Wreaths and Sprays on Coins

Started by <k>, August 18, 2011, 10:48:44 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

<k>

My own collection of coins starts from 1912, so I am not greatly knowledgeable on anything before then. However, I have noticed from images of European coins that a design of a wreath, always tied with a bow at the bottom, was such a familiar design on coins of the 1800s that it became a cliché.  Here are some examples:






I wonder when this design theme was first used and by whom, as it was often copied thereafter. What is the earliest such design that the members know of?
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

chrisild

#1
Not sure what the earliest would be, but on some ancient Greek and Roman coins you will find wreaths. They usually have a meaning though. Attached is a didrachm from the Greek island of Ios, featuring Homer. 4th century BC.

Christian

<k>

So it goes back that far. In the 1800s there was a trend for neo-classicism, so the motif must have been purposely copied. Now, I wonder when they started being imitated - in the 1700s or 1800s...?
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

chrisild

#3
This is a coin issued by king Mithradates of Pontos (1st century BC) who was also called Dionysos after the god. So the wreath has "Dionysian" attributes.


Source: http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/greece/pontos/kings/mithradates_VI/DeCallatay_D17.jpg

Two examples from Rome. The (originally republican) oak wreath represents the Corona Civica, I think.
(Augustus) http://www.romanatic.com/search.html?eid=1&oid=20&rid=8
(Caligula) http://www.flickr.com/photos/julio-claudians/4296156425/

As for more recent coins, early 18th century France comes to mind. Here is an écu de six livres; those were first minted in 1725 or so.


After the French revolution, the oak wreath - in a sense of "anti-aristocracy" and republican values - became quite popular on coins.



Thus a modern civic crown maybe ...

Christian

<k>

Thanks for that, Christian - excellent research.  8)  So the French ones go back to 1789 at least - and that one you linked to still portrays the king, so we can't call it a revolutionary fashion.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Figleaf

I think your conclusions should be different for laurel (victory) and olive (peace) wreaths, both part of classical symbolism and oak (strength) wreaths, Germanic/Frankish in origin, but rather as a tree. Oak wreaths generally don't refer to a person, so they are better fit for a republic, while laurel and olive are often personal attributes.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

<k>

That's true, the plants are different, but all are presented in the same way, in that they follow the circle of the coin and are tied with a bow at the bottom.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#7
Here's a nice one from Belgium that includes vine leaves.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#8
Here's an unusual design from Lithuania that shows a wreath of tulips.



Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Another unusual plant on this 1925 design from Lithuania: rue.

Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#10
Here is a most beauteous floral wreath from New Brunswick.

New Brunswick (Canada), 1871, ½ cent.  The crown is Queen Victoria's.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#11
Some floral wreathes from Bulgaria.

Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#12
A rather fruity wreath from Romania.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#13
You might have expected that the Soviets would have chosen something radically different, but they kept the wreath and overburdened it with ugly ornamentation. But then communists never did have style.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#14
Early on, the USA got in on the act too. This is a half cent from 1794. I am not sure what the vegetation is. It's spread around the design rather more than usual.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.