Author Topic: Augsburg Coinage 1521-1805  (Read 66 times)

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Offline chrisild

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Augsburg Coinage 1521-1805
« on: May 19, 2021, 11:39:03 PM »
Five hundred years ago, on 21 May 1521, the Free City of Augsburg was granted the right to mint and issue coins. A new book about the Augsburg coins from 1521 until 1805 (when Bavaria annexed the city) has just been "featured" at the local Maximilian Museum. The author Anton Vetterle could not present it to a big audience, due to the pandemic regulations – instead you can see a few short videos and some additional info (in German) online here.

Many of the 770 known Augsburg coin types are in the museum's collection, and the website shows some of them. Go here, and scroll down a little. :)


Offline Figleaf

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Re: Augsburg Coinage 1521-1805
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2021, 10:12:17 AM »
This goes against the tendency of museums to show less and less numismatic material, making it all the more welcome. I also like how the museum uses two merchant's palaces as housing, preserving the buildings and creating a focal point for the historically interested.

What I haven't seen in the documentation is the role Augsburg played in 16th and 17th international finance - which, incidentally, explains why a relatively modest town could issue its own coins.

The Habsburgs had to deal with a rebellion over taxes and religion in what they called their Burgundian inheritance. To suppress it, they raised an army of hirelings, mostly from Germany and Wallonia to serve under Spanish officers. It was vital that the hired soldiers be paid on time. The Spanish Habsburgs received a large flow of badly struck silver coins from places such as Lima, Potosí and Mexico City, either transported across the Andes by mule, shipped to Cuba in small portions and from there to Granada or shipped to Acapulco, from there with the Manilla galleon (built to be used once) to the Philippines and from there to Granada or other mint cities. Sometimes, the coins were re-minted, often they were not.

Getting the money to pay the soldiers in the low countries was a challenge, because France was in the way and the North Sea was unsafe. The silver had to shipped to friendly ports in what is now Italy, transported to Habsburg lands by mules crossing the Alps, ending up in Augsburg. The city demanded taxes, sometimes re-melting and re-coining (against a fee, of course) and provided quick, efficient financial services the Spanish Habsburgs couldn't do without, because that would have offended the Austrian Habsburgs.

Historians estimate that getting silver from the mines in the Americas to the army in the Burgundian inheritance meant that some 50% of the capital was used on cost, fees and corruption. Augsburg was part of that.

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