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Coinage on the occasion of sieges in the 16th century

here continuation: 1543-1567
Emergency money from William V of Jülich-Berg, 1543
Siege of Leipzig, 1547
Siege of Magdeburg, 1550-51
Siege of Metz, 1552
The Second Margravial War, 1552-54
Siege and capture of Gotha, 1567

(of back to: Sieges 1515-1530)

Emergency money from William V of Jülich-Berg, 1543
- Geldrian succession dispute 1538-43 with Emperor Charles V -
Charles of Egmond, Duke of Guelders, had resisted submission to Burgundy and Habsburg with French support. In 1528, Charles of Egmond had received Guelders as a Burgundian fief from the Emperor. He was childless and it was agreed that Geldern would fall to Brabant after his death. On 27 January 1538, however, Charles of Egmond appointed the Protestant Duke William V of Jülich-Berg and Cleves as his successor at the insistence of the Geldrian estates.
Accordingly, the estates paid homage to Duke Wilhelm after Charles' death on June 30, 1538. Wilhelm's negotiations with the emperor were unsuccessful. At the Imperial Diet of Regensburg in 1541, Guelders was assigned to the Emperor. But William V, betrothed to a niece of King Francis I of France, did not give up. The emperor then appeared in 1543 with his general Ferrante Gonzaga and a large army. Coming from Bonn, he marched in front of the ring fortress of Düren. The defenders initially fought back successfully, but were forced to surrender on 24 August 1543. The emperor had the city burnt down, whereupon other cities surrendered voluntarily. Jülich, whose fortress was still under construction, surrendered without a fight.
William V waited in vain for help from the Schmalkaldic League and France, so that he had to give up. He appeared in person at the imperial field camp near Venlo to surrender. On 7 September 1543, William renounced Guelders in the Treaty of Venlo. He also had to reverse the Reformation in his countries.


One-sided emergency klippe for one thaler, 1543.  34x34 mm, 29,27 g.
Brause-Mansfeld pl.12,2; Noss 285,
struck by Duke Wilhelm during the war for the Duchy of Guelders.

Obv.:   uncrowned, double-tailed lion to the left, between date 4 - 3, surrounded by
a coat of arms-like border.

Ref.:  Hartwig Neumann, Die Jülicher Notklippen von 1543, 1610, 1621/22. Jülich 1974.  Extract: PDF

Siege of Leipzig, 1547
- Counterattack by Elector John Frederic I on Albertine territory in the Schmalkaldic War -
Duke Maurice of Saxony was a Protestant, but left the Schmalkaldic League in 1542 and manoeuvred between the Protestant and imperial sides for several years. In mid-1546, the Emperor outlawed Elector John Frederic I the Magnanimous and instructed his Albertine relative Maurice to enforce the imperial ban and occupy Electoral Saxony. Maurice hesitated at first, but at the end of October he sided with the Emperor and invaded Electoral Saxony. Elector John Frederic then hurried back from southern Germany with his army, recaptured his land and counter-attacked. The siege of Leipzig began on 6 January 1547.
The defenders in the city quickly needed more money, as the mercenaries commanded by the city commander had to be paid with good money. The demand was to be met by minting emergency klippes made of gold and silver. In particular, the silverware and church utensils belonging to the Merseburg Abbey, which had been stored in Leipzig before the war for security reasons, was taken. The available precious metal equipment was melted down by goldsmiths and craftsmen in the city, cast into coins, cut into cliff-shaped pieces and finally minted into emergency money.


Golden emergency klippe of a ducat 1547, Leipzig.     14x14 mm, 3,54 g.
Brause-Mansfeld pl.16,6; Keilitz 261; Friedb.2623,
minted by Maurice of Saxony during the siege in Leipzig by Johann Friedrich of Saxony.

Obv.:   × | ○M○ | H·Z·S○   "Moritz Herzog Zu Sachsen"
Shield between decorations, surrounded by a laurel wreath.

Rev.:   × | ○H○ | HFRI | ○BELEG | ERT○LEIP○ | ZIG○MENS | IAN:AN○ | MDXL | VII
"Duke Hans Friedrich besieges Leipzig in January 1547"  -  laurel wreath all around.
Both opponents are named dukes. One of them is still an elector. The other one will be.


Thaler klippe 1547, Leipzig.     41x41 mm, 29,39 g.   Brause-Mansfeld pl.16,8; Schnee 672.
Saxon coat of arms between the divided date 15 - 47,
above the initials MHZS (Moritz Herzog Zu Sachsen), below in a circle an L (for Leipzig).

After 21 days, this siege ended unsuccessfully. The decision in the Schmalkaldic War was not reached until April 24, 1547 in the Battle of Mühlberg.

Siege of Magdeburg, 1550-51
- Emperor Charles V wants to enforce the Augsburg Interim -
The citizens of Magdeburg had bought their freedom from Archbishop Albrecht of Brandenburg and the chapter in 1541, had taken possession of the monastery estates and introduced Protestant liturgy. After Emperor Charles V's victory in the Schmalkaldic War of 1546/1547, Protestantism was significantly weakened, but Magdeburg refused to submit. When the city rejected the Augsburg Interim, the emperor imposed the imperial ban on the city in 1548. When this also failed to have any effect, the execution of the Eight was finally transferred to Elector Maurice of Saxony. At the expense of the Empire, he led an army against Magdeburg and besieged the rebellious city for 414 days, but without success. When some imperial princes turned against Emperor Charles V, Maurice of Saxony joined them and changed sides again. Only then did the citizens of Magdeburg open their gates and pay homage to him.

Without having the right to mint, the city of Magdeburg minted the first emergency coins in 1550. She avoided any denomination of value in order to preserve the character of the emergency money. The first coins were well struck and of good silver content. Under the pressure of the siege, the city minted coins that were increasingly poorly marked and of inferior quality, initially two-sided, and then, from March 20, 1551, when the troops mutinied, crudely made one-sided klippes.
The city only received the right to mint in 1567 and exercised it from 1571 onwards.


Gulden 1551, necessary money.    Ø 35 mm, 15,29 g.
Brause-Mansfeld pl.17,10; v.Schr.901/904; Schildm.pl.8-2.

Obv.:   +MONETA·NOVA·MAGDeBURGENSIS
City gate, above it a maid (maiden) with a raised wreath between two towers.
Rev.:   +VERBVM DOMINI MAnet IN AETERnum 1·5·5·1
Contemporary motto "The word of the Lord endures forever"  -  large Magdeburg rose.


One-sided copper penny 1551
Emergency money,   Ø 15 mm.
v.Sch.992; Schildm.pl.8-4.

One-sided copper penny klippe 1551
Emergency money,   18x19 mm, punched later.
Schildm.pl.8-72.

In connection with Magdeburg's courageous fight against the Interim, the so-called Interimsthaler, contemporary Mocking coin on the Augsburg Interim of 1549, are always mentioned:


Interimsthaler n.d. (1549-51).     Ø 41 mm, 28,75 g.   v.Schr.948; Schildm.pl.8-2; Dav.9445.
Obv.:   ¤ PACKE·DIch·SATHANus DV·INTERIM·   "Grab yourself, Satan of the interim"
The Saviour summons a dragon (the Interim) with several heads (angel's, pope's, Turk's head).

Rev.:   ¤ DIT·IS·MeIN LEVEr·SON·DEN·Solt·GIr·HOren
"This is my dear son whom you should follow"
Baptism of Christ in the Jordan by John the Baptist, with the Holy Spirit as a dove above.
For the spitting grimace on the dragon's abdomen, compare a demon with several grimaces in Stefan Lochner's painting The Last Judgement.

The siege of Magdeburg in 1629 by Wallenstein also was unsuccessful.
But the third siege in 1631 by Tilly ended disastrously for the city.

Ref.:
• R. Schildmacher :  Magdeburger Münzen,  36 p., 21 pl., n.d.(1943).   Extract as PDF
• S. Alexi :  Die Münzprägungen der St. Magdeburg a.1550-51.  ZfN 15(1887)55-66.   PDF

Siege of Metz, 1552
- An attempted reconquest by Emperor Charles -
Because Emperor Charles V wanted to enforce the Augsburg Interim of 1548 by force if necessary, as in Magdeburg, a protestant "conspiracy of princes" emerged under the leadership of Elector Maurice of Saxony. He drove Charles out of Innsbruck and concluded the Treaty of Passau with his more conciliant brother King Ferdinand on July 31, 1552, which made the Peace of Augsburg of 1555 possible.
In the meantime, Henry II of France had taken the imperial cities of Toul, Metz and Verdun, as agreed in a treaty with the conspirators. The emperor then approached with his army. On October 10, 1552, the siege of Metz began under the leadership of the Duke of Alba. The Duke of Guise, Francis of Lorraine, defended the city. The emperor had to ask Margrave Albrecht Alcibiades for support for the siege. In return, the emperor had to recognize the margrave's violent anexions in Franconia. But towards the end of the year, Charles V realized that he would not be able to recapture Metz. On January 1, 1553, he lifted the siege and moved to the Netherlands.


Medal 1552.     Bronze   Ø 38 mm, 11,4 g.   Mazerolle II,329; Jones 58.
Obv.:   HENRICO II FRANCorum Regi CHRISTIANISsimo OPTimi PRINCIPIs
"Henry II, King of France, most Christian prince"  -  crowned bust of the king.
( Christianissimus = Most Christian, title of the kings of France since Louis XI, bestowed by the popes.)
Obv.:  METae / LIBER OBSIDeo / CAR V IMP ET GE / RM OPPVGno FRANCisco / A LOTHORingia DVCE / GVISiae FOELICISsime / PROPVGnante / 15(Metz-arms)52
"free Metz, besieged by the German Emperor Charles V, happily protected by
François de Lorraine, Duc de Guise"

After the threat had been successfully overcome, the citizens of Metz waved a banner that turned the emperor's motto into the opposite. It shows the Pillars of Hercules with the inscription "Non ultra Metas", which means "Not beyond Metz - Up to here and no further".
The French remained in Metz, and in the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 Metz, Toul and Verdun were officially and finally awarded to France.


Medal 1552.     Ø 52 mm.   Mazerolle II,408; Jones I,227.
Obv.:   FRANCISCVS - DVX GVISIVS   -   Bust portrait to the right in armor.
Rev.:   I552·HÆC·TIBI·META·     View of the fortified city of Metz.
Metis haec tibi meta datur = The city of Metz has become for you (i.e. Charles V) and your "forward" (plus ultra) a bruising stone and a target (meta).
The medal celebrates François de Lorraine, duc de Guise (1519-63), who defended the city of Metz in 1552 against the siege by Emperor Charles. V. in 1552.
François de Lorraine was a brother of Archbishop and Cardinal Charles de Lorraine-Guise.


Bronze medal 1552.     Ø 38 mm.   Mazerolle II,408; Jones(1982) I,p.74.57.
Specimen in the British Museum

Obv.:   OB SERV ΜΕ TIM ET FRAN PROCERES CA ROLO V IMP ET GERM OBSID 1552
( ob servatos Metim et Franciae proceres, Carolo V imperatore et Germanis obsidentibus 1552 )
"... for saving Metz and the leading citizens of France, from the siege laid by Charles V, Emperor and the Germans"

Rev.:   MARS DEDIT GRA MINEAM PERGE REDDET REGIAS HIEROSOL ET SICIL TVORVM PROAVO RVM ORNAMENTA H II FR IVSSV
"Mars gave a gramineal (grassy) wreath ... he will give back the kingdoms of Jerusalem and Sicily the ornaments of your ancestors, by order of Henri II King of France"

Notes: This seems to be a contemporary struck piece. The duc de Guise's successful defence of Metz against Charles V (31.10.1552 - 1.1.1553) left the bishoprics of Metz, Toul and Verdun in the hands of the French.

Ref.:
• F. Mazerolle: Les Médailleurs français du XVe siècle au milieu du XVIIe. 3 vol., Paris, 1902-04
• M. Jones: A Catalogue of the french Medals in the British Museum. 1402-1672, 2 vol., London 1982, 1988

The Second Margravial War, 1552-54
- Albrecht Alcibiades on forays in Franconia -
After the Treaty of Passau in 1552, Albrecht Alcibiades, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, continued his raids in Franconia aimed at gaining territory. He besieged Nuremberg and extorted territorial cessions from Würzburg and Bamberg.


One-sided thaler klippe, 1553.    40x38 mm, 28,82 g.  Brause-Mansfeld pl.3,8; v.Schr.778.
Stamp with A.M.Z.B.   "Albrecht, Markgraf zu Brandenburg"
and a sign for Zollern between the date 15 - 53.


One-sided 1/2 thaler klippe, 1553.    45 mm, 14,03 g.  Brause-Mansfeld pl.3,5; v.Schr.758a.
Stamp, shield and date as before

Ref:
Reinhold Jordan: Die Schweinfurter Belagerungsklippen von 1553, GN Hft.73 (Sept.1979) p.211-213

Siege and capture of Gotha, 1567
- Ernestines could not get over the loss of the electoral title after 20 years -
As leader of the Schmalkaldic League, John Frederick I the Magnanimous (1532-1554) had lost his electoral dignity to the cousin Duke Moritz in 1547. The electoral dignity thus changed from the Ernestian to the Albertian branch of the House of Wettin.
John Frederick II (1554-1567), eldest son and successor to John Frederick I the Magnanimous, could not resign himself to being merely "Duke of Gotha". He wanted to regain the electoral dignity that had been taken from his father, along with the lands that went with it. This led to growing enmity between the two Wettin lines. The unstable John Frederick II followed the advice of the Franconian nobleman Wilhelm von Grumbach, who promised to help him regain the electoral dignity. Grumbach had fled to Gotha after killing the Bishop of Würzburg. As a result, the emperor declared imperial banishment over him. Although the release of the murderer was urgently demanded, the foolish duke granted him his continued protection, disregarded the emperor's threats and was finally put in the eight himself.
The successor to Elector Moritz, his brother August (1553-86), was commissioned by Emperor Maximilian II to enforce the imperial ban. The siege of the city began at Christmas 1566. When the imperial forces cut off the the well pipes outside the city, Duke John Frederick II surrendered in April 1567. His own soldiers had previously mutinied and arrested Grumbach as the instigator of the war. The duke lost his land to his brother and went into disgraceful captivity. The instigator of the whole disaster, Wilhelm von Grumbach, was dragged onto a wooden scaffold. There the executioner is said to have torn his heart out of his body and struck him in the face with the words: "Look Grumbach, your false heart"! Then he was quartered.

Johann Friedrich II, 1557-67, as a besieged man


Emergency klippe 1567 for 3 Groschen, Gotha.   18x18 mm.  Tentzel pl.16/11; Brause-Mansfeld pl.11/2.
Obv.:   H HF G K  -  above the Saxon coat of arms, date divided on the left and right.
According to Tentzel, the initials stand for: "Hertzog Hanß Friedrich Gebohrner Kurfürst".
Johann Friedrich II thus emphasised the Ernestine line's claim to the title of elector.

Rev.:   Information on the value.

Elector Augustus, 1553-86, victorious in the capture of Gotha


Thaler 1567, Dresden.     Ø 40 mm, 28,91 g.   Schnee 717; Dav.9800.
Obv.:   *TANDEM*BONA*CAVSA*TRIVMPHAT   "The good cause finally wins"
Arms of the Electorate, above a horned head,
below the sign HB for Hans Biener, mint master in Dresden 1556-1604.

Rev.:   MDLXVII | GOTHA·CAPTA | SVPPLICIO·DE·PRO | SCRIPTIS·IMPerii:HOS |
TIBus:OBSESSis·SVMPTO | COeTERISQue·FVGATIS | AVGVSTVS·Dux·SAXOnum |
ELECTOR·etc | ·Fieri·Fecit·
"When Gotha was taken in 1567, the punishment of the outlawed besieged enemies of the empire was carried out and the others were put to flight, Augustus, Duke of Saxony and Elector, had this coin minted"

Ref.:
• H. Fischer: Geschichte um einen Taler auf die Einnahme von Gotha. NNB 23(1974)416-419,   PDF
• Lothar Koppe: Die Münzprägung der Ernestiner nach 1547 durch Johann Friedrich und seine Söhne
    in: Jahrbuch Thüringer Münz- und Medaillenkunde 7 (1995/96) 106-119,   leicht gekürzt als PDF

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Siege of Brescia 1515-16 and Verona 1516
Siege of Pavia, 1524-25
Siege of Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, 1527
Siege of Vienna, 1529
Siege of Florence, 1529-30


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