In the December 2019 issue of The Mint Master from the Utah Numismatic Society, Doug Nyholm published this review of the Second Edition of The Early Dated Coins of
Europe, 1234-1500 by Robert A. Levinson. With permission, we're republishing it here. Thanks. -Editor
EARLY DATED COINS OF EUROPE 1234-1500 / 2ND EDITION
received the updated 2nd edition of this book which is now in full color. The first edition was published in 2007 and has become the benchmark for these coins. You may ask why a
second edition, aren't all of these early coins accounted for and known? The answer is no, this edition contains over 150 new pieces and there are now over 1250 known types
and subtypes listed for these early interesting coins. Additionally, there are over 500 updates and more than 200 new photographs.
I don't collect these early dated coins although at one time I did posses a 1499 dated coin. I have however always been interested in just how early the dating of coins
went. Have you ever come across that Scheckel dated 45 B.C.? That is a often heard joke regarding coins dated B.C. and of course that couldn't happen. According to Robert
Levinson's book the earliest dated coin is 1234, still quite old. The dating of early coins was quite sporadic however.
The book contains an 18-page introduction which made fascinating reading and was a mini-college course regarding early European coinage. The 1234 Roskilde bishopric denier from
Denmark holds the honor of being the first dated coin. Interestingly the next dated coin wouldn't appear for another 138 years and carry the date 1372. The idea that coins
should be dated was not widespread in Europe until the late 16 th century and didn't become widespread or somewhat universal until the early 19 th century. Many early coins
were identified not by exact date but generalized as to the reign of the King or ruler depicted on the coin.
As far as collecting these early dated coins especially
the early ones it becomes quiet a challenge, sometimes virtually impossible. The 1234 dated coin is known to the extant of 8 specimens all of except a single coin impounded in
museums. The 1374 Aachen groschen is effectively the first collectable dated coin as the 1372 coin or 1373 coin are all also in museums. For the next 50 years examples of the
Aachen coinage are available at times.
The date as it appears on these early coins is
also not what you think it is if you are referencing modern coinage and Arabic dates. Many times, the date would appear in Arabic, or Roman Numerals or even a combination of both.
Additionally, the date would sometimes be abbreviated from the standard four digits to 3, or 2 and even as a single digit. Also the numbers during the medieval times varied from
the way we wright them today.
Much more information if available in this book and if your interested I suggest that you acquire a copy for yourself. It is available directly from the Coin & Currency
Institute for $88.95. It is not an inexpensive book but it does have a wealth of very interesting information. It is 330 pages 8 ½ x 11 format in full color.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NEW BOOK: EARLY DATED COINS OF EUROPE, 2ND ED (https://www.coinbooks.org/v22/esylum_v22n37a03.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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