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Contemporaries in the Baltic region
Livonian Order
Master Walter von Plettenberg, 1494-1535
Master Hermann von Brüggenei, 1535-1549
Master Johann von der Recke, 1549-1551
Master Heinrich von Galen, 1551-1557
Master Wilhelm von Fürstenberg, 1557-1559
Master Gotthard Kettler, 1559-1562
Bishopric of Dorpat
Bishop Jobst von der Recke, 1543-1551

Livonian Order
The Livonian Order was founded in 1201 and united with the Teutonic Order after a lost battle in 1237. Masters were then appointed for the Baltic provinces. In 1242 the order was spatially limited by Christian-Orthodox Russia. Autonomous bishoprics emerged in Livonia, which also operated mints in Riga and Dorpat. The Livonian branch of the Order remained neutral when the Teutonic Order lost the Battle of Tannenberg in 1410. While the Order in East Prussia changed under Albrecht of Prussia to a duchy under Poland's sovereignty in 1525, the Livonian state of the order remained in existence as part of the Holy Roman Empire until 1561.

Master Walter von Plettenberg, 1494-1535
Walter, or Wolter von Plettenberg as he often called himself, was probably the most important Livonia master. He defeated Russian armies in 1501 and 1502 and made a peace with Ivan III in 1503 that lasted until 1557. He detached the Livonian branch of the order from Prussia in 1525. The Emperor elevated him to the rank of imperial prince in 1530. He remained true to his Catholic faith, but largely tolerated the new reformation efforts.

10 ducats 1525.    Ø 39 mm, 34,95 g.  Haljak 242b; Neumann 222; Friedb.1; Dav.1525A as thaler.
Obv.:   ◦MOИEta·ИOVA· - MAGistRI·LIVOИ - Iae'
Master standing with sword on his shoulder and master's coat of arms, rosette on the right in the field.
Rev.:   S·MARIA·Ͻ SERVA - POPVLVm◦TW◦Z5   -   Mary and child surrounded by rays.
Such a piece - 12 ducats, Ø 39 mm, 41.96 g. - is exhibited in the coin cabinet Bodemuseum, Berlin.

Double ducat 1528, Riga.     Ø 28 mm.   Neumann 226; Friedb.2.
Obv.:   WOLTer VAn PLETtenBERg ARgentea(?) MAgistrii LI - VOniae
Rev.:   MONEta NOVA RIGENSis 1528◦   -   coat of arms of Riga.

Master Hermann von Brüggenei, 1535-1549
Hermann von Brüggenei, also known as Hasenkamp, became adjutor of the Master Walter von Plettenberg in 1533, and after his death in 1535 his successor. His reign was peaceful. He probably died from the plague that was spreading at the time.

Thaler 1536, Reval.     Ø 43 mm.   Dav.9376; Dudik 152 (p.142); Neumann 241.
Obv.:   ◦*HERMANn von*BRVGge - NAi*MAGIStri*LIVOniae
Master of the Order standing facing, right hand supported by sword and left hand on hip. Between the feet a squared shield: cross of the Order and beam of Bruggenei.
Reval's cross in a floral shield between M - G, above *1536*, below **.
Dudik writes: This thaler is not embossed, but everything on it is painted yellowish on a matt green background on a pewter disc.

Master Heinrich von Galen, 1551-1557
Heinrich von Galen, born in Estlang and of Westphalian descent, was land marshal for 16 years before he was elected master in 1551 as successor to Johann von der Recke. He appointed Wilhelm von Fürstenberg as his coadjutor, who in 1557 also became his successor as master.

Thaler 1557, Riga.     Ø mm, 27,05 g.   Neumann 259; Dav.9378 (ohne Abb.)
Specimen at American Numismatic Society (

Half-length portrait behind the coat of arms and between 15 - 57.
Arms of Riga: towers with gate, lion's head at the entrance, crossed keys at the top.

1/2 Mark 1556, Riga.     Ø 28 mm, ca. 5,4 g.   Neumann 261.
Obv.:   HINEICVS GALE D.G. M. LIVON   -   Master stands behind the coat of arms.
Rev.:   MONETA NOVA RIGENS   -   Arms of Riga.

