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Aachen 1 groschen coin

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Aachen Mariengroschen 1491
1491 coin
General information

Black St George's Cross Free Imperial City of Aachen
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor with haloes (1400-1806) Holy Roman Empire


1 groschen


14th century1491

Measurements and composition

1.32–4 g





  • Mid-length cross (14th c.)
  • Long cross, Aachen eagle (14th c.)
  • Long cross, date (1372-1375)
  • Mid-length cross, date (1402-1405)
  • Short cross, date (1410-1490)
  • Coat of arms of Aachen (1491)
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The 1 groschen coin was first issued by the Free Imperial City of Aachen, a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire, during the 14th century. At least two main types were produced before dated Turnosegroschens were introduced in 1372. Such coins continued to display dates until 1490, making Aachen the first entity to regularly place Anno Domini dates on coinage. The last 1 groschen coin of Aachen was a Mariengroschen from 1491, also dated. All groschens from the imperial city are round in shape, composed of silver, and weigh between 1.32 and 4 grams.


Non-dated coins (1356-1393)Edit

Aachen groschen with standing Charlemagne

The coin showing Charlemagne standing

The first groschen issued by Aachen was produced between 1356 and 1361, during the reign of Duke William I of the neighboring Jülich. The coin features in the center of its obverse a standing, crowned figure of Charlemagne (Charles the Great or Charles I), who reigned as the first Holy Roman Emperor from 800 to 813 and resided in Aachen. In his left hand (at the right) he holds a globus cruciger, an orb with a cross at the top used to symbolize authority, and in his right (at the left) he carries a scepter. His depiction extends from the bottom to the top of the coin, breaking through the circular border enclosing much of the image. Underneath the hand holding the globus cruciger is the coat of arms of Aachen, which consists of a single-headed eagle in an escutcheon. The Latin legend "SCS: KAROLVS: MAGH: IMPOR", a shortened form of "Sanctus Karolus Magnus Imperator" (English: "Holy Emperor Charles the Great"), is inscribed around the circumference of the obverse, starting at the top right and ending at the upper left. The reverse features a circle in the center, surrounded by an inner and outer ring. Superimposed above the circle and the inner ring is a mid-length cross symbolizing Christianity, that separates the text in the inner ring. This ring contains the legend "MONETA AQVENS" (short for "Moneta Aquensis"), signifying the coin was produced at the Aachen Mint. In the outer ring is the text "VRBS: AQVENSIS: REGALIS: SEDES" (short for "Urbus Aquensis Regalis Sedes"), which translates from Latin as "City of Aachen, Regal Seat".

Another non-dated groschen coin of Aachen was introduced during the reign of William II of Jülich, between 1362 and 1393. An illustration of a kneeling, crowned Charlemagne holding the Aachen Cathedral in his hands is featured in the center of the obverse, with Charlemagne's legs and the tips of the cathedral extending beyond the circular boundary surrounding much of the image. Encircling the entire depiction, near the coin's rim, is the Latin text "SCS: KAROLVS: MAGH: IMPOR", which is also present on the obverse of the earlier non-dated groschen. Also like the older coin, the legend begins at the upper right and ends at the upper left. Like the reverse of the 1356-1361 groschen, a circle is featured in the center of the reverse and is surrounded by both an inner and outer ring. Superimposed above it is a long cross that interrupts the legends in both rings. The eagle from the coat of arms of Aachen is present in the upper right angle of the circle, where it is tilted at about a forty-five degree angle. Like on the earlier non-dated coin, the inner rim reads "MONETA AQVENS" while the outer rim shows "VRBS: AQVENSIS: REGALIS: SEDES".

Dated groschens featuring Charlemagne (1372–1490)Edit

Aachen groschen 1374

A 1374 groschen with a normal date

The first dated groschen coins of Aachen, sometimes, albeit rarely, referred to as "Juncheitsgroschens", were produced at the mint in Jungheit, a former borough near Aachen, in 1372. Such coins were then made annually until 1375. Of these, however, only coins dated 1374 and 1375 are currently believed to be collectible, as the 1372 and 1373 coins are believed to no longer be extant. The only known coin type with an earlier Anno Domini date, the 1234 denier of Roskilde, is only on display in museums. As a result, numismatists generally refer to the 1374 groschen as the first collectible AD-dated coin. The pieces made from 1372 to 1375 feature in their centers a slightly right-facing portrait of a crowned Charlemagne holding a globus cruciger in his left hand (at the right) and a scepter in his right (at the left). His likeness is enclosed within a circle. Inscribed around the coin's rim outside of the circle is the Latin legend "KAROLVS: MAGNVS: INPERAT" (English: "Emperor Charles the Great"), which is interrupted at the bottom of the coin by the coat of arms of Aachen. The reverse of the coin, like its predecessors, shows a circle surrounded by two rings. Superimposed above is a long cross that extends to the rims of the coin and separates the legends in the rings, similar to the one found on the coin corresponding to the reign of Duke William II of Jülich. The text in the inner ring reads "MONETA IVNCHEIT", indicating that the coin was struck at Jungheit. In the outer ring of the coins produced from 1372 to 1374 is the legend "XC: VINCI(T) XC: REGN(A) AN DNI" followed by the date in Roman numerals, while the one from 1375 tends to bear the words "XP: VINC XP: REGN ANO DNI" followed by the date. The beginning of both legends is an abbreviated form of "Christus vincit, Christus regnat", which translates to "Christ conquers, Christ reigns". The "AN DNI" and "ANO DNI" signify the term "Anno Domini". The 1372 coin bore the date "MCCCLXXII", and the 1373 coin displayed "MCCCLXXIII", and the 1374 piece typically shows "MCCCLXXIIII" while the 1375 groschen normally features "MCCCLXXV". There are a few examples from 1374 with the error date "MCGLXXIIII", and there are a handful from 1375 with either "XCCCLXXV" or "MCCCXXV".

Aachen groschen 1405

A 1405 groschen

After nearly 25 years, the groschen was reintroduced in Aachen in 1402 and minted until 1405. Such coins are very similar in appearance to their dated predecessors, but have a few differences. The image of Charlemagne on the obverse appears more simplified, and is shown facing or facing slightly to the left. Also, the legend on the obverse is written as "SCS: KAROL: MAGNVS: I(M)PERAT" instead of "KAROLVS: MAGNVS: INPERAT". Additionally, the coin of 1402 to 1405 has a mid-length cross on its reverse that only interrupts the legend in the inner ring, which reads "MONETA VRB AQVN" (short for "Moneta Urbus Aquensis") and signifies production at Aachen instead of Jungheit. Finally, the religious motto from the first dated groschens is not present in the outer ring, and the legend instead solely shows the date of minting, usually starting with "ANNO: DOMINI: MILLESIMO", "millesimo" being the Latin word for the date "1000". The standard 1402 coin bears the date "MILLESIMO: CCCC: SECVNDO", the 1403 features "MILLESIMO: CCCC: TERCIO", the 1404 shows "MILLESIMO: CCCC: QVARTO", and the 1405 displays "MILLESIMO: CCCC: QVINTO". A largely undocumented transitional coin from 1402 uses an "M" instead of "MILLESIMO" in the date, and an error of the transitional coin bears the date "M: CCC: SECVNDO". Only two specimens of the former are verified to exist: one is part of a private collection and the other is in possession of a museum in Dresden. Numismatist Albert Romer Frey reports a 1406 groschen in The Dated European Coinage Prior to 1501, but many contemporary numismatists, including author Robert Levinson, question its existence.

