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Volume 54 No. 6 June 2008

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
Marco Polo and Money in 13th Century Asia

presented by Bruce W. Smith to our April 26, 2008 meeting

“It was not at all like the movie,” ws Bruce’s opening remark. Then he quickly covered the classic references of medieval Europeans travelling to China:

Marco Polo was neither the first nor the last European to travel to China in the 1200s. His father and uncle, Nicolo and Mafeo, already had gone to China once before when, in 1271, they took Marco with them on their second trip. They were merchants,folowing traditional routes from Venice by ship, then overland to the southern land route known as the Chinese Silk Road.

In the Khan’s Mongol Dynasty of China, more non-Chinese than usual were employed in government service. Nicolo and Mafeo were returning at the invitation of the Great Khan whom they had met on their earlier trip. Arriving in 1275, the Polos would spend the next 20 years in China, engaging in trade and also performing tasks assigned by the Khan. Marco spent his 20s and 30s in China and was something of a favorite of the Khan, spending much time on assigned travels and tasks in China. For example, he was the prefect of a large city for three years.

Their last task was to escort a local princess to her intended husband, the ruler of Persia. They traveled by ship around Southeast Asia and India, only to find the intended groom dead; so his son, who had become ruler, wed the princess and the Polos continued to their home in Venice. During the war against Genoa in 1298, Marco was obligated, as a wealthy man, to fund a galley which he commanded. Caught, he spent some months as a prisoner; but this would work to his advantage.

To pass the time, Marco told a fellow prisoner, named Rustichello, stories of what he had done and seen. Released in 1299, the book was widely copied and made Marco famous. Remember, this was before moveable type, when manuscripts were copied by hand. The original text was in French and was in an as-told-to style without any editing. This can be hard on the reader — Marco will start on a story, go off on an interesting side path, and then never complete the original story.

No mention was made of the money encountered on their way to China through Central Asia, and none was mentioned on the way home. Copper coins were never mentioned by Marco or in accounts by other travelers. The Mongols had not made coins by Marco’s stay; copper coins were made after Marco left. Gold bars were used in Yunan province, Burma and elsewhere; a big gold bar, some inches wide and some inches tall. The same style as used by silver bars until the 20th century.

Paper money. The Chinese used it starting in the 1000s; the Mongols thought it a good idea and continued it. These items were printed using moveable type, but Marco did not mention that fact, only mentioning that they were stamped in red by the emperor on issue. These are extremely rare now; Ming Dynasty notes follow the same format, but are available to collectors now. Later rulers of the Mongol era flooded the market with them, making them virtually worthless. After the Ming Dynasty overthrew the Mongols, paper money was issued for another 200 to 300 years. No one would accept them towards the end, so they wre given as gifts to temples.

From the beginning, there were doubters about Marco’s stories. Contemporary Europeans could not believe paper money, and in the 1830s, paper money was no longer used in China. Slowly, however, hoards of it were found in temples.

Marco never mentioned the Great Wall — how can you miss the Great Wall? Because he entered China to the south of it, and it was not a big thing, even for the Chinese until recently, because it had not worked very well.

Everywhere Marco went, he mentioned all the Christians he saw. What Christians? Europeans saw no Christians in the 1800s. The Christians were Nestorians, considered heretics in Europe after the 4th century, but prevalent in China until outside influences wre driven out of China during the Ming dynasty.

Also contributing to misunderstanding is that Marco never learned Chinese, only Mongol as that was used by the conquering Mongols. He used Mongol place names in his stories, not Chinese names that could be easily identified by Europeans in China after the 18th century.

Bruce also told that Marco mentioned how anyone travelling on the Khan’s business would be given a flat gold bar as a type of blank check and calling card. That was not believed, but then in the 1800s a solid gold bar was found with the Mongol inscription for “Give the bearer what he wants.” To which someone in our audience mumbled something about a “Mongolian Express Card.”

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
The Bronze Coinage of the French Feudal States

by Donald H. Dool
presented to our May 14, 2008 meeting

In Eklund’s Copper Coins of France there is a separate section titled French Feudal Coinage with fifty-seven listings from twelve different locations. This talk will feature coins from those locations plus two that Eklund omitted.

The first coin is a double tournois dated 1587 from Bouillon. This small town is in Belgium near the French border. Originally built as a fortress in the early eleventh century, the bishops of Liége purchased it from the famous crusader Godefroy de Bouillon, who used the money to finance his participation in the First Crusade. A term of the sale allowed Godefroy or any of his next three successors to buy back the property at the original price or the duchy would remain in perpetual possession of the bishopric of Liége. This option was not exercised and except for a few interruptions, Bouillon was in the possession of the bishops of Liége from 1095 to 1678.

Bouillon is located some distance from Liége and was not a contiguous part of the bishop’s temporal domain, thus it was treated as a separate entity with its own law and customs, overseen by a castelan or governor appointed by the bishop. From 1415 until 1594 the castelans were the La Marcks. This brings us to the coin in question struck during the rule of Guillaume Robert de la Marck (1562-88). Both Guillaume Robert and his sister, Jean (1564-87) died unmarried. In 1588, at the death of Guillaume Robert, his other sister, Charlotte (1574-94), became the heir to Sedan and to the claims on Bouillon. In October of 1591 she married Henri de La Tour, vicomte de Turenne and maréchal de France. In their marriage contract they named each other as heirs. Charlotte died first after only three years of marriage and as there were no children, Henri became prince of Sedan and titular duc de Bouillon. After the death of Charlotte, Henri married Elisabeth of Nassau establishing the line of the La Tour ducs de Bouillon.

The obverse has the bust of Guillaume (William) Robert de la Marck to the left and the legend G.(uillaume) R.(obert) DE. LA. BOVLLON. The reverse side has crowned arms with the legend DOVBLE. TOVRNOS. 1587. It is attributed as Eklund 1 and Neumann I 3432. It weighs 2.2 grams with a diameter of 20 mm.

Bouillon et Sedan
The second coin, a double tournois, was issued in 1632 during the reign of the eldest son of Henri and Elisabeth, Frédéric Maurice (1605-52). Sedan was now joined with Bouillon.

On the obverse is Frédéric Maurice’s bust to the right and the legend F · MAVRICE · DE · LA · TOVR · P · S · D · S · (prince souverain de Sedan). In the reverse field is a tower and three fleurs-de-lis with the legend DOVBLE · TOVRNOIS · 1632+. Referrences are Eklund 8 and Neumann I 3442. The weight is 2.2 grams and is 19 mm. in diameter.

Nevers and Rethel
Next are two coins from Nevers and Rethel. Eklund treats these as two separate entities, Krause as one, and Neumann as two. Neumann, however, has Eklund’s Rethel coins under Mantua. Nevers dates to Roman time when it was know as Noviodunum and served as a military depot for corn, money, and hostages. It was the first place seized by the revolting Aedui in 52BC. At the end of the 5th century it became the seat of a bishopric and in about the beginning of the tenth century the countship came into being.

In the thirteenth century, Rethel was the seat of a county held by the counts of Champagne; it passed to the house of Burgundy in 1384. According to Louda and Maclagan’s Lines of Succession, the two counties were united at least as early as the reign of Philip, 1405-1415. However, his two granddaughters, Elizabeth (daughter of his son, John and John’s first wife, Jacquline) and Charlotte (daughter of his son, John and John’s second wife, Pauline) were Heiresses to Nevers and Rethel respectively, so it seems the two were separated at that time. Moving forward to the time of our coins we find the establishment of a branch of the Gonzaga family, the ducs of Mantua, in France. This branch began with Ludovico (1529-95), who became a French citizen in 1550 and married Henriette de Clèves in 1565. Henrietta was heiress of the duchy-peerage of Nevers and countess-peer and then duchess-peer of Rethel in 1581. Their son Charles I (1580-1637), became duc de Nevers and Rethel in 1595 and duke of Mantua in 1627. In a marriage to Catherine of Lorraine, he had three sons, one was Charles (1609-31), duc de Rethel. By Maria of Gonzaga (daughter of Francesco IV), Charles had Charles (1629-65), duc of Rethel, Mayenne, Nevers and Mantua. Of the two coins shown here the first, Eklund 45, which Eklund attributes to Charles II of Gonzaga, and the second, Eklund 56, which Eklund attributes to Charles I of Mantua, were both issued by the Charles that was the son of Ludovico and Henriette. So based on this one could attribute both coins to Nevers and Rethel as opposed to separate locations. In addition, of the seven coins Eklund lists for Rethel none have Rethel as part of the legends. One, Eklund 54, does have CHARLEV(ille), a city that superceded the ancient city of Arches. For reasons that are not yet clear, my Eklund 56 was attributed to Charleville by the French dealer. So if you are not hopelessly lost by now, the conclusion would be that Eklund erred in having two separate locations.