Master Wilhelm von Fürstenberg, 1557-1559
Born in 1500 in Hochsauerland, the second son from a noble family entered the Teutonic Order at the age of 15 to go to Livonia. There he became coadjutor for Heinrich von Galen in 1556 and his successor as master in 1557. When Fürstenberg made an alliance with Poland, Russia under Ivan IV (the Terrible) attacked the order's state. Requests for help to Sweden and Denmark were unsuccessful. In 1559, Fürstenberg handed over the leadership of the order to Gotthard Kettler, who sought help from Poland. Fürstenberg retreated to Fellin Fortress, where after a siege he was taken prisoner by the Russians, where he died in 1568.

Thaler 1557, Riga.     Ø 40 mm, 28,96 g.   Neumann 277; Dav.9380.
Obv.:   WILHELM*VORSTENBERG*Dei*Gratia*Magistrii*LIVOniae*
Armored hip portrait from the front, shouldering the sword with the right hand, in the foreground a shield with the coat of arms of the order and the family between the divided dates 15 - 57.
Rev.:   * - MONETA - *NOVA* - RIGENSI - *
Arms of Riga: towers with gate, lion's head at the entrance, crossed keys at the top.

Master Gotthard Kettler, 1559-1561
Born in Westphalia in 1517, he joined the Teutonic Order at the age of 20 and became coadjutor of Master Wilhelm von Fürstenberg when the Russian attack was already underway. Kettler urged Fürstenberg to resign in 1559 in order to better seek help from Poland. With a cession of territory to Poland, the remaining territory of the Order was placed under the sovereignty of Poland-Lithuania on November 28, 1561 as the 'Duchy of Courland and Zemgale'. The last Livonian master became the first duke of Courland.

2 ducats n. d., Wenden.     Ø 29 mm, 8,38 g.   Neumann 285; Haljak 373; Friedb.7.
Obv.:   GOTHARD*Dei* - *Gratia*MAGIStri*LIVONiae  -  Armored hip portrait half right,
shouldering sword with right hand, with left hand lying on a skull.

Rev.:   MARIA*FILIus - SERVA*NOS   "Son of Mary, help us"
Doubly helmeted, four-field shield (order cross / Kettler's coat of arms), above Christ on the cross.
A similar piece - Goldgulden Ø 29 mm, 4,17 g - is in the Berlin coin cabinet.

Ferding 1559, Wenden.     Ø 24 mm, 2,46 g.   Neumann 290a; Haljak 189.
D*G.GOTH(a)RT KETTLER*   Head.   //   *MAGister·TEVTsch·ORDen·LIVONiaE   Arms.

Bishopric of Dorpat (Tartu)
The Bishopric of Dorpat was founded by the Teutonic Order in Estonia in 1224. The seat of the prince-bishopric was Tartu (german Dorpat), today the second largest city in Estonia. The bishopric became extinct in 1558 as a result of the Reformation and the deportation of the last bishop to Russia.

Jobst von der Recke, 1543-1551 Bishop of Dorpat
Jobst (c. 1490-1567) came from the Münsterland. He was a canon in Münster when he rose to become Bishop of Dorpat in 1543 - on the recommendation of his uncle Johann von der Recke, Master of the Livonian Order in 1549-51. Jobst served as prince bishop in Dorpat 1543-51. The spread of the Reformation and the increasing Russian threat prompted him to return to Münster in 1552. When he was defeated in the election of a bishop in Münster in 1553, he retired to the family seat and married a convent virgin.

Double Thaler 1545.     Ø 52 mm, 55,28 g.   Dav.-; Neumann S.326; Hutten-Czapski 6568.
Obv.:   IODOCVS·A·RECK·EPISCOPVS·AC·DNS·TERBATEN   "... Bishop and Lord of Tartu"
Bearded bust with cap in surplice, looking to the right and holding a sword in his left hand.

Squared shield: bishopric (sword and key) and family arms (3 red bars on white field).
Above mitre between crozier and sword, outside date 15 -45.
The crosier and sword generally symbolise the spiritual and temporal power of a prince-bishop.

• B. Dudik: Des Hohen Deutschen Ritterordens Münz-Sammlung in Wien. Wien 1858 und im Netz.
• E. Neumann: Die Münzen des Dt. Ordens in Preußen, Livland und Mergentheim, deren weltliche
    Nachfolger die Herzogtümer Preußen, Livland und Kurland sowie Gepräge der baltischen Geistlichkeit
. Köln 1995.
• Hutten-Czaski: Catalogue de la collection des médailles et monnaies polonaises du Comte Emeric
. 5 Bd., 1871-1916, Nachdr. 1957.

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