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The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics

Owner:  gherrmann44
Last Modified:  8/25/2019
  
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Slot: Europe (Roman Empire)
Origin/Country: ANCIENT - ROMAN EMPIRE (1st CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) ROMAN EMPIRE Gordian III, AD 238-244
Design Description:
Item Description: AR Double-Denarius Danube Silver Collection
Grade: NGC XF
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
Fortuna
Slot: Europe (Roman Empire)
Origin/Country: ANCIENT - ROMAN EMPIRE (1st CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) ROMAN EMPIRE Otacilia Severa,AD 244-49
Design Description:
Item Description: AR Double-Denarius rv Concordia std.
Grade: NGC Ch AU Strike: 5/5 Surface: 3/5
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The featured coin this month (Volume 3, Number 11) is a NGC choice AU Roman Empire Double Denarius dating AD 244-249. The obverse of my coin features a right facing bust of Otacilia Severa who was the wife of then emperor, Philipp I the Arab. The reverse features a left seated image of Concordia, the goddess of harmony. To the Romans, Concordia represented peace and harmony between classes of people and in particular between the patricians (nobles) and the plebeians (commoners). Later Concordia came to represent harmony within a marital relationship.

In Concordia’s right hand is a patera. A patera is a shallow bowl used in religious ceremonies to pour out sacrificial libations. In her left hand, Concordia is holding a double cornucopia. From this, I can surmise that the double cornucopia signifies the abundant benefits of peace and harmony.

As is the case with many allegorical coins featuring seated images, the seat is symbolic of a kingdom, empire, or nation and the person sitting thereon as having authority over it. Thus, the seat on this coin seems to represent the Roman Empire and Concordia seated thereon as having authority to bring peace and harmony to the empire.

From what I can discern, the coins of the Ancient Roman Empire served two main purposes. One, they were used as a medium of exchange in commerce and two; they were used to disseminate propaganda. For instance, where a coin features the bust of the ruler on the obverse and a personified deity on the reverse, the people see that ruler as a god identifying him with the personified deity on the reverse.

In the instance of this coin, the empress, Otacilia Severa is identifying herself with Concordia. Interestingly, it was during the reign of Otacilia Severa’s husband Philip that the persecution of Christians ceased across the Roman Empire.

The obverse of another of my ancient coins features a right facing bust of Philip I. On the coins reverse is an image of Roma, the personification of Rome holding Nike (the goddess of victory) in her hand. Since Philip I was born in Syria of a Syrian father, I can reasonably deduce that he sought to identify himself with Roma to shore up his political support in Rome.

Another of my collecting objectives is to trace the spread of western culture and philosophy through coins. While today we do not worship the ancient gods and goddesses per se, I find it fascinating that modern coins still feature many of those same ancient personifications. The presence of these images on modern coinage is a strong indication of how ingrained ancient Greek and Roman philosophy is to our psyche today. Examples of these are the idealized values of Liberty, Concordia, Fortuna, Justice, Fame, and Victory. National personifications include Britannia, Hispania, and Roma/Italia. Remarkably, the aforementioned instances are only a small portion of the many more examples to be found in numismatics.

When I searched for a modern coin using an image of Concordia I used the keyword “Concordia” to search through a PDF copy of Krause’s Catalog of World Coins. What I found is a 1970 Italian 1000 lire coin commemorating the 100th anniversary of Rome as its capital. Consequently, I purchased a NGC MS-66 example of that coin to go with my AD 244-249 ancient coin also featuring Concordia.

This all reminds me of the words of Solomon written in the Book of Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Gary
Slot: Europe
Origin/Country: GERMANY - STATES - 2
Design Description:
Item Description: TALER 1835 BAVARIA - FIRST RAILWAY
Grade: NGC AU Details
Research: View Coin
Slot: Europe
Origin/Country: GERMANY - STATES - 2
Design Description:
Item Description: 2T 1846 BAVARIA - CANAL COMPLETED
Grade: NGC MS 62
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The Coin of the Month for August 2014 (Volume 3, Number 12) is an NGC MS-62, 1846 Bavarian 2 Thaler commemorating the completion of Ludwig’s Canal connecting the Main and Danube Rivers.

This coin (KM #822) with an unknown mintage is 38mm in diameter and weighs 37.12 grams. It has a silver fineness of .900 with an ASW of 1.0740 oz. The edge inscription signifies a monetary equivalency of 3 1/2 Guldens (Drey-Einhalb Gulden) and a weight of 1/7 fine silver Cologne Mark (**VII E F M**). The Cologne Mark is a unit of weight equivalent to 233.856 grams or 3600 grains (480 grains/troy ounce). This coins engraver is Carl Friedrich Voight.

The first attempt to build a canal joining the Main and Danube Rivers dates back to 793 AD. The main objective of the canal was to create a navigable waterway between the North and Black Seas. Due to bad weather and unfavorable soil conditions, this work was never completed.

Under Ludwig I, King of Bavaria, construction of a new 172-kilometer canal between Kelheim and Bamberg began in 1836. Ten years later work on the canal was finally complete and Ludwig's Canal opened to commercial traffic in 1846.

With the advent of the railroad, commercial traffic on the canal began to decline. Eventually, having suffered the effects of declining use, neglect, and war damage the canal closed in 1950. Today only 60-kilometers of the waterway remains and much of that has been converted into a scenic bike trail.

For a long time I have wanted to post this coin as the “Coin of the Month”. However, information on this coin is sparse and I have had trouble identifying the images on the coins reverse. At first, I thought the images might be that of Hercules and Bavaria. Then again, other imagery on the coin seems to suggest that they are representative images of the Main and Danube Rivers. Then I figured the female image holding the rudder represents the Main River and the male image holding the paddle the Danube. Subsequently, I found that I was wrong on all counts.

Since information on the coin itself is sparse, I looked for clues to the allegory of this coin by researching the canal itself. Perusing several related photographs using Google images I discovered a picture of a monument using imagery similar to that of my coin. Not coincidentally, this monument located north of Erlangen on Castle Hill was the site of the canal’s dedication on July 15, 1846. Then after a few more Google searches I discovered the key to deciphering my coin’s imagery and my search was over!

The female image on this coin's reverse is Danubia, the personification of the Danube River. The male image is Moenus, the river god of the Main River (Moenus is the Latin word for Main). Danubia and Moenus are shaking hands to signify the joining of the Main and Danube Rivers. Additionally, they are wearing a laurel wreath on their head to symbolize the victorious completion of the canal's construction. With their left hand Danubia is holding a rudder and Moenus a paddle suggesting that the newly completed canal is a navigable waterway.

Danubia and Moenus also appear seated on jars of pouring water. This imagery implies that they are representative figures of their respective rivers. The joining of the poured waters may symbolize the North Sea of the Main River connecting to the Black Sea of the Danube River and becoming one. The obverse of the coin features a right facing bust of King Ludwig I of Bavaria.

PCGS has a total population of only four of these coins, one MS-65, one MS-62, one AU-58, and one AU-50. NGC has a total population of three coins, two MS-62’s and an AU-58. A NumisMaster value of $950 for this coin in MS-63 condition and low populations from both major third-party graders suggest that this coin is rare. Conservatively, my guess is that there are less than one hundred of these coins left today. This leads me to believe that these coins were either handed out and/or sold at the canal’s dedication and not minted for general circulation. This may also be the reason that there is no mintage information for this coin.

In the end, when you research your coins, leave no stone unturned. This may prove a little tedious but let me assure you that you will not regret it! Now until next month, happy collecting!
Gary
Slot: Europe
Origin/Country: GERMANY - STATES - 2
Design Description:
Item Description: TALER 1871 BAVARIA - VICTORY
Grade: NGC MS 64
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
1871 Bavaria Victory Taler:

This beautifully toned coin commemorates victory in the Franco-Prussian War. That war between France and the North German Confederation of Prussia allied with the southern German states including Bavaria ended with the Treaty of Frankfurt on 10 May 1871. The inscriptions on the reverse of this coin are translated:

Through Battle and Victory to Peace
Peace Treaty at Frankfurt am Main
The 10th of May 1871

The female personification on this coin’s reverse is Bavaria in all her splendor, seated and resting after attaining a satisfying victory over France in the Franco-Prussian war. In her right hand, she is holding a laurel wreath signifying victory. In her left hand, she is holding a cornucopia signifying abundance and quite possibly in this instance, the spoils of war and victory. In the background is an olive branch signifying peace. Thus, the imagery on this coin perfectly aligns with its inscription, “Through Battle and Victory to Peace.”

The postcard featured with this coin is the “Hall of Fame” in the city of Munich, the capital of Bavaria. In front of the hall is a bronze statue of Bavaria in all her strength and glory standing next to a lion.
Slot: Europe
Origin/Country: GERMANY - STATES - 2
Design Description:
Item Description: TALER 1871A PRUSSIA - VICTORY
Grade: NGC MS 63
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
In contrast to the Bavarian Victory Taler, this victory taler from Prussia takes a decidedly more militarist approach to Prussia’s victory in the Franco-Prussian War. The key to understanding this coin’s allegory directly correlates to the unification of the North German Confederation and the southern German states into the German Empire on January 18, 1871. The unification of the German states into the German Empire and a resounding victory in the Franco-Prussian War left Germany as the preeminent power in Europe and Wilhelm I, King of Prussia as its Emperor.

The reverse of this coin features a crowned image of Germania, the national personification of Germany seated on an elevated platform resembling a throne. She is holding a downward pointing unsheathed sword in her right hand while leaning on the Prussian arms with her left forearm. The downward pointing sword signifies peace, but only in the sense of a cessation of hostilities after a decisive victory. However, it also indicates preparedness for war. As such, this coin conveys an image of preparedness and strength. Leaning on the Prussian arms shows that Germania identifies with Prussia. The imperial crown upon Germania’s head suggests power and authority. On the obverse of this coin is a profile of Wilhelm I, King of Prussia and the first Emperor of the German Empire. Linking Wilhelm I with the powerful imagery of Germania implies that he was very powerful.

The image substituted for this coins reverse is an 1873 painting showing Germania prepared and standing at the watch on the River Rhine with a wary eye towards France.
Slot: Europe
Origin/Country: UNITED STATES
Design Description: HALF DOLLARS - BARBER LIBERTY HEAD
Item Description: 50C 1900 S
Grade: NGC
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
I was randomly perusing E-Bay one night and by chance I hit upon this German medal that was just spectacular. Immediately I had to have it but it was certified and the seller wanted a little bit too much for it. Well, not deterred by that I went searching and found a raw medal that was about half the cost of the certified medal and it was a sale. The piece is a Wurzbach-685 1844 Berlin Exhibition Medal. The medal is 45mm in diameter and was struck in very high relief. The legend on the obverse is translated, "Remembering the exhibition of German commercial products to Berlin 1844." The inscription on the rock that Germania is seated upon is translated, "Stand together." The reverse legend is translated, "Forward with German diligence and German power." It will be fun when I get a chance to examine all the vignettes on the reverse. More on this piece later that is destined for my Seated Imagery set.
Slot: Europe
Origin/Country: DENMARK 1873 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: 20K 1890 HC CS
Grade: NGC MS 64
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
The 1890 20 Kroner with a mintage of 102,000 was minted in Copenhagen as signified by the heart to the left of the date. The initials CS to the right of the date represent mint official Diderik Christian Andreas Svendsen. The coin struck in .900 fine gold weighs 8.9605 grams and has an AGW of .2593oz.

The obverse of this coin features a right facing bust of King Christian IX. The initials HC at the base of Christian IX’s truncated neck represent the coins engraver, Harald Conradsen. The coin’s reverse features a seated image of Dania with her left forearm resting on the upper rim of a shield engraved with the Danish coat of arms. In Dania’s right hand is a scepter representing Denmark’s sovereignty. A sheaf of corn behind Dania represents Denmark’s agricultural economy and its main export. Finally, at the feet of Dania illustrating Danish naval prowess is a dolphin, which denotes good luck and fair weather.

