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21 Oct 2020

Calendar Medals

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

Medals like this were first produced at least as early as the 1680's and continued intermittently up through the present day. These were functional for the common man and were frequently used as pocket pieces which can make high-grade examples tough to find.

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14 Oct 2020

Ballooning and Numismatics

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

Unmanned hot air balloons are popular in Chinese history. Zhuge Liang of the Shu Han kingdom, ca. AD 220–280, used airborne lanterns for military signaling. These lanterns are known as Chinese lanterns.The first documented balloon flight in Europe was by priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão. On August 8, 1709, in Lisbon, he managed to lift a small balloon made of paper full of hot air about four meters in front of King John V and the Portuguese court.Some important dates in ballooning history:June 5th, 1783 – The Montgolfier brothers first demonstrated an unmanned hot air balloon.September 19th, 1783 – The same balloon was used to lift a sheep, duck, and chicken. It rose to 1,500 feet and traveled roughly 3 kilometers before safely landing. The demonstration was performed for King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette.October 19th, 1783 – First tethered flight with humans.November 21st, 1783 – King Louis XVI had decreed that condemned criminals would be the first human passengers by scientists Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and Marquis François d'Arlandes successfully petitioned for the honor. It was a paper balloon with live fire in a sling beneath it. They traveled over 7 kilometers in 25 minutes and landed despite having plenty of fuel to continue on. (Talk about bravery....or stupidity, you decide)August 23rd, 1783 – Jacques Charles and the Robert brothers created the first successful filled hydrogen balloon.August 27th, 1783 – The same gentlemen as above launched the balloon in Paris on the future site of the Eiffel Tower. Benjamin Franklin was among the many onlookers. The balloon flew for 45 minutes traveling around 21 kilometers before coming to ground in Gonesse and was destroyed by the terrified locals.Picture #1December 1st, 1783 – Same guys again launched the first manned hydrogen balloon. It traveled for over 2 hours covering about 36 kilometers.January 7th, 1785 – Jean-Pierre Blanchard becomes the first person to cross the English Channel in a balloon.May, 1785 – First aircraft disaster. A balloon in Ireland crashed in Tullamore causing about 100 houses to burn down.January 10th, 1793 – First manned flight in America. The takeoff was witnessed by George Washington.From the 1790’s on gas balloons became the most common type.1852 – Henri Giffard was the pilot of the first steerable balloon. Aka Dirigible. It was powered by a steam engine…. that sounds like a terrible idea. Fortunately, (IMO) it was too slow to be practical.1898 – Alberto Dumont piloted the first untethered balloon powered by an internal combustion engine.July 3rd, 2002 – Steve Fossett piloted a non-stop around the world hot air balloon flight.In addition, there was wide military use of balloons up to about 1870. Even Napoleon III made use of observation balloons.So, what does this have to do with numismatics? A recent acquisition at my LCS made me want to dig into the history of hot air balloons, dirigibles, airships, and similar forms of transportation.Picture #2Obverse: City view of Paris and Giffard's Hot Air Balloon at the Word Exhibition 1878. Below in 2 lines: "PANORAMA DE PARIS 1878"​Reverse: 6 lines: "SOUVENIR DE MON ASCENSION DANS LE GRAND BALLON CAPTIV A VAPEUR DE MR HENRI GIFFARD". Button 16.​Medallist: C. (Charles) Trotin, 1833 Paris - ?Ex. Karl Stephens, Lost Dutchman Rare Coins​This gilt bronze medal is in fantastic condition. Obviously, it has been well cared for in the past. It even came with its hanger bar and part of the ribbon that it originally hung on. It came with an old envelope from Karl Stephens. It’s not my first balloon related piece. Last year I had picked up one of the German 5 Mark Zeppelin coins after a long search for the “right” one.Picture #3Obverse: Eagle, denomination below​Reverse: Zeppelin across globe, date belowSubject: Graf Zeppelin Flight​Composition: Silver​Fineness: 0.5000Weight: 25.0000gDiameter: 37mm​With a little searching, you will see that there is a wide variety of balloon related coins, medals, and tokens available on the market and most can be picked up for a very modest price. Below are a few more of my favorites that fit the theme.Picture #4Great Britain ca. 1907​Balloon School Royal Engineers​Picture #5GERMANY: AE medal 1924, Kaiser-451​Weight: 28.17gDiameter: 40mm​Bronze medal for the Crossing of the Atlantic by the LZ 126 dirigible by Mayer and Wilhelm, bust with cap right with GRAF FERDINAND V. ZEPPELIN - * 8.JULI 1838 + 8.MÄRZ 1917 around // Mercury holding airship aloft above waves with AMERIKAFAHRT DES L.Z. 126OKT.1924/ Dr.ECKENER,Kd.u26MANN above and "12.10.24.6.35. Vorm. - 15.10.24.3 11.N m." below, matte antiqued finishPicture #6By Glöckler ad Weltfahrt d. Airship "Graf Zeppelin". Kaiser 511​Obverse: Brb. Zeppelin, Eckener u.Dürr l.Reverse: Globe with d. registered stations and dates of the travel route.Edge lettering: 'PREUSS.STAATSMÜNZE.SILBER 900 FEIN'.​Weight: 24.91 g​Diameter: 36mmPicture #7Wilhelm II bronze "Count Von Zeppelin Berlin Flight" ca. 1909Kienast-47. by K. Goetz.Issued for the long-distance trips of the Zeppelin airships.Obverse: GRAF FERDINAND VON ZEPPELIN His bust facing, head half to rightReverse: Airship in clouds with rising sun flying right, above nude child seated inscribing commemorative plaque.Diameter:65Weight: 128.8Picture #8The full obverse of the 1st medal show loop and hanger.Picture #9Envelope from Karl StephensSources: Wikipedia and my head.One thought that kept popping into my head was that there wasn't much improvement in balloon technology between ancient China and 1783. Part of it must have been not having the technology to make a vessel large enough to hold enough volume of hot air to lift a person. I didn't mention it but those guys in November of 1783 were in the paper industry which was still pretty young at that point. They had the raw materials available to create the balloon. Up to that point in history, what else could have been used?

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10 Oct 2020

Death of August der Jüngere

Coins-World | World_Coin_Nut

Augustus II, called the Younger (August der Jüngere), was Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. In the estate division of the House of Welf of 1635, he received the Principality of Wolfenbüttel which he ruled until his death. Considered one of the most literate princes of his time, he is known for founding the Herzog August Library at his Wolfenbüttel residence, then the largest collection of books and manuscripts north of the Alps.He is an important part of German history. He first came on my radar because of my fascination with Wildman coins. August II had a plethora of Wildman coins minted in his name. I have done presentations, exhibits, etc on Wildman coins enough times that it almost feels like I knew him.This is a recent acquisition that I have had on my radar for at least a year. It just made sense to add a Thaler commemorating his death to my collection since I have so many minted during his life.Here is my description:Obverse: Legend in 11 linesObverse Translation: Born April 10 1579 during the lead but accompanies his years of work. Died September 17 1666. Lived 87 years, 5 months and 7 daysReverse: Bare tree with skull at baseReverse Translation: Happy about the green foliage. So the glory of the world. dells. The advice of all things, not only to the provident and active.Subject: Death of August IIMint: ZellerfeldMintmaster: Most likely Henning SchluterNote: Dav. #6376.Composition: SilverI used Google translate for the legend translation. I’m sure it is close but as you can see it is kind of clunky. Anybody out there that wants to give a better suggestion for the translation, feel free.As you can see this piece has a Halloween kind of vibe to it so it seemed like the perfect time to close the deal on one.

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05 Oct 2020

Joshua Reynolds Medal

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

Sir Joshua Reynolds (July 16, 1723 – February 23, 1792) was an English painter specializing in portraits. John Russell said he was one of the major European painters of the 18th century. He promoted the "Grand Style" in painting which depended on the idealization of the imperfect. He was a founder and first president of the Royal Academy of Arts and was knighted by George III in 1769.

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