Word into Art, £16.99
Silver schaumünze of Sigismund III von Schrattenbach, archbishop of Salzburg
Salzburg, Austria, AD 1766
'First in the Art of Coinage'
Schaumünzen, or 'show-coins', were specially designed and well-made coins produced in the lands of the Holy Roman Empire (modern Germany, Austria and neighbouring areas) in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. They were not intended for currency, but to commemorate some person, event or activity. They were probably presented to appropriate people during a ceremonial occasion or visit.
This particular piece is a rare example of a coin made to celebrate the art and craft of coin making. The design is of moneyers operating a screw press, the coin-striking machinery of the period. It also beautifully demonstrates the skill of the engravers, who were able to produce this design on coins of such relatively small size. The legend reads ARTIS MONETARIA PREMIUM, 'First in the Art of Coinage', a tribute to the archbishop's moneyers.
M. Bernhart and K. Roll, Die Münzen und Medaillen des E, vol. II (Munich, 1923)