There is a cliché with some validity which asserts that perception becomes reality. For example, the wings of Liberty’s headdress on the Mercury Dime were to signify freedom of thought. However, the public perceived the coin to represent the Roman god Mercury and thus the “Winged Liberty Head Dime” is forever known as “The Mercury Dime.”

Born of a Danish fascination with mermaids, this cliché also applies to the Danish 20 Kroner commonly referred to as the “Mermaid Coin.” Although the image on the reverse of the 20 Kroner is clearly not that of a mermaid, it can appear like a mermaid in the imagination of the person viewing the coin by merging the tail of the dolphin into the feet of Dania.

Denmark as a seafaring nation would naturally be attracted to anything concerning the sea. Add to this the charm of maritime folklore and it is easy to see the connection between the Danish people and the “Mermaid Coin.”

Danish author Hans Christian Anderson tapped into the essence of this when he published the popular children’s fairytale “The Little Mermaid” in 1837. Later in 1909, commissioned by brewer and art collector Carl Jacobsen, sculptor Edvard Eriksen fashioned a statue based on “The Little Mermaid.” Now an iconic symbol of Copenhagen, the life-size bronze of “The Little Mermaid” sits on a rock in the harbor off Langelinie Promenade.

Here in the United States, most of us identify more with the 1989 Walt Disney adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.” My daughter was only five when this movie first came out and I well remember her fascination with mermaids. Ariel from the popular Walt Disney movie, "The Little Mermaid" is pictured with my coin. Also pictured is an Edmund Dulac Illustration of the Little Mermaid and the Prince.

I recall an instance at the grocery store with my daughter when we walked by a "Chicken of the Sea" placard in the tuna fish aisle. At the sight of the placard, my “Little Girl” pointed and said, “Daddy, Mermaid.” Along with a picture of a mermaid were redemption coupons offering to send us a free stuffed mermaid in exchange for a number of tuna labels. Wrapped around my daughters little finger, I tore off one of the redemption coupons. You can well imagine what happened after that. Let us just say we ate a lot of “Chicken of the Sea” tuna for a while!

Many of the coins in my collection remind me of fond life experiences and this coin is no exception by reminding me of the aforementioned times I had with my daughter. Furthermore, as shown in this column, one of the beauties of numismatics is that the interpretation of allegorical images is often in the eyes of the beholder. While artists and engravers have their own ideas about the allegorical images on their coins, it all comes down to how you perceive the coin in your hand!
Slot: Europe
Origin/Country: DENMARK 1873 TO DATE
Design Description:
Item Description: 2K 1903 P GJ 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF REIGN
Grade: NGC MS 65
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
This coin is an NGC MS-65, 1903 Danish 2 Kroner coin (KM-802) commemorating the 40th anniversary of the reign of Christian IX. The coin is 31 mm in diameter and weighs 15 grams with a mintage of 103,392. It has a silver fineness of .8000 and an actual silver weight of .3858 oz.

The obverse of this coin features a right facing bust of Christian IX, King of Denmark. The dates of his reign, 15 November 1863 to 1903 appear around the inner circumference of the coin. Underneath the left portion of Christian IX’s bust is the coins date of 1903 and a heart signifying that it was minted in Copenhagen. The initial P to the right of the date represents mint master Vilhelm Buchard Poulsen and the initials GJ underneath the right portion of Christian IX’s bust represent this coins engraver, Knud Gunnar Jensen.

For illustrative and comparison purposes I will contrast this coin with the gold 20 Kroner pictured as an inset in this month’s photo collage. I find it fascinating that two coins with similar designs have such diverse interpretations. The 20 Kroner gold coin came into existence as an international trade coin at the founding of the Scandinavian Monetary Union with Sweden in 1873 and with Norway two years later. The Danish 20 Kroner circulated at par with the gold coins of the other member nations.

Both the 20 Kroner and my 2 Kroner feature the feminine allegorical figure Dania who represents the spirit of Denmark. Coins with seated feminine personifications can signify several things, and first among them is that Dania, as portrayed on the 2 Kroner, is at rest representing peace. Next, the seated position generally represents a person of authority much like that of a monarch seated on a throne, a god or goddess, or perhaps some other high government official.

