Author Topic: Mannheim gold washers on gold coins  (Read 162 times)

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Offline chrisild

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Mannheim gold washers on gold coins
« on: September 28, 2021, 10:58:22 PM »
In the current Künker auction you can buy various gold coins from Palatinate that feature ... gold. :)  The obverses show prince elector Carl Theodor; the reverses feature a city view of Mannheim (where C.T. resided before he moved to Munich) and several people washing gold.

The inscription on that side says "SIC FULGENT LITTORA RHENI" which means something like "This is how the banks of the Rhine shine". Gold was actually found in the river; not much though. It was washed out, then mercury was added in order to isolate the gold. So you see the gold washers on the banks of the Rhine river, with the elector's palace and a few other buildings in the background. See the embedded image below (larger version here).

The five pieces are here (German; the pages are also available in English and Russian):

The first one can also be seen in a video. Well, you only see two hands (with gloves) holding and turning the piece. ;)


Offline Figleaf

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Re: Mannheim gold washers on gold coins
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2021, 04:36:29 PM »
Interesting series. It's hard to understand how the gold got into the Rhine in the first place. Germany and Switzerland are not exactly bursting with gold veins. A by-product of copper mining, maybe? The two often occur together.

I believe the technique is called gold panning. I am not sure because it might be an American neologism, but the Wikipedia lemma linked to refers to panning by South American Indians and Romans and gold was found in Roman Britain, so maybe not.

Coins from panned gold are not a German monopoly. There are likely California gold pieces connected to panning. IIRC, the Japanese Koban coins were made with local gold. Panning existed in Japan, but I not sure if there is a connection between the Koban and panning, as Japan has plenty of old gold mines.

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