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Author Topic: Joseph II coinage  (Read 2080 times)

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Offline natko

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Joseph II coinage
« on: April 29, 2014, 05:51:15 PM »
Dear friends,

I've been working on this project for several weeks now, involving circulation coins of emperor Joseph II of Habsburg.

Coins of his successors have been very systematically presented in catalogs, including SCWC which clearly divides types. In Joseph II coinage it's also helpful, even more than national catalogs, but since I have found several major inscription varieties I felt need to dig up deeper to see what was exactly minted when and where. I was astonished with number of real types that I found, for instance attached picture represents just 3 types of reverse, which are not made distinct in SCWC.

Joseph's coinage is not nearly as diffuse as it was before his time, equipment was more modern and uniformity has been obeyed, however it seems that some mints did really have more freedom to construct legends.

Of course then I extended my search into 10 kreuzer and lower similar denominations which are much scarcer so likely more varieties exist. Finally, I included high end silvers and coppers where I have found almost no surprises. I did not consider stylistic differences like hair, even sizes of ornaments or variations in legend placings as it would be considered in strict modern coinage disctinction. I'm only interested in real, big types (and subtypes with variations in inscription principles, I denoted them with a,b,c... after number) that should be separated for instance in SCWC or any type catalog.

I concluded that all the catalogs actually have no clue about scarcities when prices are uniform, but auction prices often reflect it. Interestingly how many seemingly easy pieces I couldn't find even mentioned anywhere. I did my best to search all of the internet using keywords in many languages and sweeping through various auction and sell sites to see pictures. Also, it was interested to see how sometimes the same mint produced even 3 types of the same denomination in the very same year.

Below is a list made in excel with types explained through inscriptions. All the coins I managed to see clearly in black, while those missing are highlighted in red. For some coins you'll see the table - it's straightforward - missing cells are unseen coins. I assume at least few does not exist and I have found some really common that do actually exist. Denominations or groups are in different sheets (tabs) at the bottom.

It's open for editing, so if you have some coins I miss info on, feel free to add it according to the style, but please write a comment with the reference to avoid confusion later. Please, be careful with spelling, after many pieces eyes get tired and you can easily miss the type. Please also provide info for clearly visible coins only to avoid confusions (There are two examples when I was not sure so ? is there)

When the list is done, or nearly done I will compile a neat, more tidy catalog which fits needs of the modern collector and lists issues for each type, paired with pictures from my own collection or various auction sites. No need to say, it will a pdf of course free to download to everyone!

Biggest problem, that would also cut this already done work to a few days only is that I didn't check probably the most detailed catalog of Austrian coins - Herinek. I would definitely like to own that catalog but if found it costs triple-digit number in euros. If somebody owns a catalog I would appreciate the help with filling out gaps.

Excel-style google spreadsheet

At last, I'll just add I hope this will be done, but with our joint force and knowledge :)

Offline Levantiner

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Re: Joseph II coinage
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2014, 07:59:09 AM »
Interesting project:  I have a hypothesis for you to consider:

The hypothesis is that it is die life that is causing the relative frequencies of variations that you are seeing. I know at the end of the 18th century/Early 19th,  with Boulton's introduction of new die steel,  a die was good for a maximum of maybe 50,000 coins before it needed replacing. Before that, die life was even shorter, couple this with hand engraved dies/tooling, and  it is likely you will see a larger number of varieties with coins that have the highest  demand for die replacement. I would anticipate this high demand  for dies would be with  the  low denomination coins.  Of course the fact that the smaller sized dies would be considerably more demanding of an engravers skills could also play a role
« Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 08:41:39 AM by Levantiner »

Online Figleaf

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Re: Joseph II coinage
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2014, 04:03:36 PM »
More info on that. What I see most often on the coins of the Southern Netherlands (part of the Spanish Habsburg empire) is that engravers would start a circular legend without having an accurate idea of how many letters could be placed on the edge at the letter size they were using. The experienced engravers would leave out letters after about half were done. Others would panic towards the end and cut titles very short.

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

Offline natko

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Re: Joseph II coinage
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2014, 08:32:03 PM »
I didn't analyze die differences, don't have patience for that although it would be really interesting, too, for another project. We're speaking of not just these minute varieties but in most cases really big differences, totally different portraits in combination with of course different inscriptions. I am rather sure all these differences were intentional. Maybe some of these like MHD/MDH were errors corrected later, but just take a look how few varieties there were when he was ruling with his mother, while after 1780 really lot of them emerged. Also, all of these coins show awesome artistic virtues and they're made to minute details.

I would feel free to say they were the best made coins of that time in the World. Even German coins with exception of Bavaria weren't close. I didn't know about the novelties in die making back then, that explains improvement of Austrian coins in 1750s.