Oftentimes a shield accompanies the seated personification signifying either a national value, as is the case of Lady Liberty for the United States or a coat of arms representing the nation issuing the coin. The shield as a piece of defensive armor represents preparedness and protection from all potential foes, domestic and foreign.

The Danish coat of arms emblazoned on the shield of the 2 and 20 Kroner coins, feature three crowned blue lions and nine hearts. Historians believe that the hearts at one time were the petals of the white lotus, which is a type of water lily. However, this was lost over the years and became the hearts of today due to worn and crudely made signets during the Middle Ages.

The sheaf of wheat on the 2 Kroner and corn on the 20 Kroner represent the agrarian nature of Danish society and Denmark’s agricultural exports. While other European nations were fueling the industrial revolution of the 19th Century, Denmark was leading the way in the agricultural revolution. Universal education and other political reforms of the late 18th to middle 19th Century eventually lead to new agricultural technologies, innovations, and co-ops.

It is at this point that the allegories of the 2 Kroner and the 20 Kroner become dissimilar and take on different meanings. Dania, as illustrated on the 20 Kroner is seen holding a scepter in her right hand signifying Danish sovereignty. At her feet is a dolphin, the dolphin is an ancient omen of good luck and fair weather symbolizing Danish naval prowess. Since this coin was meant for circulation outside of Denmark, the allegory of the coin was directed towards foreigners.

The 40th anniversary of reign 2 Kroner, however, was meant to remind Danish citizens of the benefits of living in Denmark under the reign of Christian IX. The legend on the reverse delimited by flowers and translated, “With God for Honor and Justice” reveals the true intent of this coin and defines the allegory.

Rather than holding a scepter as on the 20 Kroner, Dania is extending her right arm. Extending the arm, especially for someone in authority can signify power and leadership. A person may also extend their arm to give someone directions or to show them the way. It can also signify things like acceptance, welcome, vulnerability, transparency, and compassion. Seizing upon these definitions, I believe the purpose of this allegory was to remind the people of the benevolence of their government. Interestingly, it was during the reign of Christian IX that the following social programs were introduced:
• 1891—Old age pension law: means-tested pensions for persons 60 years or older, financed by the state and communes through general taxation.
• 1892—Sickness insurance law: public subsidies to recognized voluntary insurance funds.
• 1898—Employers’ liability act: in order to ensure workers compensation in case of industrial accidents. (THE DEVELOPMENTAL WELFARE STATE IN SCANDINAVIA: LESSONS FOR THE DEVELOPING WORLD, STEIN KUHNLE AND SVEN E.O. HORT)

Tensions between Denmark and Germany were high when Christian IX ascended to the throne in November of 1863. Consequently, Denmark found themselves at war with Prussia and Austria in 1864 over the disputed duchies of Schleswig-Holstein. After about eight months, Denmark was soundly defeated. The bitterness of this war caused a shift in national priorities from colonialism to domestic development. The effect of this shift brought peace and prosperity to Denmark, hence the dove as the international symbol of peace on the 40th anniversary of reign 2 Kroner.
Slot: Europe
Origin/Country: SWITZERLAND CONFEDERATION
Design Description:
Item Description: S50F 1984 Zurich - Oberhasli Hab-24a
Grade: NGC MS 67
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
Helvetia
Slot: Europe
Origin/Country: AUSTRIA - EMPIRE PART 2
Design Description:
Item Description: 2FL 1879 SILVER WEDDING ANNIV.
Grade: NGC MS 63
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
Gary’s Coin of the Month (Volume 3, Number 2) features a coin commemorating the 25th wedding anniversary of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and Elizabeth of Bavaria. The obverse of this coin portrays an image of their conjoined busts and the reverse features a seated image of the goddess Fortuna. This coin (KM#X5) grading MS-63 by NGC resides in my newest custom set entitled, “The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics.”

In 1879, the Austro-Hungarian Empire issued a 2 gulden commemorative coin to celebrate the 25th wedding anniversary of Franz Joseph I of Austria to Elizabeth of Bavaria. Equivalent to 2 Austrian Florins or 2 Hungarian Forints, the coin is 36mm in diameter and weighs 24.69 grams. It has a silver fineness of .900 and an ASW of .7144 oz. Minted in Vienna, Austria, this coin has a mintage of 275,000.

