World_Coin_Nut's Blog

21 Nov 2020

An Unexpected Connection

Medieval Coins | World_Coin_Nut

I recently made an impulse purchase. I have a bad habit of buying anything shiny that I like. Medieval coins have intrigued me for a while but I haven’t purchased many because I don’t have much experience attributing them. It helps to have the correct literature but I don’t. In the past, any medieval coins I purchased were already attributed by the seller. This is a collecting area out of my comfort zone.

Heritage lot description:

10-Piece Lot of Uncertified Assorted Deniers ND (11th-13th Century) VF,18.1-19.9mm. Average weight 9.64gm. Lot includes (7) Besançon Deniers, (2) Philip Deniers, (1) Louis IX Denier.

So, I purchased the lot of 10 French Medieval coins in a recent Heritage sale. Of course, they were not attributed except to mention the ruler, which, at least, is a good start. On another coin website, I posted a message asking for suggestions on the best literature for French medieval coins. Several members responded and the consensus was that the book I needed was:

Title:Les Monnaies Francaises Royales de Hugues Capet a Louis XVI (987-1793): Tome I (Hugues Capet - Louis XII)

Author:Jean Duplessy

I found an inexpensive copy off of Abe Books. Here is where the fun (to me) begins. The seller’s description of the book included this:

“Mendel Peterson's copy with his personalized bookplate to the front pastedown. Peterson was the former curator of the Smithsonian Institution and is considered to be the father of underwater archaeology.”

I love stuff like this.

Mendel L. Peterson (March 8, 1918 – July 30, 2003) was an American pioneer in the field of underwater archeology and former curator at the Smithsonian Institution, becoming known as "the father of underwater archeology". His specialties included underwater exploration and numismatics. Peterson Island in Antarctica is named after him.

I’m not sure why Mr. Peterson had a copy of this. The only numismatic reference I can find is a pamphlet published by him in 1962 titled “The Emergency Currency of Leyte”. He may have received this book due to his association with the Smithsonian or maybe he did have an interest in Medieval French coins. It doesn’t matter to me, I’m just glad to have this book that once sat on the bookshelf of this great man. Mr. Peterson did publish a number of other books but they were mostly related to underwater exploration.

This is one of the great things about our hobby. I made a simple purchase and it turned into an unexpected learning experience that sent me down a path introducing me to a man that I wasn’t familiar with but curated the collection of my favorite place to visit. I have ordered both of the other books pictured from Amazon. Let’s see how much further down this rabbit hole I travel.



Level 4

Interesting and engaging blog! Excellent presentation. Everything has a history and it is fun to discover it.


Level 6

Great story! Looks like an interesting area of collecting. Really pretty coins!


Level 5

Thats one heck of a story! Thanks for sharing! Cheers, NM


Level 6

Fantastic. Thanks for sharing this cool story.

It's Mokie

Level 6

That is the essence of our hobby, a simple purchase leading to a vast array of knowledge. Thanks for sharing your adventure!!!!


Level 7

You see me right!. I did love it. Just as you said. I like the Deniers. You have ten .your own collection in one purchase. A great blog. And a good win for you. Entertaining your blog and the coins. Knowing you probably won with one bid!!. I use to buy sleepers there. Big auction and what you want no one has seen. One bid you take home the prize. Congratulations again and thanks for a great read.


Level 5

All I can say is WOW ! What a great blog WCN! I too have noticed "world coins" but like the rest of the folks on here, have not considered buying any due to the same reasons. I know nothing about them. The coins are really nice looking and the history to go along with them is priceless ! Thanks for sharing and please let us know how this turns out for you!


Level 5

Yup, coinage and history, you can never fail with that combination. Nice Blog, interesting area that I know absolutely nothing about so it is all new and interesting to me. Please keep us appraised of your adventures and of knowledge gained from these forays. It is cool. Later!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Very nice coins and a very cool book! Maybe the underwater archeology and the coins tie in.... Think shipwrecks.... Thanks for showing us the coins and telling us of the book. Happy hunting in this new direction, sounds like fun!

Information on ancient and medieval coins just aren't as widespread as US or "modern" world coins. I've always had an eye for them too, but I stay away because I don't know anything about them. Maybe this book will change my mind.


Level 4

The old saying " Buy the book before the coin" or something to that effect. Congrats!!


Level 6

This is what the hobby is all about. Learning the history behind the coin.


Level 5

Neat story, and nice coins! I too get consumed by a single coin at times


Level 5

Awesome coins. Great to own a book that belonged to this man. I always think anout the person who owned something before me and how they came upon the coin or anything else ive bought. Like to think its a way to honor their life and remember them . Coins are really nice and good find.

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