Author Topic: Antwerp tax token?  (Read 164 times)

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Offline Henk

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Antwerp tax token?
« on: July 02, 2020, 08:57:11 PM »
The follow token, from Antwerp in Belgium, puzzles me:

Round, 20 mm Brass. Hole at top, broken out
Obv: STAD ANTWERPEN stamped number, 7 (stamped) WIJK
Rev: blank

Probably a receipt of tax paid. Not a dog token I think, it is rather small, does not depict a dog and also has no year of issue. Because of the rather large number and the number of Wijk(en) (=District) in a large city as Antwerp there should have been many issued. However I could not find another example.

Your help will be appreciated!

Online Figleaf

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Re: Antwerp tax token?
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2020, 07:32:55 AM »
Obviously a means of identification of an individual city employee. My guess would be a fire brigade identification medal. These are common in the Netherlands, but not in Belgium. Another possibility is a city policeman's identification. I also would have expected to find more specimen of this medal Googling around, but I found nothing. As the medal is in Dutch, it is modern, probably early 20th century.

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

Offline brandm24

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Re: Antwerp tax token?
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2020, 11:32:53 AM »
Sorry, I don't know anything about this tag, but was curious about the symbolism. The building or structure within the center ring with two raised open hands interests me. Is that a city motto or emblem maybe?

 Also, the condition of the hole shows the piece was worn or suspended somewhere for some time. The heavy abuse indicates it was roughly used. It reminds me of similar conditions I've seen on early military identification discs.  Sounds about right for a fire or police badge.

Bruce
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Offline Henk

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Re: Antwerp tax token?
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2020, 12:04:18 PM »
The castle with the two hands is the arms of the city of Antwerp. I copied a picture of these from Wikipedia.

I do not think it is a police or fire brigade badge because of its small size (only 20 mm)

Offline brandm24

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Re: Antwerp tax token?
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2020, 12:34:04 PM »
Thanks, Henk. I also looked but couldn't find other examples.

Bruce
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Online Figleaf

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Re: Antwerp tax token?
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2020, 01:32:35 PM »
Two towers and a gate or three towers with a wall is a common heraldic symbol for a walled city.

The hands are an allusion to the legend explaining the name of the city. A cruel giant, Druon Antigoon, controlled access to the river Schelde. He would invite captains into his castle to spend the night. The promise of a hot meal and a comfortable bed convinced many a boat man to accept the invitation. The giant would take short people to a bedroom with a long bed and stretch them, a rather unpleasant way of medieval torture. Long people would be taken to a room with a short bed and the giant would cut their feet off so they'd fit into the bed.

A Roman soldier, Silvius Brabo, took it upon himself to solve the problem. He mixed a sleeping potion into the giant's food, killed him in his sleep and threw his hands in the river as revenge for the feet the giants had dismounted. In Dutch, the combination of to throw (werpen) and hand (hand) sounds like Antwerpen.

There are many variants on the above. The legend may well reflect the story of some nobleman who had instituted a river toll. When that practice was ended one way or the other, names and circumstances were changed so as not to offend the family of the nobleman.

The Antwerp mint used a hand as its mint mark. On worn coins, the small mint mark is hard to distinguish from the St Michael's head of Brussels. Perhaps this is why the thumb is always standing out, making the mark a-symmetric, while the Brussels mint mark is symmetric.

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

Offline Henk

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Re: Antwerp tax token?
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2020, 08:55:15 PM »
I sent an email to the collectors club "Numismatica Antverpia" about this token. I received a reply that this is a dog token. In addition John Kooy pointed me to the EGMP yearbook for 1988 which has an article about Belgian dog tokens (in Dutch). https://www.egmp-vzw.be/Pdf/jaarboeken/1983%20-%201989/JEGMP_1988_4.pdf. A token like mine is described and illustrated (unfortunately not very clear) in this article.

These tokens were used in Antwerp during the years 1891 to 1926. These were dog identification tags that exist in two sizes. Small, as this one for ordinary dogs and large for working dogs. The tag had to be attached to the dog collar and dogs without a tag were captured and, when not claimed, destroyed. If the tag was lost a new one had to be bought for a small amount. The tag has no date as it stayed with the dog. It could even be transfered to anoher dog. There was no dog tax during these years. A dog tax, with dated dog tags, was introduced in Antwerp in 1950. 
« Last Edit: July 10, 2020, 09:59:43 AM by Henk »