Last week we reported on two high-profile coin burglaries. Coin thieves were harshly dealt with in 1700s Germany, as shown by a Bookophile blog article published this
Bookophile is a project of the Zurich MoneyMuseum in cooperation with CoinsWeekly, featuring information on the history of and the market in books printed mainly
between 1500 and 1800. The stories are a great source for the history of ideas, mind and everyday life in that period.
Here's an excerpt from the article by CoinsWeekly editor Ursula Kampmann. -Editor
The theft would have gone unnoticed if the court locksmith would not have tried to sell one of the gold coins to a gold smith. The smith was surprised to see the rare
piece. He contacted La Croze and the latter made sure that Stieff was arrested immediately. As it was common back then, the suspect was tortured so that he would confess the
crime. However, Stieff continued to maintain that he found the coin.
At this point, his accomplice lost his cool. He claimed in writing that there had been a robbery at the royal coin cabinet. Stieff only picked up one of the coins that had been
dropped by the robbers. This seemed strange to the authorities. Runck was arrested and he confessed the crime while being tortured.
The entire population of Berlin was watching when the punishment of the thieves took place. Let us quote from the Chronicles of Berlin, Potsdam and Charlottenburg published
in 1843: "Both were sentenced to be pinched with burning irons at all crossroads on the way to the place of execution, and then to be broken on the wheel alive. The execution …
took place on 8 June 1718. The castellan, who had been the actual instigator of the crime, was carted through the town on a tumbrel and pinched with burning irons while the
locksmith went on foot in front of the vehicle. The delinquents' wives followed the cart and had to witness the execution of their husbands. First, the locksmith was punished in
the way his sentence demanded it, then, the same happened to the castellan; subsequently, both women were beaten up with a rod and sent to the prison in Spandau whereas the
children were taken to the orphanage and only 3,000 talers of the considerable fortune of both men was deposited for their maintenance."
Be sure to read the complete article and learn why the spectators at the time thought the harsh punishment to be fair and just.
Bookophile is published online every two weeks on Wednesday. To subscribe to the English version, see:
https://bookophile.com/newsletter/?lang=en . -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
Crime and Punishment (https://bookophile.com/crime-and-punishment/?lang=en)
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NUMISMATIC BURGLARIES: BRESSETT, TOULEMONDE (https://www.coinbooks.org/v22/esylum_v22n45a09.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2012 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster