.
Air naturally makes coins lose their bright, shiny surface beginning soon after the coin is struck. Since many, if not all,
ancient and medieval coins are from buried hoards; they have been cleaned at some time (as have many early modern coins).
Although the shininess of a cleaned coin can be dulled by chemical agents and heating, the most appealing coins are those
which where cleaned more than 100 years ago, which have “old cabinet” toning, a reference to the coin being in a collector’s
cabinet for some time. Toning is always relative, so what you consider nice enough to pay a premium for, another collector
may find unattractive.
“The sheen produced by age or use on any antique surface” (Webster’s Dictionary) for coins, the patina is the ultimate expression
of the toning process. Some patina is fragile, while some may be rock hard. In most cases, patina is desired, regardless of
color, and a smooth unbroken patina enhances the coin’s value. Conversely, a coin heavily encrusted with corrosion that obscured
the details of the coin is valueless. When a coin is heavily encrusted, the coin can be stripped, but if it is stripped, it
should be left shiny and not artificially toned. This can be quite an emotional issue for collectors, however, whether to
clean or not to clean.
Although your need for a coin for your collection should not effect the objective market value, the truth is that it will.
If at a public auction two buyers who “need” a coin are bidding, the result will be a (sometimes) greatly inflated price over
what a similar coin may be offered in a retail environment. Conversely, a rare coin that no auction buyers are interested
in may go for much less. Generally though, the greater the need for a coin, the greater the price.
When people demand a coin, the price will reflect that demand, even when the coin (such as the Athenian Tetradrachm) is an
exceeding common coin. This popularity will keep the value high, even if found in large hoards. There are simply not enough
of these coins to go around.
Rarity is an absolute, as a coin may be the only one known, but importance is a more subjective criterion. One showing a famous
person (such as Julius Caesar) has more importance than one showing a provincial governor, similarly, one that one that establishes
a date for an event, or defines a new type or denomination of coinage, has greater importance than one that does not. Finally,
the significance of the coin to you is the most importance, such as where you acquired it, whether it completes a theme in
your collection, or if you inherited the coin from someone close to you.
Although in personal appearance large is not desirable in modern society, in coin collecting, large is beautiful. The larger
the coin and the flan are the better.
The relief, which is the design and degree that an image is raised or impressed into the blank planchet, by a talented die
engraver that uses the nature of the metal and of subjects of superior quality are more desirable than ones that are crudely
Factors that may, depending on the situation, add or detract from the value of the coin.
Although all coins (other than modern “uncirculated” coins minted especially for numismatic collecting) have greater or lesser
degrees of wear, the detail of the image on the coin may vary, even in the same mintage. The quality of the die design, the
execution of the strike during the minting, old dies that have been cleaned, and a host of other factors can lead to coins
where the relief is blurred and lacking detail even in those parts of the relief protected from direct wear.
A coin with a reflective and consistent surface has more appeal than a coin with uneven wear, gouges, encrustation and staining.
A coin with a poor surface is usually more of a “bargain” coin than one of the same quality without the surface defects. Despite
this, cleaning of a coin should not be done, or if done, disclosed to the buyer.
The purer the planchet metal is the smoother and “healthier” the coin looks. Many times, as the economy of a state fails,
the purity of the metal is reduced, or debased, until the coin ends up being struck in “billion” or a mix with little precious
metal and mostly base metal, such as lead.
Before the development of milling machines, planchets are often of irregular size and thickness. A coin with a nice round
shape is worth more than one with an irregular shape. Some coin shapes are deliberately not round, such as the klippetaler,
where the coin was not struck at a mint, but were done “in the field”, so the time involved in making round planchets was
excessive, and the planchets where cut as squares out of a sheet of metal.
The fabric of the coin is the nature of the flan and the preparation of the planchet for striking. For most early modern coins,
the milling of planchets made the preparation fairly consistent, but there may be signs that the planchet was altered before
striking. For ancient or medieval coinage, the fabric of the coin can range from thin and delicate though thick, crude and
dumpy to barbarous. A coin struck on a well prepared planchet with a delicate flan is more appealing than on struck on a mere
lump of metal.
