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V12 2009 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 14, April 5, 2009, Article 11

MORE ON COIN AND MEDAL LEGEND ABBREVIATIONS

Pete Smith submitted the following thoughts on the topic of coin and medal legend abbreviations. -Editor
My employer’s library includes a reference related to the recent E-Sylum discussion of a reference to interpret the legend on medals. The title page looks something like this:

NUMISMATISCHES
LEGENDEN – LEXICON
DES
MITTELALTERS UND DER NEUZEIT
VON
WILHELM RENTZMANN

ERSTER – THEIL
ALPHABETISCH – CHRONOLOGIISCHE TABELLEN DER MUNZHERREN
VERZEICHNISS DER AUF MUNZEN VORKEMMEN DEN HEILIGEN


This was originally published (in two parts) in 1865 and our copy was reprinted (in one part) in 1977. The first part is 192 pages, the second is 248 pages, followed by an additional 46 pages. From what I can figure, this includes the legends and abbreviations found on coins and the full text of those legends.

The first problem for me is that the text is in German. A second problem for users is that it was published in 1865 so modern coins are not included. The third problem is that this does not include the legends on medals.

An example of the abbreviated legend is D.G.S.D.E.S.A.B.G.O.T.A.E.P.G.E.I.M.N.D. L.E.B.S.R.I.E.C.A.R.A.M.M.T.D.L.P.E.G.G.B.A.” This is followed by about 42 words in German. Many of these legends include extensive titles of the rulers who issued the coins.

I do not suggest this answers the need of numismatists today. I will suggest that it might be a model for a researcher who wants to compile something similar for English readers. I like the idea of including such information on a website but the task is huge.

In the back of British Historical Medals 1760-1960 by Laurence Brown is an extensive list of medal legends in English. These entries are then linked back to the description of these medals. Such a reference is needed for all medals in all languages. While it would be good to provide a translation for foreign language legends, that might be little help if it were not also possible to identify the country of origin.

In some eras there are more different medals produced than different coins. I suspect that legends on medals often make creative use of language. There are words that appear to be Latin but not part of the traditional language. I believe the legends on most American medals are self-explanatory.

I find it curious that the work by Rentzmann was reprinted but not updated. Recent discussion in the E-Sylum shows the need for such a publication.

THE BOOK BAZARRE

DAVID F. FANNING NUMISMATIC LITERATURE will be conducting its second mail-bid auction, closing June 4. Highlights include: All three original French editions of Charpentier on the medals of Louis XIV (1702 folio with suppressed preface, 1702 quarto, 1723 folio). For more information, go to www.fanningbooks.com .





Wayne Homren, Editor

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