The central device on the obverse of this coin are the conjoined heads of Franz Joseph I wearing a laureate crown signifying honor and Elizabeth wearing a diadem signifying royal power or dignity. The obverse legend translated into English is “Franz-Jozef by the grace of God emperor of Austria and Apostolic king of Hungary, Elisabeth empress and queen.” Inscribed on this coins edge is its denomination at 2 Gulden/2 Forint.

The central device on the reverse of this coin is Fortuna, the Roman goddess of chance or lot. Fortuna appears seated on an ottoman representing the oracular seat from where she steers the destinies of men as signified by the rudder in her right hand. Cradled in Fortuna’s left arm is a cornucopia representing abundance. Fortuna, as portrayed on this coin is regarded as the bearer of good fortune, fertility and abundance. The reverse legend translated from Latin into English is “Fifth period of five years of the marriage ceremony 24th of April 1879.”

Unfortunately, for Franz Joseph and Elisabeth history records quite a different destiny for this couple than what the coin suggests. One could even make the argument that due to their vastly differing personalities, they should not have married in the first place. Nevertheless, they were married anyway on April 24, 1854.

Now Franz Joseph had a lackluster personality and was devoted to the formality and tradition of the Hapsburg royal court. Conversely, Elizabeth was more of a free spirit, and abhorred the obligations that came along with being an empress. Consequently, even though Franz Joseph loved his wife dearly, Elizabeth did not respond with the same affection.

Elizabeth nicknamed “Sisi” by her family and friends felt emotionally constricted by the formality of the Hapsburg court. Consequently, I believe that the stressful expectations placed on her led to her obsession with beauty and various other health issues including anorexia.

In Elizabeth’s defense, Franz Joseph’s mother princess Sophie was very domineering towards her son and against their marriage. Additionally, Sophie had not allowed Elizabeth to raise her own children and separated them from her at birth. Though hated by her subjects in Austria, Elizabeth was loved by the people of Hungary. Consequently, I believe that Elizabeth’s love for Hungary and her influence on her husband were contributing factors in the Austro-Hungarian compromise of 1869. This agreement gave Hungary a certain degree of autonomy and made Elizabeth and her husband the king and queen of Hungary.

Franz Joseph over the tenure of his reign presided over the gradual eroding of the Austrian Empire by other peoples from within the empire seeking their own autonomy and independence. Furthermore, Franz Joseph’s mother, princess Sophie, exercised undue influence over Franz Joseph until her death in 1872. The effect of that influence placed a wedge in the relationship between Franz Joseph and Elizabeth. Later, somewhat estranged from each other, circumstantial evidence led to persisting rumors that they were both involved in extra-marital affairs.

Tragedy was an ever-present reality in the lives of Franz Joseph and Elizabeth. This started with the death of their first-born child Sophie at the age of two in 1857. The murder-suicide of Franz Joseph and Elizabeth's only son Crown Prince Rudolf and his lover followed in 1889. The Mayerling incident named after the hunting lodge where the murder-suicide occurred was personally devastating to both Franz Joseph and Elizabeth. This incident also destabilized the empire as the lineage to the throne passed to the son of Franz Joseph’s brother, archduke Franz Ferdinand.

In 1853 Franz Joseph survived an assassination attempt on his life. However, Elizabeth was not quite as fortunate as an Italian anarchist assassinated her in Geneva, Switzerland in 1898. In 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo and shortly thereafter Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia thus igniting a chain of events that erupted into World War 1.

In summary, I wish to make two closing points. First is that I find it fascinating the degree to which this dysfunctional family directly affected the history of the world, including the number of people who have died in World War 1. My next point relates to Fortuna and one of two possibilities, she either is capricious in the way she directs destinies OR she is no god at all. I choose to believe the latter. Until next month, Happy collecting!
Gary
Slot: Europe
Origin/Country: AUSTRIA - EMPIRE PART 2
Design Description:
Item Description: 100C 1908 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF REIGN
Grade: NGC AU Details
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
This coin is widely considered as one of the most beautiful coins in the world. The obverse features a bust of Emperor Franz Joseph 1st and commemorates the 60th anniversary of his reign over the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The reverse design often referred to as “The Lady in the Clouds” is a representation of Klymene, the Titan goddess of “Fame."

This NCS/NGC AU details, 1908 100 Corona gold coin with the Krause Publications catalog number of KM# 2812 is 37mm in diameter and weighs 33.8753 grams. The metallic composition of this coin is .9000 gold at .9803 Oz AGW. The designer of this coin is Rudolf Marschall, and the mintage is 16,000. I bought this coin from an E-Bay seller in Germany.

The Latin inscription on the obverse of this coin around the perimeter is translated “Franz Joseph by the grace of God, Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, Galicia, Illyria, etc. and elected king of Hungary.” The central device on the coin’s obverse is a right facing bust of Emperor Franz Joseph 1. Additionally, there is Latin phrase in incuse lettering around the plain edge of this coin. That phrase, “VIRIBVS VNITIS” is the emperor’s personal motto and is translated “With United Forces."

On December 2, 1848, Franz Joseph 1 became Emperor of Austria succeeding his uncle Ferdinand 1. This began a reign that would last nearly 68 years until his death on November 21, 1916. Throughout his reign, various nationalists disputed the reign of Franz Joseph. One such dispute led to the Austro-Hungarian compromise of 1867, uniting the empire under one king but ceding certain rights and autonomy to Hungary. Then in 1908 (the year that my coin was minted), Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina and consequently, on June 28, 1914, Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Shortly thereafter, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia thus triggering several opposing alliances to usher in the beginning of World War 1. Franz Joseph’s grandnephew Charles 1 succeeded him on the throne at his death in 1916, and became the final emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The monarchy dissolved following World War 1 on November 12, 1918.

The reverse inscriptions on this coin display the coin's face value of “100 Cor.” along with the dates 1848 and 1908. The Latin phrase “DVODECIM LVSTRIS GLORIOSE PERACTIS” appears on the lower-center of the reverse and is translated “60 years gloriously accomplished." The central device on the reverse is an image of Klymene, the Titan goddess of “Fame." Klymene appears at rest, reclining in the clouds and leaning on a shield displaying the coat of arms of the Austrian Empire. In her right hand is laurel wreath symbolizing victory, achievement, prosperity, status, and of course fame. In the field around and behind Klymene are rays of sunlight. A heavenly or celestial setting accentuates the “glorious reign” theme of this coin.

Klymene is the Titan goddess of fame, renown, and infamy. Kymene was married to the Titan god Iapetos and two of her better-known offspring are Prometheus and Atlas. Another name Klymene is known by is Asia and as such she was the goddess of Asia-Minor. Klymene was also the handmaiden of Hera, the wife of Zeus. At “The Judgment of Paris” Hera probably offered Paris of Troy the “fame” of rulership in return for Paris awarding her the “golden apple.” Subsequently, Paris awarded the golden apple to Aphrodite in exchange for the hand of Helene in marriage. The abduction of Helene led to the Trojan War and the rest as they say is mythology.

The coat of arms on the shield portrays a crowned double-headed eagle underneath a single crown. In the left talon of the eagle is a cross-bearing orb and in its right talon, a scepter and a sword. These items represent the church and state respectively. The crowned double-headed eagle underneath the single crown represents that Emperor Franz Joseph 1 has authority over both church and state. The crest on the eagle’s breast represents the “House of Habsburg-Lorraine” of which Franz Joseph is a family member.
Slot: Europe
Origin/Country: GREECE
Design Description:
Item Description: 20D 1973 KINGDOM NARROW RIM
Grade: NGC MS 66
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
20D 1973 KINGDOM KM-111.1:

The obverse of this 20-drachmai coin from Greece features Selene, the titan goddess of the moon riding side saddled on a horse over the night ocean. Even though Selene appears seated on a horse, in antiquity she is often portrayed as driving a chariot pulled by a pair of winged steeds. The next paragraph is a verse of a hymn written about her:

And next, sweet voiced Muses, daughters of Zeus, well- skilled in song, tell of the long-winged Moon. From her immortal head a radiance is shown from heaven and embraces earth; and great is the beauty that ariseth from her shining light. The air, unlit before, glows with the light of her golden crown, and her rays beam clear, whensoever bright Selene having bathed her lovely body in the waters of Ocean, and donned her far-gleaming, shining team, drives on her long-maned horses at full speed, at eventime in the mid-month: then her great orbit is full and then her beams shine brightest as she increases. So she is a sure token and a sign to mortal men.

The central device on the reverse of this coin is the emblem of the junta and features a soldier with a bayoneted rifle slung over his right shoulder standing at attention in front of a Phoenix. The date 21 April 1967 is the date of the Greek Coup d’état led by a group of high-ranking army officers.
Slot: Europe
Origin/Country: GREECE
Design Description:
Item Description: 2E 2002
Grade: NGC MS 66
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
2E 2002:

In 2002, Greece released a 2-Euro coin featuring Europa, the personification of Europe based on the mythological fable of “The Abduction of Europa”. The reverse of the coin highlights the member nations of the European Union in the form of a map. Each of the member nations of the European Union including Greece mints their own coins.

As the myth goes, Europa was a beautiful Phoenician woman of high social status. Her lineage descends from the nymph Io who herself was seduced by Zeus. Due to the jealousy of Zeus’s wife Hera, Zeus transforms Io into a heifer to protect her from Hera. Now impassioned with desire for Europa, Zeus changes himself into a white bull and mingles in with the herd of Europa’s father. One day while gathering flowers, Europa encounters the white bull and is herself charmed. Gradually enticed, Europa finally climbs up on the bulls back. Seizing the opportunity to abduct Europa, the white bull leaps into the sea and swims to the island of Create with Europa seated on his back.

Later the Romans adapted this story to their chief god Jupiter and the following paragraph is their version of the “Abduction of Europa” written by the Roman poet Ovid (43 BC to AD 17 or 18):

And gradually she lost her fear, and he
Offered his breast for her virgin caresses,
His horns for her to wind with chains of flowers
Until the princess dared to mount his back
Her pet bull's back, unwitting whom she rode.
Then—slowly, slowly down the broad, dry beach—
First in the shallow waves the great god set
His spurious hooves, then sauntered further out
'til in the open sea he bore his prize
Fear filled her heart as, gazing back, she saw
The fast receding sands. Her right hand grasped
A horn, the other lent upon his back
Her fluttering tunic floated in the breeze.

Interestingly, “The Abduction of Europa” is also written in the stars as the constellation Taurus. Furthermore, both Io and Europa have a moon named after them orbiting the planet Jupiter. The picture of Europa that accompanies my coin features Europa’s namesake moon in the sky above her.

This coin came to me as a gift from The BRG Collection, many thanks.
Gary
Slot: Europe
Origin/Country: ITALY
Design Description:
Item Description: LIRA 1922R
Grade: NGC MS 64
Research: View Coin
Owner Comments
1922R LIRA:

The obverse of this coin features the goddess Roma sitting on a plinth. In Roma’s left hand is an image of the goddess Nike standing on a small globe. In Romas right hand is an olive branch signifying peace. Interestingly, there are those who suggest that the identity of the seated image on the obverse of the 1922 lira is Italia. However, the presence of Nike the winged goddess of victory seems to imply that the image on the coins obverse is Roma.

To prove my point, the coin pictured as the reverse is an ancient coin featuring the goddess Roma holding Victory. On coinage featuring Roma, Roma is typically illustrated holding Victory. The use of Roma in 1922 rather than Italia then seems to suggest a victory reminiscent of the glory of the old Roman Empire.

Thus, the interpretation of this coin signifies Italy’s role in the allied victory during World War I. The irony of this is that though victorious, the war was devastating to Italy. This led to civil unrest and the March on Rome in 1922 resulting in the rise to power of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini as Italy’s prime minister. Coincidently or not, the first year of this coins issuance is 1922.

The reverse of this coin features the Savoy Arms of Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy encircled within a wreath. The coins denomination to the right of the arms is translated, Good for 1 Lira.
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