Author Topic: European City Gate Tokens  (Read 1004 times)

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Offline Kushi

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European City Gate Tokens
« on: July 11, 2014, 02:25:46 PM »
From the sixteenth up till the early nineteenth century many cities of central Europe required a payment to pass the gates and enter the city. Not a few tokens were issued for this purpose. It's a fascinating field, but little is known. Here is an unusual shaped copper 1585 gate token from Prague. I have a listing of 24 different gate tokens from Prague dated 1585 to 1766. Remarkable. Photo: Olding.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: European City Gate Tokens
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2014, 10:38:06 PM »
Highly interesting, Kushi! Thanks for posting this great stuff.

The text signum concessae libertatis means symbol of liberty.

I am wondering how these were used. Paradoxically, the best proof of liberty is the ability to raise taxes. Would the text on the reverse perhaps point at taxes? The tokens look to expensive not to be re-used. I could imagine a market tax on good taken into the city. The token would be proof of payment and would have to be surrendered on leaving the city.

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

Offline Kushi

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Re: European City Gate Tokens
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2014, 11:24:48 PM »
F.J. Bingen, "Gate Tokens of Prague, Czechoslovakia (Prager Sperrzeichen)" in The Fare Box, March, 1969.

From their communications we learn that Prague issued tokens for the normal use
as in other cities at that time : when one would enter the city, when the gates were
closed, one had to pay a certain amount of money or a token . Besides that, Prague
issued tokens for an entirely different purpose . The magistrate of Prague already in
1503 issued a decree that all the corn had to be sold and bought on the cornmarket in
this city . Farmers who entered the town with a cart with corn had to ask for a token
on the market where they sold their goods . Otherwise they could not leave the city.
Likewise everyone who purchased corn in the cornmarket could not leave the city without
a token secured at the market where he had bought his corn.

Offline Kushi

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Re: European City Gate Tokens
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2014, 12:01:17 AM »
Almost 150 years later they were still using toll tokens. Here is an example from 1733. Known reverse Roman numerals are I, III, VII and XVII. One theory is that these are the city gate numbers. Photo: detektorweb.

Offline malj1

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Re: European City Gate Tokens
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2014, 04:29:04 AM »
Known reverse Roman numerals are I, III, VII and XVII. One theory is that these are the city gate numbers. Photo: detektorweb.

There were originally 13 city gates in Prague so the last number XVII [17] appears unlikely in this context.
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.