One of two issues featured from Nevers and Rethel, the obverse of this one has the bust of Charles to the right with the legend CAR · GONZ · D · NIV · ET · RETH · and the date, 1609., in exergue. On the reverse are crowned arms in the field with the following: SVP · PRINCEPS · ARCHENSIS · (Duke of Nevers and Rethel, Supreme Prince of Arches). The attributions are Eklund 45, Krause 29 and Neumann I 3613. It weighs 3.8 grams and has a diameter of 25 mm.

The other Nevers and Rethel coin also has a bust of Charles to the right on the obverse and the inscription: CHARLES II · DVC · D · MANT · S · DAR. On the reverse three fleurs-de-lis in the field and DOVBLE · D · LA · SOV · DAR · 1637. It is catalogued as CKGL 626, Eklund 56v, Krause 50v and Neumann I 646v. A variety in all cases as the 1637 date is not mentioned. The weight is 2.2 grams and it is 19 mm. in diameter. Note that one coin has Charles as Carl of Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers and Rethel, Supreme Prince of Arches while the other has him as Charles II, Duke of Mantua, Sovereign of Arches. The CKGL in the attributions refers to a reference of double and denier tournois by Crépin, Grangien, Kuhn and Lafond.

Chateau Renaud
The fifth coin, a Liard, is from the small city of Chateau Renaud located in northern France. In 1605, Francois de Bourbon obtained the city upon his marriage to Louise Marguerite of Lorraine. After his death in 1614, Louise Marguerite ruled until 1629 when she ceded the city to Louis XIII.

This coin also has a bust of the ruler on the obverse with the inscription FRANCOIS · DE · BOVRBON with the date, 1613, in exergue. On the reverse: a crowned shield with three fleurs-de-lis and the legend · P · DECONTI · S · DE · CHRENAV. (Prince de Conti, souverain de Chateau Renaud). The die cutter seems to have erred and left out spaces or dots in the legend. It is attributed as Eklund 22, Krause 26.2 (small bust variety) and Neumann I 3509. The weight 3.3 grams and the diameter 24 mm.

Number six originates from Cugnon. Information about Cugnon is rather sparse; all I could find on the Internet is that it is located in Belgium near Bouillon in the Ardennes.

According to Eklund the obverse has a bust to the right but this example seems to have a crowned shield of arms. The legend does agree: I · TH · C · D · LE · RO · S · S · D · CH · CVGN. (Jean Theodore, Comte de Lewenstein-Rochefort, Seugueur souverain de Chassepierre Cugnon). The reverse has four fleurs-de-lis around a rosette with the following: DOVBLE · TOVRNOIS · 1634. If this had a bust rather than what appears to be a crowned shield it would be Eklund 23 and Neumann II 12440. The weight is 2.1 grams with a diameter of 19 mm.

The seventh coin has the bust of a female ruler, Marie de Montpensier, who reigned in Dombes from 1608 to 1626. She married Gaston de Orleans, Louis XIII’s brother, and they ruled jointly for a year until her death in 1627.

The obverse has the bust of Marie to the left and the legend: MARIE SOVVE R DE DOMBES+. On the reverse: three fleur-de-lis in the field and the legend: DOVBLE · TOVRNOIS 1623. This specimen has several die breaks on both sides. The coin is attributed as Eklund 30, Krause 24 and Neumann I 3530-5. Eklund gives a range of dates from 1621-27 but both Krause and Neumann omit this date. It weighs 2.7 grams and has a diameter of 19 mm.

Phalsburg & Lixheim
The eighth coin is from Phalsbourg and Lixheim, a double tournois dated 1633. The cities of Phalsbourg and Lixheim were established by Ferdinand II (1619-1637), emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, as a principality for Henriette de Lorraine-Vaudémont;, the sister of Charles IV, duc de Lorraine (1624-1675), and daughter of François II de Lorraine-Vaudémont when she married Louis, baron d’Ancerville. After she was widowed in 1630, she issued coinage until 1635. Phalsbourg is located about thirty miles northwest of Strasbourg; Lixheim I could not find on the map.

This double tournois is from Phalsburg and Lixheim. Its obverse has the legend: HENR(ietta) · D(uchess) · LOR(rraine) · PRIN(cess) · PHAL(sburg) · ET · LIX(heim) with her bust to the right. The reverse has not the usual three but eight fleurs-de-lis in the field and the legend: DOVBLE · TOVRNOIS · 1633. Its attributions are Eklund 50 and Neumann N 37008. It has a weight of 2.6 grams and a diameter of 19 mm.

