Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 46

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Lot 676

German States -- Saxony. Guldengroschen (28.76 g), ND (1512), Hall. Dav-9699; Schnee-37; Schulten-3019; Coll. Merseburger-417; Coll. Vogel-5935 (this coin). 28.76 grams. Friedrich III, the Wise, 1486-1525. Bust of bearded Friedrich right, cuirassed and wearing embroidered cap, with raised shields quartering the inscription; FRID' DVX SAX - ELECT ' IMPER. QVE LOCVM : TEN - E'S. GENERA'; inscription on his breastplate: IHS : MARIA, = "Jesus; Mary." Reverse: Nimbate eagle, with shield on breast bearing arms of Austria and Burgundy; MAXIMILIANVS ROMANORVM REX SEMPER AVGVST. Lustrous bold relief devices on reflective fields. Minor striking flaw on eagle, and negligible flan split, otherwise a choice strike with especially attractive and sympathetic portrait. Fine old artistic toning. Rare -- more so in this grade. NGC graded MS-63.

Friedrich, who was a great proponent of education, founded the University of Wittenberg in 1502 in the city of Wittenberg, where Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the church doors. This sparked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

This masterful coin portrait, in bold relief and medallic in appearance, derives from a sculptural likeness fashioned by the famous German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder. The coin's dies were cut by Ulrich Ursenthaler of Hall, in Tyrol. Among Cranach's portrait paintings are several of Martin Luther, also residing in Wittenberg and under the Elector's protection. Cranach even performed as go-between in broaching Martin Luther's proposal of marriage to the former nun Katharina von Bora. Cranach and his wife were later witnesses at Luther's and Katharina's wedding, and he would also be godfather to their first son.
Estimated Value $10,000 - 12,500.
Ex Schultess-Rechberg Collection, auctioned by J. & A. Erbstein, in June 1869, lot 4408 (with original description ticket); Ex R. Vogel Collection, no. 5935; Illustrated in Money of The World, coin 92.

Realized $19,550

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