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World_Coin_Nut's Blog

22 Jun 2020

Bracteates

Coins-World | World_Coin_Nut

From Wikipedia: A bracteate (from the Latin bractea, a thin piece of metal) is a flat, thin, single-sided gold medal worn as jewelry that was produced in Northern Europe predominantly during the Migration Period of the Germanic Iron Age (including the Vendel era in Sweden). The term is also used for thin discs, especially in gold, to be sewn onto clothing in the ancient world, as found for example in the ancient Persian Oxus treasure, and also later silver coins produced in central Europe during the Early Middle Ages.

Bracteates are an underappreciated (IMO) area of numismatics. While they are not the main objective of my collecting experience, I have been aware of them for some time, although I had never purchased one until recently.

My recent acquisitions started with the piece below (Picture #2). It is from Augsburg and was listed as part of lot of 7 coins I purchased in a recent auction. I was interested in a couple of the other pieces and barely paid attention to this little piece. When it came in the mail it was the piece that I found most impressive. It is much clearer than my image shows.

So, of course, that started me looking for others. To me, pictures don’t convey the “cool” factor of these. When I look for them online I just kind of get a meh reaction from myself. So, in a month or so since the first purchase, nothing really jumped out at me to purchase.

My key collecting area is German States coinage from the 1400’s to 1871. Branching out to some earlier coins makes sense to me. The coin pictured first was purchased a week ago at a local coin show. It is huge for a bracteate. It came with an old CNG tag and with a little sleuthing I saw that I paid less than half what it sold for there. I can deal with that. The 2 last pictured coins were purchased from the same dealer. I think he was just impressed that someone knew what a bracteate was.

Prices for these are all over the place. The 4 pieces I have shown ranged in price from $30 to $180 but they can go up into 4 figures. If you are looking for these be careful. In my opinion, most of the ones listed on eBay are overpriced. This is one instance when scarcity doesn't necessarily mean a high price. I don't think any of these are common but you can find some real bargains. You will have to search for dealers that specialize in world coins.

These are fun coins and an inexpensive way to collect medieval coinage.


Picture #1:

1139 / 42-1195. AR Bracteate

Diameter: 30mm
Weight: 0.80 g

Braunshweig mint

Obverse: Lion passant left, head facing; annulet above
Reverse: Incuse of obverse

Kestner 612-8; Bonhoff 272

Picture #2:

Augsburg
1288-1302

Wolfhard von Roth-Wackernitz. Bracteate.

Obverse: Bust of the bishop from the front with mitra bicornis, crook and book in beaded stripes and 8 sheets

St. 94. Kestner- 2656

Picture #3:

Augsburg

Diocese of Hartmann Graf von Dillingen 1250-1286
Bracteate

Obverse: head of the bishop from the front, one ring Bonh on each side.

1918. Berger 2651

Picture #4:

Tiengen. Barons of Krenkingen.
about 1350-1400.

Weight: 0.35 g

Obverse: T-E / V, draped bust left, wearing pointed helmet
Reverse: Incuse of the obverse

Berger 2468; Bonhoff 1793; Wüthrich 167



Comments

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Wow! Thanks for teaching me something new! I had not heard of these and they are indeed very interesting!

coinfodder

Level 4

Very interesting. Never knew about these coins. Pretty well struck for the time.

Mokie

Level 6

First time I have learned of these. That's what makes this forum so wonderful, even if we never pursue a specific area of the hobby, we have expanded our horizons. Thank You WCN, you have opened up a fascinating segment of our hobby.

Mike

Level 7

I'm still learning after all these gears. I like these and to be honest t first time I have seen one. The history is great . Back that far? .Wow. It's amazing there so well preerved. Nice pickups take care of them and thanks for sharing them.

Golfer

Level 5

Awesome coins. I have never heard of them. Will look for them next coin show. I usually pass by the world coin dealers, but will definately start checking out the world coins now, for these and any thing else that might interest me. Will search ebay now.

Longstrider

Level 6

Cool. I have never paid much attention to these before. I like them. Thanks for showing both surfaces of them.

World_Coin_Nut

Level 5

For some reason, the auction companies usually only show the obverse on these. To me, the reverse is just as important even though it doesn't have a unique surface.

"SUN"

Level 5

Interesting blog. I learned something new. thanks.

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