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The E-Sylum: Volume 23, Number 17, April 26, 2020, Article 10

COINS AS TALISMANS: SAINT GEORGE'S DAY

David Pickup submitted this article on St. George and the dragon, and coins as talismans. Thanks! -Editor

2020-gold-full-sovereign-proof-benedetto-pistrucci-st-george-and-the-dragon Continuing the series on coins and health, here is how coins can save your life. It was St George's Day this week on Thursday. We do not really go in for a national day in England. Other countries have a party on their special day. Usually they are celebrating independence from us. George is the patron saint of England and the day was treated as any other day. In fact someone wished me Happy Saint David's Day! Stop someone in the street and ask who the national patron saint is and they would probably call the police for breach of social inclusion but not many would answer correctly. George was not English or British and never visited this country. He was not a knight but probably a Roman soldier. He was born in what is now Turkey and lived in Israel. Probably the knights on crusade liked to hear about him and brought stories back home. He is the patron of many countries in Europe.

A long time ago a knight called George lived near a hill in what is now Germany. The hill was home to a dragon who seemed to be a bit of a nuisance and the locals had to supply the monster with a fresh virgin to quieten him. Unfortunately they ran out of virgins (no comment) and the dragon wanted the king's daughter. I do not know about her reputation but the knight called George save her by killing the dragon. Henceforth the city which was called Mansfeld chose Saint George as its patron.

German States MANSFELD Thaler obverse German States MANSFELD Thaler reverse
German States MANSFELD Thaler from the NGC World Coin Price Guide

The German city of Mansfeld started issuing talers with a picture of the family's patron saint killing a dragon. They were first minted in 1521. In the Seventeenth Century coins bearing the image of St. George were carried by soldiers as a protection against injury. An imperial officer was said to have been shot in battle, but saved from injury by a Mansfeld taler he carried. In the Years' War and wars with the Turks, many officers and ordinary soldiers wore these thalers. A colonel of the Sachsen family, von Lisbau was twice saved by a Mansfeld thaler sewn into his clothing. The talers changed hands for up to ten times the value. The demand was so great and some cheaper medallions were manufactured. Saint George and the dragon is a popular coin design of course. Probably the design used on crowns and sovereigns by Benedetto Pistrucci is the best known.

So a belated happy Saint George's Day to one and all, watch out for dragons and keep safe.

Here's a lot from the 2020 New York Sale with a nice description of how well Pistrucci was regarded. -Editor

1818 George III Silver Crown

Perhaps the favourite coin of William Wellesley Pole the Master of the Mint at this time and older brother of the Duke of Wellington, the silver Crowns engraved by Italian engraver Benedetto Pistrucci were released with a glowing sense of pride in that Pole ordered that each piece was wrapped in tissue paper before being sent out to the banks for circulation. Considered as a piece of numismatic art by Pole who had made the sometime fiery Pistrucci the Chief Engraver in all but name as an Italian could not hold such an office in the Royal Mint officially at that time, the name of the engraver features prominently in full on both sides of the coin.

The Latin legend translate as on the obverse "George the Third, by the grace of God, King of the Britons, Defender of the Faith" and the French on the reverse, "Evil to him who evil thinks," additionally on the edge "An ornament and a safeguard, in the 58th year of the reign".

To read the complete article, see:
Great Britain George III (1760-1820), Silver Crown of Five Shillings, 1818 LVIII. (https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=3606&lot=1266)

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
GERMS AND MONEY (https://www.coinbooks.org/v23/esylum_v23n14a35.html)
COINS AND HEALTH (https://www.coinbooks.org/v23/esylum_v23n15a39.html)
COINS AND POISON (https://www.coinbooks.org/v23/esylum_v23n16a17.html)

E-Sylum Northeast ad02 buying


Wayne Homren, Editor

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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: whomren@gmail.com

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