No hand struck coinage can reliably have the image always in the exact center of the planchet (not even modern machine minting
can do so) but at least the entire image of the coin should be included in the flan. How and how much the image is off-center
will effect the value of the coin. Cutting off Cleopatra’s hair is one thing, but cutting off her chin and nose is another!
If the image is off-center, it is preferable to have the extra space be “in the direction of travel” that is the direction
the images are facing, than to have the images look like they are facing a wall.
An overstrike is when an older coin is used as the planchet for a newer coin. This occurs when a minting authority “recalls”
a mintage and reissues the same coin but with a different image. Although the clashing images of the overstrike can detract
from the look and beauty of the coin, it can be of great interest to the collector as the overstrike will definitely determine
which coin was struck first, and leads to speculation as to why the overstrike was made. Sometimes, it is for political or
propaganda purposes, other times it was for fiscal purposes. So, a Usurper may overstrike coins of his or her rival, or a
ruler may “tax” his population by declaring an earlier coinage as illegal, and requiring the population to trade in their
existing coins in return for the new coins, less a “fee” for the service of the new minting!
All ancient and most medieval coins must be cleaned, but a harsh cleaning that leaves a garish surface is of minimal value,
but a coin that has been professionally cleaned can be worth several times what it was worth before it was cleaned.
A Fouree is a counterfeit coin; a copper slug with a light plated surface, contemporaneous to the original issue of the coin.
Sometimes a fouree is so similar to a real coin it is hard to detect, and in others it is quite obvious as the plating wear
off and the underlying copper shows through. Generally, a counterfeit is valued less than an original, but some collectors
seek out fouree coins and may pay a higher price for one that interests them.
A countermark, a small punch mark that an owner uses to identify a coin, where used from ancient through modern times. The
placement of the counterstrike can affect the value of the coin, since one that disrupts the image detracts fro the value.
Additionally a famous counterstrike, like the counterstrikes of the powerful Renaissance families such as the Sfora, the Medici,
the Farnese and the Gonzaga, can enhance the value. Probably the most well known is the Gonzaga Eagle counterstrike of Isabella
d’Este (1474-1539). Conversely, little known, poorly placed and multiple counterstrikes may detract from the value of the
The grading of a coin based on the details on an ancient, medieval or early modern coin is the grade the single biggest impact
on the value of the coin, both positive and negative. Grade alone is not enough with these coins, however, as many coins with
excellent detail may have staining, counterstrikes or any of a host of other issues, and conversely, a poorly graded coin
may be if enhanced value due to these same factors.
There is no “good” or “bad” style of coins, just different styles. The detailed and realistic style of the classical Greek
coinage is no “better” than the iconographic style of the larger Roman (including Byzantine) and medieval coins. Each represents
the wider style and philosophy of the culture that created it. Do not, however, confuse style with execution. An image of
exemplary style, though poorly executed, is more valuable than an exemplary execution of a very poor image style.
Double strikes, die clashes, and a host of other technical terms are used to describe errors made when the die strikes (or
fails to strike) the planchet. Like Fouree coins, striking errors usually detract from a coin, but for some collectors, they
factors which always reduce the value of a coin.
Dies will, under the pressure of the strike, eventually crack, fragment and break up over time. Usually dies are pulled from
service before these become too drastic, but you can have coins that have die breaks ranging from thin lines and pits, to
whole fragments of the die missing. Since the reverse of the die break is reflected in the coin, a fragment of the die missing
will end up as a blank raised space on the coin.
Just as use wears a coin, use wears the die. Since the obverse and reverse dies may not be of the same age, or wear, a coin
may have a worn die on one face, and not on the other. A coin struck from a worn die is of much less value than one that is
As with die breaks, the stress of the strike can cause cracks in the flan. The nature and extent of the flan cracks depends
on a number of factors, including the metal and the style of minting. In ancient and medieval coins, some flan cracking is
expected, as with some early modern coinage, so is not a detraction, but where the cracks are wide and deep, the coin can
literally break in to, which is a detraction from value.
Most, if not all, circulated coins suffer from pitting, though most times this can only be seen under a microscope. This pitting
makes the coin look porous, and in extreme cases the image of the coin is eaten away. Some unethical dealers use fillers like
shoe polish and resins to fill these pits, which is detectable by a waxy look to the surface of the coin. Minor porosity is
not a large detraction, but major porosity is a significant detraction from the value of the coin.
Ancient silver can, over time, develop air pockets, become brittle and have a whitish, rough, surface. Crystalline coins are
worth less, and are always at risk of breakage, so should be placed in protective holders.
Unlike countermarks, graffiti are letters or symbols scratched onto the face of a coin. Although some can be interesting,
graffiti tends to detract from the value of the coin.
the mechanical removal of surface imperfections makes for a more visually appealing coin, but is an alteration of the scion
that most collectors frown on.
Corrosion is where the natural electrical and acidic action of placing a coin with a coin of dissimilar metal, or one buried
in the ground, causes the metal to migrate away from or onto the coin. The result can be pits or accretions onto the coin,
as well as internal erosion of the coin itself. Corrosion is very undesirable.
During the 19th century, it was considered ethical to “improve” a coin by re-engraving the details, such as hair, on a worn
coin. Some tooling was done by skilled artists and is barely detectable, but when known, it should be disclosed and is usually
detracts from the value of the coin.
Because of the presence of counterfeit coins, the coins where tested to see if they where plated. This testing ranges from
discrete punches of little effect to broad slashes across the face of the coin. The greater the effect on the image of the
coin, the greater is the detraction from the value.
Like a rancher branding cattle, a money changer may have used small and light punches to mark their coins, and have hidden
meanings. Usually banker’s marks have little impact on the value of the coin, and may actually be an attraction for some collectors.
Scratches are a natural result of coins in circulation, even though they detract from the value of the coin. Old scratches,
which have been patinaed over, are less detracting than newer scratches. Thos scratches that are a result of excavation are
often called “spade marks” Large scratches done in antiquity that pass through the image are usually adjustment marks, where
an overweight planchet is filed down to the correct weight. Even though scratches are normal and not a sign of modern carelessness,
they detract from the value of the coin.
To seal a coin against moisture and air, many in 19th century collections where coated with lacquer. This lacquer has not
aged well, and makes them shiny and unattractive.
Silver, as it ages, develops a thick oxidation called horn silver. This is tough to remove, and often cleaned coins will have
traces of horn silver in crevasses and obscuring the image.
Bronze, at it ages, also develops hard green or red deposits which is hard to remove without completely stripping the coin.
A powdery green deposit is a sign of “bronze disease” and should also be avoided.
Mounting a coin so that it can be worn as jewelry, either in the past or in modern times, results in damage to the coin, ranging
from wholes punched entirely through the coin to welding marks on the edge. Regardless of the mounting damage, the wearing
of coins usually results in excessive wear and polishing of the coins, and has a significant negative effect on value.
My brother John and I come from a family with a keen appreciation for sculpture. Our father was in the monument business in
Worcester Massachusetts, and our grandfather learned the trade from master sculptor Andrew O'Connor. O'Connor executed a number
of commissions around Worcester, and is perhaps best known for the statue of Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois. That
appreciation of sculptural work rubbed off on John in the form of a lifelong devotion to collecting.
There is undeniable beauty, craftsmanship, and history captured by a well minted coin, and John was taken by all these things.
What gave him even greater pleasure, though, was sharing his love of numismatics with others, especially young collectors
just getting started. He was a lifelong member and one time president of the Worcester County Numismatic Society (WCNS). He
was also a member of NENA, the New England Numismatic Association. Outside of coin collecting he was a member of the Rotary
Club, and he was a corporater of the Bay State Savings Bank. In addition to coins, he collected paintings and Venetian glass,
and period furniture.
My brother collected coins from all over the world, especially Italy and Germany. He visited Europe himself numerous times,
and never failed to bring a few small treasures back with him to Worcester. The Kittredge Numismatic Foundation continues
to promote the appreciation of coins through the display of his collection, and the encouragement of young collectors. I am
very pleased to be able to share John’s passion with you.
Glossary of Common Coin Collecting Terms
File marks made on the planchet to correct its weight.
A mixture of more than one metal,
Silver, gold and platinum bullion coins released by the US Mint starting in 1986. The mint produces an investor version and
two versions for the collector, a proof and uncirculated in special packaging.
American Numismatic Association is the largest nonprofit numismatic organization in the country.
About Uncirculated refers to the coins condition or grade.
Refers to small scratches and nicks caused by contact with other coins.
Nickname given to the annual price guide “Handbook of United States Coins”, which has a blue cover. The books gives wholesale
prices of what dealers might pay to other dealers for US coins.
Refers to mint state Eisenhower dollars composed of 40% silver and issued by the US Mint between 1971-1974, in blue envelopes.
The area at a coin show or convention where dealers setup tables to display, buy and sell coins.
Refers to proof Eisenhower dollars composed of 40% silver and issued by the US Mint between 1971-1974, in a brown box.
Brilliant Uncirculated refers to the coins condition or grade
A coin (American Eagle) or other object (bars, ingots, etc…) consisting primarily of a precious metal, e.g. silver, gold,
A coin minted for general circulation.
Used to describe a Proof or Proof-Like coin in which the devices (like Washington’s portrait on a state quarter) are frosted
and the fields are mirrored and reflective. Giving the coin almost a black & white appearance.
A coin that has been authenticated and graded by one of the major grading service, like PCGS or NGS.
Coins with obvious signs of wear due to being “circulated” in regular commerce.
Coins made from more than one layer of metal, e.g. quarters since 1965 have a pure copper core, with the outer layers copper-nickel
(.750 copper, .250 nickel). . (Cupro-nickel is just a fancy word meaning the metal is made of copper and nickel mixed together
to form an alloy.)
Refers to small scratches and nicks caused by contact with other coins.
A coin that is extremely worn or damaged.
The date on which the coin was struck is usually on the obverse of the coin. Most modern coins have, just below the date,
the Mint Mark. Some coins have no dates, and others refer to the year of the current ruling monarch.
Deep Mirror Proof-Like (DMPL)
A description given to Morgan Dollars that have heavily frosted devices and mirrored fields, which result in a cameo appearance.
Appeared on many coins, even in ancient times, the designers initials can sometimes be hard to find. Even if you know where
they are, you might need a magnifying glass to read them. On the U.S. Lincoln Cent here, the initials are hidden at the base
of the portrait in tiny letters; I enlarged them a bit so you can read them. They are "VDB" for Victor David Brenner, the
designer of the obverse side of the Lincoln penny which has been in use since 1909.
The principal raised element, such as Ms. Liberty on the obverse and the eagle on the reverse of the Walking Liberty half
A US gold coin with a face value of $20.
A US gold coin with a face value of $10.
The actual side of the coin, and shouldn't be confused with the rim.
EF or XF
Extremely Fine refers to the coins condition or grade.
A coin that has been sealed in a plastic holder by a third-party grading service.
A broad category on non-money numismatic items, including medals, tokens and badges.
The flat surface or background of a coin.
Refers to a soft plastic holder with two pouches.
Refers to the fully separated and distinct cross bands on the reverse of a Mercury dime.
FBL/Full Bell Lines
Refers to the lower horizontal lines on the Liberty Bell, which is on the reverse of the Franklin half dollar.
Refers to the steps of Monticello on the reverse of the Jefferson Nickel. Six steps should be visible if the coin is fully
Florida United Numismatists and they host one of the nation’s largest coin conventions every January.
Grade or grading
A term used to determine the coins condition.
Refers to the scarcest coin in a series and carries a higher price. e.g. 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent
The brilliance or shine of coin and is considered to be one of the main factors in the coins value and grade.
The legend, or inscription, of the coin is the important descriptive information of the coin. Often these include abbreviations
of the titles and names of the rulers, states or towns under who’s authority the coin was struck.
A letter or symbol that tells us where the coin was minted. Mint marks have appeared on coins since ancient Greek and Roman
times, and served as a sort of quality-control mark. If the coin was later found to be wrong somehow, such as silver that
wasn't pure enough, the King or Caesar would know who to question about this. Today, the mint marks on circulating U.S. coins
tell us that the coin was minted in one of the following places:
C = Charlotte, NC (gold coins only; 1838-1861)
CC = Carson City, NV (1870-1893)
D = Dahlonega, GA (gold coins only; 1838-1861)
D = Denver, CO (1906 to date)
O = New Orleans, LA (1838-1909)
P or No Mintmark = Philadelphia, PA (1793 to date)
S = San Francisco, CA (1854 to date)
W = West Point, NY (1984 to date)
An Official set containing one uncirculated coin for each denomination made that year.
A word or phrase that has a special meaning to people intended to stir emotions or inspire them. Current United States coinage
has 3 mottos: "Liberty", "In God We Trust", and "E Pluribus Unum(Out of Many, One).
A term to describe a coin in the condition as it left the mint, also are uncirculated coins or BU.
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation is one of the major grading companies.
The study, art or collection of coins, medals, tokens and similar objects.
A person who is knowledgeable in the collecting of coins, medals, token and similar objects.
The front or heads of a coin.
A term used to describe the lighter shades of toning on a coin.
Professional Coin Grading Service is one of the major grading companies.
An image of one or more people, that is usually on the obverse face of the coin. Many other countries, such as England, that
have a hereditary monarchy (e.g. a King or Queen as symbolic or literal Head of State.) the living, reigning Monarch is depicted
in the portrait. For other, non-monarchies, these can be a personage of symbolic value, such as head of Pallas Athena on the
Portraits on U.S. coins meant for circulation have featured Miss Liberty and former Presidents, but have never featured a
A specially produced coin made from highly polished planchets and dies and often struck more than once to accent the design.
Proof coins receive the highest quality strike possible and can be distinguished by their sharpness of detail and brilliant,
mirror-like surface and sometimes cameo effect.
A complete set of proof coins for each denomination made that year and specially packaged.
A $2.50 face value US gold coin.
Refers to a coin that has not been certified by a third party grading company.
“A Guide Book of United States Coins”, the one with the red cover. It’s a retail price guide, along with other valuable information.
The edge is marked with a pattern, motto or reeding to prevent metal from being removed, or “clipped” from the coin.
The part of a coin's design that is raised above the surface.
The back of the coin or tails.
The raised outer edge of the coin. The reason for the rim is three-fold: First, it protects the coin's design from wearing
out too quickly; second, it makes the coins easier to stack, and third, it helps bring up the devices during striking.
A nickname referring to coins that have been graded by a third party service and placed in a plastic holder.
Special Mint Sets (SMS)
During the years of 1965-1967 the mint did not make proof sets, instead they issued mints sets with proof-like coins. Then
in 2005 the mint started making their mint sets with coins that have a satin-like finish to them, instead of using business
strike uncirculated coins.
The act of impressing the image on to the planchet. The quality of the strike is an important part of the grading process.
Coloring on the surface of a coin caused by a chemical reaction, such as sulfur from older cardboard books, flips or envelopes.
Rainbow-colored toning and original toning is often a desirable characteristic to many collectors.
A collection of one coin for each denomination and/or a particular design.
Refers to a coin that has never been in circulation, has no wear, but may have bag marks and/or toning.
A comprehensive book on Morgan & Peace Dollars written by Van Allen and Mallis. Their system gives reference numbers to particular
die varieties. There are clubs and collectors dedicated only VAM varieties.
Any coin that differs from another with the same date and mintmark. Like the 1909 Lincoln Cents, some have the VDB and some
A list given to a dealer from a collector listing coins the collector needs for a collection.
Severe polishing of a coin, generally with a wire brush or polishes, like silver polish for silverware. This practice may
make the coin look nicer at first, but it greatly lowers the value of the coin.
Women In Numismatics is a nonprofit organization.
A collection of all coins for any given year.
The Evolution of European Coinage
Early Medieval Coinage
As Roman power in the West was disintegrating; Germanic groups began crossing the Rhine and Danube Rivers, settling in territory
once exclusively Roman. During this period, coinage continued to be struck. Early Germanic gold and silver issues were copies
of late Roman and early Byzantine types, including solidi, tremisses, and siliquae. Soon, however, the Vandals began striking
their own types in silver and bronze, and the Ostrogoths also struck bronze which were minted at Rome. One 40 Nummi piece,
struck during the brief reign of the Ostrogothic king Theodahad (534-536), features his portrait, as well as a classical Victory
standing on a ship’s prow on the reverse. In the field are the letters S C (senatus consulto), a formula hearkening back to
Roman imperial bronze issues, and an attempt by these early Germanic rulers to connect with and inherit the Roman past.
The Franks, too, were a Germanic people who began settling in Roman territory in the fifth century. Their earlier kings known
collectively as the Merovingians, named for their chieftain Merowech, who ruled the Franks in the mid-fifth century. The Merovingians,
or “long-haired kings,” ruled much of modern-day France and Germany for the following two and a half centuries. During this
period gold and silver coins were struck with many being local civic issues, incorporating the mint name and that of the moneyer
in the design. The Merovingians, however, were beset by succession problems and many of the later kings were little more than
figureheads, while their deputies, the maiores domus, or “mayors of the palace”, became de facto rulers. In 751 the last Merovingian
king was deposed by his mayor, Pépin the Short, who became the first Carolingian monarch.
Pépin’s son Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, consolidated Carolingian power and on Christmas Day 800 he was crowned in Rome
by the Pope as the first Holy Roman Emperor. One of the many reforms Charlemagne undertook was the replacing of the old Merovingian
currency with a new one based on the denier, a small silver coin whose name came from the old Roman denarius, which remained
a popular denomination, and formed the basis of most European medieval currencies for the next two centuries. The great popularity
of the denier, however, soon created a drain on available supplies of silver. This resulted in most silver denominations becoming
billon issues, and precipitated the arrival of new, thin silver foil coins known as bracteates. From the late eleventh through
the early sixteenth century these bracteates continued to be struck in some areas of Central Europe.
Islamic coins also played a key role in early medieval coinage. As with the Germanic kingdoms of early Medieval Europe, the
Islamic dynasties initially imitated the existing currencies in their areas with minor modifications. These currency types,
known as Arab-Sasanian and Arab-Byzantine, continued to be used in some regions for over a century, but were soon replaced
in most areas by a completely new coinage based on the silver dirham. Silver dirhams circulated alongside deniers throughout
Europe between the tenth and twelfth centuries. In Spain and Hungary, Islamic coinage was the model for local issues, such
as the gold dobla of Alfonso VIII (1158-1214) and a bronze issue of Béla III (1172-1196). Dinars, known as bezants (from Byzantium),
circulated as the only available gold currency, until the introduction of both the écu and the florin in the thirteenth century.
Later Medieval and Early Modern Coinage
Beginning in the thirteenth century, European coinage underwent a change with the introduction of several new denominations
and the regular striking of gold coinage. The gold florin, so-called for the denomination’s origin in Florence, was first
struck in 1252. It was subsequently one of the most copied types, replacing the earlier Islamic bezant as the international
gold currency. In France the gold écu was first struck in 1266, and in the Low Countries and Italy several gold denominations
were also struck. In Spain, the monarchy of Castile and León continued to strike the gold dobla, and following the reconquest
of the country in 1492 the excelente and double excelente, featuring the portraits of Fernando V and Isabel I, were struck.