Offline Levantiner

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Re: Joseph II coinage
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2014, 09:57:48 PM »
At that time  they had a very efficient system of training engravers.  Out of interest  have you noticed whether the Karlsburg mint coins are of lesser quality.  in the last decade of the 18th century the Karlsburg Engraver was known to be the worst in the Austrian Habsburg realm.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 10:24:35 PM by Levantiner »

Offline natko

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Re: Joseph II coinage
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2014, 10:39:52 AM »
True. I also noticed this mint (E) copied the changing of types from Vienna most precisely of all. So it might be even possible they were getting some dies from there directly, the head "without lion" for instance.

Interestingly, no matter how Gunzburg thalers were superior in Maria Theresa times, small denominations like 3 kreuzer from Joseph II were also quite poorly made with clumsy inscriptions and way too shallow portrait.

Online Figleaf

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Re: Joseph II coinage
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2014, 11:40:02 AM »
Don't know how it was in the Habsburg mints, but in English mints, lesser engravers would normally handle smaller denomination coins. Chief engravers would do high denominations and medals.

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

Offline Levantiner

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Re: Joseph II coinage
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2014, 10:30:32 PM »


Interestingly, no matter how Gunzburg thalers were superior in Maria Theresa times, small denominations like 3 kreuzer from Joseph II were also quite poorly made with clumsy inscriptions and way too shallow portrait.

Actually, from my observations,  the Guenzburg Thalers (maria theresa type)  are of lower quality than the Vienna mint examples. The obverse particularly is quite 2 dimensional when compared to the Vienna Thalers, Especially in the years 1773-1780 and then in the restrikes from 1781-1793.  The quality improves when Vienna started sending  Matrices( I believe Americans call these hubs) and punches  to Guenzburg.

Offline natko

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Re: Joseph II coinage
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2014, 01:01:34 AM »
edit: sheet is quite outdated now. Thanks to all who helped!

It's still far from done, I especially miss identification/confirmation for copper types. I have no clue where some belong. List is opened for editing, so if you find something not listed there. I need info for coins in red and of course blank cells in tables.

Nobody's got Herinek cat.? A help, hint, or a copy for Joseph II would help me get the job done and we all would have a neat, modern and systematic catalog.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2014, 01:10:33 PM by natko »

Online Figleaf

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Re: Joseph II coinage
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2014, 04:19:22 PM »
If you are looking for this book:

Herinek, L. ÖSTERREICHISCHE MÜNZPRÄGUNGEN FERDINAND II UND III ALS ERZHERZOG UND KAISER VON 1592-1657. 1984 ed., cloth, 24 x 17 cm., 666 pages, some 3100 coins illustrated. €57,65

You can buy it here. I know the dealer. He's good.

If it is this book you are after:

Herinek Münzkatalog Österreichische Münzprägungen 1657-1740

You can buy it here. Others offer it also.

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

Offline natko

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Re: Joseph II coinage
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2014, 05:06:13 PM »
It's the third one, after 1740. muenzhandel.at got it, although not sure about the version. Couldn't find it anywhere below ~110 euros, hoping sometimes it will pop up on ebay, but at 55 euros I will surely consider buying it until I get the salary, along with second volume, from Leopold to 1740. I need to see do they accept paypal though. Thanks for pointing them out!

Just thought to get a hand with the problem if somebody's got the literature.

Offline natko

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Re: Joseph II coinage
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2014, 01:09:01 PM »
I finally bought the books when I went to Vienna myself few weeks ago since they didn't reply on emails. It helped me figure out some gaps in my research, but so much things still remain open. In the meantime I also learned searching various portals in few dozen languages but I'm now depending on waiting for new auctions for new things to show up.

I would really appreciate if collectors of the area would check own collections (or some elusive literature) and provide photos especially on these HOTSPOTS:

Copper coins: 1/4 kr 1772W and 1781F, 1kr 1775S and 1779W(?)
3 Kr - 1777E, 1786B, 1783C, 1781E, '85-86E, '83-85F, 1785G
10 Kr - Mint B, any year 1765-1769(Virtute et exemplo), 1781C, 1782E, 1783G, 1788H(also other H are welcome for new types research)
For the 20K I have everything I need, but maybe 5 unseen coins exist:
20 Kr - 1782G (wide bust possibly exists -with lion head in veil), 1787F (possible lion head, also possible "HETR" inscription), 1787H (possible narrow bust), 1788E(possible open wreath)
1/2T - Madonna type 1782A, 1789B
1T - MAdonna type, 1785B, 1789A
1 Ducat - 1777A, 1780F, 1781-2 C, later date also welcome for new type research

That's all :)
Hope the paper will see the light of the internet, for the good of us all.

« Last Edit: February 09, 2017, 01:21:53 PM by natko »

Online Figleaf

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Re: Joseph II coinage
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2014, 01:55:32 AM »
Consider yourself encouraged.

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

Offline natko

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Re: Joseph II coinage
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2017, 01:22:54 PM »
I've updated post above on which dates I need info for some important conclusions about the types.