Silver pfennig of Agnes II von Meissen, abbess of Quedlinburg

Quedlinburg, Germany, AD 1184-1203

Money of a medieval abbess

The abbesses of a small group of prominent convents were given minting rights by the German emperors, in the same way as many of the abbots and bishops of central Europe did, mostly in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. They were the only long series of coin issues by women in medieval Europe. The abbots and abbesses were not able to create 'princely states' in the way that the secular lords and many of the bishops and archbishops did. Most of them were dominated by the princes who ruled the lands around their territories, to whom they were often related. They did, however, mostly maintain their coinage rights, as at Quedlinburg, whereAgnes II (abbess from 1184 to 1203) was a member of the family of the powerful margraves (local rulers) of Meissen.

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the abbesses produced silver pfennigs, of a type common to eastern Europe at the time. They were broad, but very thin, with a single design, in the positive on one side and in the negative on the other.

Find in the collection online

More information


H.P. Cappe, Beschreibung des Münzen des vo (Berlin, Nicolaische Buchhandlung, 1851)


Diameter: 34.000 mm
Weight: 0.440 g

Museum number

CM 1848-3-10-84



Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore