Presentation Coin (Doppelguldiner) Showing Maximilian I (1459–1519)
Ulrich Ursentaler (Austrian, Hall, recorded 1508–35, Master of the Mint (Münz–Weister) at Hall in 1535)
minted, 1517; dies cut and dated, 1509
Flemish, Antwerp; dies cut in Hall, Austria
Diam. 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm); thickness 1/8 in. (0.3 cm); Wt. 1.9 oz. (53.9 g)
Miscellaneous-Coins and Medals
Gift of George D. Pratt, 1926
Not on view
Presentation coins were usually designed by court artists and given by princes as rewards or political gifts, or disseminated as propaganda. This coin was struck to commemorate the coronation of Maximilian I (1459–1519) as Holy Roman Emperor in 1508, reinforcing the emperor's dynastic claims to power through heraldry, inscriptions, and his depiction in full armor astride a fully barded horse, all elements elaborately decorated. The bard is of a type that appears to have been an invention and specialty of one of Maximilian's court armorers, Lorenz Helmschmid (rec. 1467–1515/16) of Augsburg. Its most notable feature is the armor for the horse's legs, protecting each with a system of articulated plates down to the fetlock. Such an extensive bard was in all likelihood only used for ceremonial purposes. Reflecting artistic sophistication, wealth, and power, it ideally complements the purpose of this presentation coin. The present example belongs to a second edition, struck at Antwerp in 1517.
Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
Inscription: Inscribed on the border of the obvers: MAXIMILIANVS • DEI • GRA • ROM • IMP • SEMP • AVG • ARCHIDVX • AVSTRIE (Maximilian, by God's Grace Sublime Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria); on the lower border of the horse armor: HALT MAS (Restrain Yourself), the motto of the chivalric Order of Temperance; below the horse: 1509; on the border of the reverse: PLVRIVMQ • EVROPE • PROVINCIAR • REX • ET • PRINCEPS • POTENTISIM (King and Most Powerful Ruler of Most European Provinces).
George D. Pratt (until 1926; his gift to MMA).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Armored Horse in Europe," February 15, 2005–January 15, 2006, no. 3.
Die Gotthard Minus'sche thaler- & medaillensammlung. die Adolph Preiss'sche sammlung von münzen und medaillen der baltischen provinzen...einer sammlung von contrefaits-medaillen des XVI jahrhunderts. Vienna: Brüder Egger, 1874. no. 23.
Pyhrr, Stuart W., Donald J. La Rocca, and Dirk H. Breiding. The Armored Horse in Europe, 1480–1620. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005. pp. 31–32, no. 3, ill.