The most important silver denomination to appear during this period was the French gros tournois, first struck under Louis
IX between 1266 and 1270. A large coin of good silver, it was imitated throughout Europe. Later, many states developed their
own gros types: in Germany, it became the groschen; in Italy, the grosso; in Spain, the croat (later called the real); and
in England, the groat.
In the fifteenth century, a large silver denomination, the lira, was introduced in Italy. With the discovery of a substantial
source of silver in Joachimsthal in Bohemia in 1518, a similar large denomination, the taler, was struck. Known initially
as the Joachimstaler, its popularity led several other states to adopt it, with modification, as their own largest silver
Either through the Dutch daalder or the Swedish daler, the United States Dollar got its name. Like the gold issues, the designs
of these silver coins reflected the artistic styles of their periods, first under the influence of the Gothic style, and later,
as the Renaissance approached with its reintroduction of Greco-Roman art, with a more classical style. By the sixteenth century,
when the early modern period began, the developing European nations had established their own currencies, which continue to
the present day.
The Serenissima Repubblica
The Serenissima Repubblica (as Venice was known in the past, when it was a powerful state), is best known for its Republic
(headed by the Doges) Marco Polo (first European merchant to open the Silk Road), and St. Mark's cathedral. As Europe rebuilt
after the Dark Ages, Venice (along with several other Italian city-states) became an independent economic power, dominating
the trade in silk, spices and other luxury goods from the Middle East. Venice held this power as an independent Republic,
well into the 17th century, and remained an independent, though greatly diminished, political entity until their defeat by
Napoleon in 1797.
These coins are mostly from the time when Venice was an international power, and the images and mottos on the coins reflect
the political structure of the Republic. There is little change between the scudo of one Doge and another, rather the images
reflect the patronage of the city of St. Mark and of the Church.
Here are some brief highlights of the Histroy of Venice
According to tradition, Venice was founded in 421 AD on April 25th, St.Mark's day, who is the patron saint of Venice
In Venice the Doges' government is established: the first historically known doge is Orso Ipato (in 726). The year 814 is
the starting date of the construction of Palazzo Ducale (Doges' Palace) in what is today St. Mark's Square. The Basilica St.
Mark's instead was began in 834, but this first basilica went burnt down
Venice is spreading its commercial boundaries: in 1000 its fleet defeats the pirates of the Adriatic sea. Then Venice takes
part to the Crusades, the war campaigns aimed to free Jerusalem. For Venice this is a business opportunity and expansion chance
as well. Many works of art are taken to Venice as a booty: for instance, the four bronze horses of St. Mark's. The original
bronzes can now be seen in St.Mark's museum, whilst the four horses on the Basilica's facade are perfect copies.
In 1348, Venice population is halved by the plague. In spite of this, Venice succeeds in becoming the leader of the 4 seapowers
of Mediterranean Sea: the other ones were the Republics of Amalfi, Genoa and La Spezia
In 1489 Venice conquers the island of Cyprus.
Another great plague affects Italy in 1630, and for Serenissima Repubblica this is the beginning of the decadence.
Repubblica Serenissima di Venezia, the Venetian Republic, was defeated by Napoleon in 1797 and it became a part of the Hapsburg
Venetians attempt to free their land from the Hapsburg (1848). In 1860 the army of Giuseppe Garibaldi make it possible for
Italy to become a nation under the reign of the Savoia dynasty; Venice will join Italy in 1866 after the 3rd Independence
A Complete List of the Doges of Venice, 726 - 1797
726-737 Orso Ipato
742-755 Teodato Ipato
755-756 Galla Gaulo
756-764 Domenico Monegario
764-775 Maurizio Galbaio
775-804 Giovanni Galbaio
804-811 Obelario degli Antenori
811-827 Agnello Participazio
827-829 Giustiniano Participazio
829-836 Giovanni Particapazio I
836-864 Pietro Tradonico
864-881 Orso Participazio I
881-887 Giovanni Participazio II
887 Pietro Candiano I
888-912 Pietro Tribuno
912-932 Orso Participazizo II
932-939 Pietro Candiano II
939-942 Pietro Participazio
942-959 Pietro Candiano III
959-976 Pietro Candiano IV
976-978 Pietro Orseolo I
978-979 Vitale Candiano
979-991 Tribuno Memmo
991-1008 Pietro Orseolo II
1008-1026 Otto Orseolo
1026-1032 Pietro Centranico
1032-1043 Domenico Flabanico
1043-1071 Domenico Contarini
1071-1084 Domenico Selvo
1084-1096 Vitale Falier
1096-1102 Vitale Michiel I
1102-1118 Ordelafo Falier
1118-1130 Domenico Michiel
1130-1148 Pietro Polani
1148-1156 Domenico Morosini
1156-1172 Vitale Michiel II
1172-1178 Sebastiano Ziani
1178-1192 Orio Mastropiero
1192-1205 Enrico Dandolo
1205-1229 Pietro Ziani
1229-1249 Giacomo Tiepolo
1249-1253 Marin Morosini
1253-1268 Renier Zeno
1268-1275 Lorenzo Tiepolo
1275-1280 Jacopo Contarini
1280-1289 Giovanni Dandolo
1289-1311 Pietro Gradenigo
1311-1312 Marino Zorzi
1312-1328 Giovanni Soranzo
1329-1339 Francesco Dandolo
1339-1342 Bartolomeo Gradenigo
1343-1354 Andrea Dandolo
1354-1355 Marin Falier
1355-1356 Giovanni Gradenigo
1356-1361 Giovanni Dolfin
1361-1365 Lorenzo Celsi
1365-1368 Marco Corner
1368-1382 Andrea Contarini
1382 Michele Morosini
1382-1400 Antonio Venier
1400-1413 Michele Steno
1414-1423 Tommaso Mocenigo
1423-1457 Francesco Foscari
1457-1462 Pasquale Malipiero
1462-1471 Cristorforo Moro
1471-1473 Nicolo Tron
1473-1474 Nicolo Marcello
1474-1476 Pietro Mocenigo
1476-1478 Andrea Vendramin
1478-1485 Giovanni Mocenigo
1485-1486 Marco Barbarigo
1486-1501 Agostino Barbarigo
1501-1521 Leonardo Loredan
1521-1523 Antonio Grimani
1523-1538 Andrea Gritti
1539-1545 Pietro Lando
1545-1553 Francesco Dona'
1553-1554 Marcantonio Trevisan
1554-1556 Francesco Venier
1556-1559 Lorenzo Priuli
1559-1567 Girolamo Priuli
1567-1570 Pietro Loredan
1570-1577 Alvise Mocenigo I
1577-1578 Sebastiano Venier
1578-1585 Nicolo da Ponte
1585-1595 Pasquale Cicogna
1595-1605 Marino Germani
1606-1612 Leonardo Dona'
1612-1615 Marcantonio Memmo
1615-1618 Giovanni Bembo
1618 Nicolo Dona
1618-1623 Antonio Priuli
1623-1624 Francesco Contarini
1625-1629 Giovanni Corner I
1630-1631 Nicolo Contarini
1631-1646 Francesco Erizzo
1646-1655 Francesco Molin
1655-1656 Carlo Contarini
1656 Francesco Corner
1656-1658 Bertucci Valier
1658-1659 Giovanni Pesaro
1659-1675 Domenico Contarini
1675-1676 Nicolo Sagredo
1676-1684 Alvise Contarini
1684-1688 Marcantonio Giustinian
1688-1694 Francesco Morosini
1694-1700 Silvestro Valier
1700-1709 Alvise Mocenigo II
1709-1722 Giovanni Corner II
1722-1732 Alvise Mocenigo III
1732-1735 Carlo Ruzzini
1735-1741 Alvise Pisani
1741-1752 Pietro Grimani
1752-1762 Francesco Loredan
1762-1763 Marco Foscarini
1763-1778 Alvise Mocenigo IV
1779-1789 Paolo Renier
1789-1797 Lodovico Manin