Aachen groschen 1419

A 1419 groschen

A third series of dated groschens from Aachen was issued from 1410 to 1413, again from 1418 to 1422, in 1425, and in 1429. Julius Menadier reports a 1409 coin and a 1430 piece in Die Aachener Münzen, but due to the unreliable references, they have not yet been verified and their existence remains questionable. The designs featured on the groschens from this time period differ from those on the previous dated coins. The obverse features a facing image of Charlemagne similar to that found on its early 15th century predecessors, but instead of holding a sceptre in his right hand (at the left), Charlemagne holds the Aachen Cathedral instead. The tips of the cathedral and the emperor's crown extend outside the circle containing much of the illustration. Also, the legend on the obverse reads either "SCS: KAROL: MAG: IPERATO" or "SCS: KAROL: MAG: INPERAT". Like the earlier coins, a circle is engraved in the center of the reverse and is surrounded by two rims, but the cross in the center of the coins made from 1410 to 1429 does not extend past the circle or interrupt any of the legends. The inner rim contains the text "MONETA: VRB: AQV(E)S" while the outer rim features the legend "ANNO: DOMINI" followed by the date. The 1410 piece bears the date "MILLESIMO: CCCC: DEC", the 1411 "MILLESIMO: CCCC: VND", the 1412 "MILLESIMO: CCCC: XII", the 1413 "MILLESIMO: CCCC: XIII", the 1418 "MILLESIMO: CCCC: XVIII", the 1419 "MILESIMO: CCCC: XIX", the 1420 "MILESIMO: CCCC: XX", the 1421 "MILESIMO: CCCC: XXI", the 1422 "MILESIMO: CCCC: XXII", the 1425 "MILESIMO: CCCC: XXV", and the 1429 "MILESIMO: CCCC: XXIX". Of these dates, the 1425 is the most rare. Previously questioned of its existence, the 1425 groschen is now confirmed as a unique piece in the hands of a private collector.

Aachen groschen 1490

A 1490 groschen

The last period when groschen coins bearing Charlemagne's likeness were produced was from 1489 to 1490. The design of these coins does not differ much from the 1410 to 1429 groschens, but Charlemagne's portrait is a bit more stylized, his entire head breaks into the area of the legend, and the cathedral he is holding takes up more of the space outside of the inner circle than on the previous coins. Also, the legend reads "S: KAROL: MA: IPERA", the shortest version of "Sanctus Karolus Magnus Imperator" to ever appear on groschens of Aachen. The reverse does not differ very much, the only changes being the "ANO: DNI" abbreviation of "ANNO DOMINI" in the date and the presence of the abbreviation "AQVN" for "Aquensis" rather than "AQV(E)S". The 1489 coin bears the date "MILESIMO: CCCC: LXXXIX" while the 1490 piece shows "MILESIMO: CCCC: LXXXX".

Dated Mariengroschen (1491)Edit

Aachen Mariengroschen 1491 Menadier

1491 Mariengroschen

The final 1 groschen coin of the Free Imperial City of Aachen (pictured above) was introduced in 1491. It is typically referred to as a "Mariengroschen" because Mary (or Madonna), the mother of Jesus according to the Christian Bible and Islamic Qur'an, is featured in the center of the obverse. On her head is a crown that extends into the area of the legend at the top of the coin, and in her hands is an infant Jesus, shown with his head glowing to represent holiness and wisdom. Encircling the illustration around the rim is the Latin "AVE: REGNA: SELORV: MATER: REGIS: AGELO(R)", a shortened form of "Ave Regina Caelorum Mater Regis Angelorum", which translates to English as "Hail, Queen of Heaven and Mother of the King of Angels". The coat of arms of Aachen is displayed in the center of the reverse, superimposed over a flowery cross that extends outside of the circular border the arms is enclosed within, and interrupts the legend, which reads "VRBS: AQVENSIS: REGNI: SECES" and is followed by the date, printed as "1Gothic 491" instead of in Roman numerals like its predecessors.

See alsoEdit


Template:Aachen coins

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