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Medieval Gros Of Brittany—what's Up With Those Ermines?

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 Posted 02/16/2019  10:50 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I recently added some more ermines to my collection!

This is a Blanc from Brittany (Marlaix mint) from John V. It was minted between 1436 and 1442 AD and is attributed as Roberts 6132. on the rev, I really like the shield with the ermines. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than I am can weigh in, but my understanding is that the odd cut-out in the shield was for a lance. Is that correct?

Here is a link showing, among other things, the evolution of shield shape from the dark ages into medieval times. http://www.medievalwarfare.info/armour.htm







"If you climb a good tree, you get a push."
-----Ghanaian proverb

"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz
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 Posted 02/16/2019  11:24 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add austrokiwi to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:

Thanks guys. Ron, I got drawn into medieval coins when I started to assemble a OFEY collection (One From Every Year) after tiring of my US coin collection. The 1900s and 1800s are pretty easy, but starting with the 1700s, a few years take some patience. Not too many dealers out there selling coins of the 1500s. As you may have seen from our "How Far Back Can We Go" series threads, the 1400s are really tough. I'm not sure anyone, Levinson included, has a date run covering the entire 15th Century. Obviously @Pepactonius can correct me, but in looking at his posts, it looks to me like he has done something similar with his collection.


The quoted post confused me. More than likely the confusion is due to my, perhaps, unique perspective/approach. I am not a thematic collector... the heart of my collection is the 1780 Maria Theresa thaler series( original and restrike) To understand the coin I started to dig and often looked to economic historians for information. This is where my confusion comes from. the middle ages has no clear end point. I would argue the fourth crusade could be regarded as the end of the middle ages, more usually either 1453 ( fall of Constantinople) or 1492 Discovery of America are seen as the cut of points. Why I go for the unusual date of 1204/1205 is because that's when the Commercial revolution started to flower in Europe. The commercial revolution actually stared in the 11th century but is was in the 2nd half of the 12th and through the 13th that the commercial revolution shifted the economic centre of gravity back to Western Europe away from the Levant. The money we use today has its birth in the commercial revolution. For those who can't quite see what I am getting at: most coin collectors( that I meet) talk about the coins of the Rennaisance. My focus is different I am looking at the coins that created the Rennaisance( if you look at the coins I have recently posted you will see this more clearly) I take the perspective that money ( represented by the coins and bills of exchange, of the 13th and 14th centuries) created the Rennaisance.
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 Posted 02/16/2019  12:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am not sure there is consensus on naming eras of coinage. At least two auuction houses I frequent call European coinage before 1500 'medieval" and after that something else (but neither uses Renaissance). One of them calls everything after 1500 "modern". I can understand that an economic historian would see things differently, maybe an art historian still differently, and maybe someone most interested in minting technology would do it differently still.
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 Posted 02/16/2019  1:11 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Glad to have you weighing in with your thoughts @AK!

Also, a very good point @tdz--the line separating different time periods depends somewhat on the specific lens through which we are looking.
"If you climb a good tree, you get a push."
-----Ghanaian proverb

"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz
Edited by Spence
02/16/2019 1:12 pm
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 Posted 02/16/2019  1:43 pm  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very nice addition Dave, I have to see about getting some of these. It was not my intention to get into medieval French coinage but after my recent pickups I'm hooked now.

The debate about the date of the end of the middle ages has been going on for a number years now without any real answer. Some but it at 1500, others at the beginning of the Renaissance, while others as late as 1600. My personnel opinion is at the beginning of the Renaissance the age of enlightenment in art, writing, and science.
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 Posted 02/16/2019  5:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
my understanding is that the odd cut-out in the shield was for a lance.


That's really interesting. I don't think I;ve ever seen a shield/coat of arms on a coin shaped like that before. I always figured these heraldic devices were portrayed as they might appear as ornamention on a gate to the city (e.g. the seat of government for a duchy) etc., NOT as they would appear on a shield carried into battle.
Edited by tdziemia
02/16/2019 5:28 pm
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 Posted 11/27/2021  7:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add t360 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Blanc of Duke John V of Brittany, mintmark D (Dinan)


The legends agree well with the attached drawings of Roberts type 6131, except the coin has DVS instead of DVX on the reverse, and the crosses at 12 o'clock on both sides are somewhat different style than what are depicted.


Listing of John V Blanc types (from Roberts)
Edited by t360
11/27/2021 8:05 pm
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 Posted 11/27/2021  10:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Lovely patina, nice coin!
Yeah, those are definitely not crosses, nor do they appear to be stars (too asymmetric).
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 Posted 11/28/2021  04:42 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add t360 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm guessing that they are Maltese crosses, like this one.
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 Posted 11/28/2021  10:27 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Of course...shame on me for not figuring that out .

And that list of Brittany mints is a reminder of some of the tiny places that served as mints in earlier times. Nantes and Rennes I can understand, but Quimperle? (even Quimper would have made more sense).

I am aware of two other issuers who used an ermine (or similar creature) on their medieval/Renaissance coins (though it's the entire animal):
1. the Duchy of Urbino: https://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces80516.html
2. Slavonia: https://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces34611.html
Edited by tdziemia
11/28/2021 10:31 am
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 Posted 11/28/2021  11:41 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add t360 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Looking over my French coins, I discovered that this 1661 1/2 ecu minted in Rennes also shows both the ermine (Andre Bourgault, Mint Director's mark) and the croix fourchee (spiked Maltese cross, Engraver Denis Mathias' mark).
.

Somewhat later, Martial Menisser, Mint Director at Rennes (1666-1672) used the ermine mark,



and at the Nantes mint in Brittany, the ermine mark was also used from time to time.



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 Posted 11/28/2021  7:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add t360 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ermine mint mark on Elizabeth I sixpence of 1572 at 1 o'clock on both obverse and reverse.
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 Posted 11/28/2021  9:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Tons of great ermines @t360. Thx for the additions to this thread!
"If you climb a good tree, you get a push."
-----Ghanaian proverb

"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz
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 Posted 11/29/2021  6:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add t360 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
1526-44 Henry VIII Groat (4d), with ermine mink marks at 1 o'clock on the reverse and obscured somewhat by the weak strike at 12 o'clock on the obverse.



I'm Henry the eighth I am
Henry the eighth I am, I am
I got married to the widow next door
She's been married seven times before
And every one was an Henry (Henry)
She wouldn't have a Willy or a Sam (no Sam)
I'm her eighth old man, I'm Henry
Henry the eighth I am
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 Posted 12/26/2021  7:00 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add t360 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
1757 Louis XV French ecu, mint mark 9 (Rennes)
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