Boisbelle & Henrichemont
Coin number nine is from Boisbelle and Henrichemont, another double tournois with a date of 1636. Maximilien de Béthune, the famous minister of Henri IV, purchased Boisbelle and Sully in 1597 from Charles I, duc de Nevers and Rethel. Maximilien founded a new town, and named it Henrichemont (a pun on “Henri” and “riche”) in honor of his king.

This double tournois from Boisbelle and Henrichemont, like the other five shown, has the ruler’s bust to the right and the legend: MAXI · D · BETVNE · P · S · DENRIC (d’enrichemont). The reverse side has a shield surrounded by seven fleurs-de-lis and DOVBLE · TOVRNOIS 1636 L. The weight is 2.6 grams, the diameter 20 mm. The attributions are Krause 3 and Neumann I 3560. Somehow Eklund did not list this location.

The tenth coin is a double tournois dated 1641 from Orange. Orange, located just north of Avignon in south central France, traces its history to 35 BC when veterans of the Second Gallica Roman legion founded Arausio. The complete name was Colonia Julia Firma Secundanorum Arausio, “the Julian colony of Arausio established by the soldiers of the second legion.” When this coin was issued, Frederick Henry, Prince of Nassau-Orange, ruled it. His grandson, William III, was the last of this line to rule Orange; it was invaded by Louis XIV in 1672 and incorporated into France in 1713. William III did not lose out completely, he became King of England in 1689.

The obverse of this issue of Orange also has a bust to the right, Fredrich Henry, with the legend: FRED · HENR · D · G · PRIN · AV(rasicens). On the reverse are three fleurs-de-lis in the field and a perimeter legend: DOVBLE · TOVRNOIS · 1641. The 6 in the date appears to be clogged from a die break. It is attributed as Eklund 47v and Neumann I 3640. The weight is 2.5 grams and the diameter 19 mm.

Montbéliard (Mömpelgard in German) dates to at least the eleventh century as a county of the Holy Roman Empire. From 1397 until the French Revolution it was ruled by the counts and then the dukes of Württemberg. For a brief period it was part of the Rauracian Republic, before being annexed to France in 1793. For centuries it has been one of the few Protestant (specifically Calvinist) centers in France.

On the obverse this liard from Montbéliard is a bust of Leopold Eberhard to the right and the legend D(ei). G(ratia) · L(eopoldus) E(berhardus) D(ux) · W(ürtemb.) · M(ontishbelligardiæ). The reverse has the legend: LIARD | DE MONT | BELIARD | J. 1715. There are fleurs-de-lis above the A in LIARD, between DE and MONT and possibly above the I in BELIARD. It is attributed as Eklund 42 and Neumann I 3609. The weight is 2.6 grams with a diameter of 20 mm.

The twelfth coin is a 1728 liard of Lorraine. In 855, on the death of Lothar I, Emperor of Francia Media, the “middle kingdom,” the kingdom was divided between his three sons: Louis II received Italy and the Imperial crown; Charles, Burgundy; and Lothar II, the area from Burgundy down to the North Sea. For want of a better name it came to be called after Lothar himself: Lotharingia. This has become Lothringen in German and Lorraine in French and English. None of the sons had male heirs so the three parts were passed around among the Carolingian heirs. Lorraine lost importance, and was divided into Upper and Lower Lorraine. The area has been fought over and divided for centuries and at the time this coin was issued Leopold I ruled it. In looking at a genealogy chart for the Dukes of Lorraine, I noted that Leopold I was the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Rene II, Duke of Lorraine and Bar, Count of Guise. Rene’s granddaughter was Mary of Guise, wife of James V of Scotland and mother of Mary, Queen of Scots (Francia).

The obverse has a well-worn bust of Leopold I to the right with the legend: LEOP · I · D · G · D(uc) · LOT(hringen) · B(arriæ) · R(ex) · IE(rosolymarum). On the reverse: +| LIARD | DE | LORRAINE | 1728 with a small eagle dividing the date. Attributions are Eklund 41, Krause 81 and Neumann I 3606. The weight is 2.0 grams and the diameter 20 mm.

The next coin is from Burgundy while under Spanish rule, a double denier dated 1605. This is a posthumous issue of Philip II, Phillip having died in 1598.

Obv: Bust of Phillip to the left and the legend: (PHS. REX. CATHOL.) HISPA...+ Rev: A lion in the field and the legend: D. ET. COM(ES BVRGVNDI...)1605 +. The mint is Dole. Attribution: Boudeau 1261, Neumann I 3457. The weight is 2.8 grams and the diameter 19 mm.

The last coin is a CICF addition; an undated issue from Cambrai. Although Cambrai is now a French city, it was not exactly a French Feudal state. In 1543 Cambrai was conquered by Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, and annexed to his already vast possessions. This was issued under Louis de Borlaimont, 1570-1596, archbishop of Cambrai.

Obv: Shield in field with II below. Perimeter legend: LVD A BERLAIMONT D GRA Rev: Cross in field, with legend: ARCH...ET...DVX...CAM Attribution: Boudreau 2041, Neumann I 3506 The weight is 2.8 grams and the diameter 22-23 mm.

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Show and Tell

Items shown at our May 14, 2008 meeting.

  1. Continuing the featured speaker’s theme of copper coins, David Gumm showed some copper coins of Canada, types of Large Cents from 1858 to 1920:
  2. Don Dool showed more early European copper coins:
  3. Eric Schmidt showed a range of coins found in change or rolls:
  4. At CICF, Eugene Freeman acquired a 1995 one ounce silver Gibraltar coin featuring a dog on the reverse. Part of a series starting in 1991, each year features a different breed of dog on gold, silver, and copper nickel pieces. Instead of the expected Collie for 1995, there was a German Shepherd. A bit of research determined that this piece was a pattern piece, sent by the Pobjoy mint to wholesalers. Eugene has sent a note to Krause, but is keeping the coin.
  5. Bob Leonard showed some recent acquisitions, starting with his BeGON badge from his recent induction, then to the main exhibits:
  6. Mark Wieclaw showed a range of items:
  7. Steve Zitowsky showed two silver pieces:
  8. Bob Weinstein acquired some Indo-Scythian pieces, some rarely encountered:
  9. Steve Ambos showed two pieces:
  10. Jeff Rosinia showed two silver eagles with different reverses. A 2008-W silver eagle in an NGC early release slab has the U of UNITED with a tail; the rare variety does not have the tail. Fourteen dies have been observed so far.
  11. Lyle Daly showed some recent acquisitions:

Our 1074th Meeting

Date:June 11, 2008
Time:7:00 PM
Location:Downtown Chicago
At the Chicago Bar Association, 321 S. Plymouth Court, 3rd floor meeting room. Please remember the security measures at our meeting building: everyone must show their photo-ID and register at the guard’s desk. A few blocks west of the CBA building is the Ceres Restaurant (enter the Board of Trade building from Jackson at LaSalle, then enter the restaurant from the lobby) with standard sandwiches, burgers and salads for members who want to meet for dinner.
Featured speaker:Robert Feiler - Changed Coins

They started life as a coin, but have been changed into a wide range of articles. From the simple buttons, love tokens, and advertising counterstamps, to the more complicated lockets, knives, and scissors, Bob will show us examples from the dozen or so categories of items he has collected.

Important Dates

June 11 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Robert Feiler on Changed Coins
July 9 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
July 11-13 27th Annual MidAmerica Coin Expo at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center, 1551 Thoreau Drive, Schaumburg, IL 60173. Admission is $5 for Friday and Saturday; free on Sunday.
July 12 CCC Meeting - at the MidAmerica Coin Expo (meeting time and location in the next issue). No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - to be announced

Birthday and Year Joined

July 1 Dean Kandilakis 2004
July 12 Flemming Lyngbeck Hansen 2000
July 13 Gerard Anaszewicz 1981
July 19 Terry L. Capps 1996
July 19 John R. Connolly 1997
July 19 Richard S. Hamilton 1986
July 27 David Simpson 1980

Chatter Matter

All correspondence pertaining to Club matters should be addressed to the Secretary and mailed to:

P.O. Box 2301

Club Officers

Robert Feiler- President
Jeff Rosinia- First Vice President
Lyle Daly- Second Vice President
William Burd- Archivist
Directors:Eugene Freeman
Elliot Krieter
Carl Wolf
Mark Wieclaw
Other positions held are:
Carl Wolf- Secretary
Steve Zitowsky- Treasurer
Paul Hybert- Chatter Editor

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