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The 1 florin coin is a coin of Heid, a former lordship headquartered at the Haus Heyden in Richterich, north of the German city of Aachen. It was struck in two main types during the rule of Baron Gothard von Bongart (c. 1300–1373), which lasted from 1342 to 1373. It had the value of one Rhenish gulden, or 18½ Weisspfennig, prior to demonetization.
The piece is a local imitation of fiorino d'oro introduced by the Republic of Florence in 1252, bearing virtually the same composition and measurements. It is made of nominally .99 fine gold, weighs approximately 3.51 grams, and measures approximately 20 millimeters in diameter. Like most coins, the florin of Heid is round in shape.
The designs included on the coin are similar to those of the initial fiorino d'oro. A fleur-de-lis, a symbol of Florence, is featured in the center of the obverse on the florin of Heid, like on the original Italian coin. However, in place of the Latin text "FLORENTIA" (English: "Florence"), which is engraved along the Florentine coin's rim, local legends are instead used on the piece of Heid. These local legends extend in a clockwise direction along the piece's outer periphery, traveling from the upper right to upper left rims. "GOED HEIDE·", a shortened form of the Latin Goedard Heidensis or the German Goedart (von) Heide, both translating as "Gothard of Heid", is included on one of the two florins of Heid, the two words separated by the fleur-de-lis. A cross pattée (✠) is also placed near the rim, above the "G" in the text. Another florin type reads "IN HEIDE· SGO", which like the "GOED HEIDE" legend, identifies Heid as the coin's origin and Gothard as its ruler. On this second inscription, the fleur-de-lis divides the first three letters in "HEIDE" ("HEI") from the final two ("DE"). Displayed in the middle of the types' reverses, as on the initial Florentine coin, is a facing, bearded depiction of John the Baptist, a prophet in Christianity, Islam, and other Abrahamic religions, and the patron saint of Florence. He is shown standing with a halo around his head, wearing a cilice and belt, and holding a scepter with a cross at the tip in his left hand (at the right side of the coin). The text "·S· IOHANNES B", abbreviated for Sanctus Iohannes Baptista (English: "Saint John the Baptist"), is engraved along the rim of the piece in the same direction as the legend on the obverse. John's legs separate the first four letters of "IOHANNES" ("IOHA") in the inscription from the final four ("NNES"). An eagle privy mark is featured after the legend, between the "B" and John's head.
The total mintages of the two types are currently unknown. Both are considered rare, although the coin reading "GOED HEIDE·" is much more documented than its counterpart.
In 1849, Charles Piot (1812–1899), a Belgian historian and numismatist, published his Essai sur les monnaies des seigneurs de Heinsberg ("Essay on the coins of the lords of Heinsberg") in that year's Revue belge de numismatique ("Belgian Journal of Numismatics"). As the title of the work implies, Piot's essay includes information concerning the coins of the Lordship of Heinsberg, an early state of the Holy Roman Empire located around the German city of Heinsberg. In his work, Piot erroneously includes the florin of Heid bearing the legend "GOED HEIDE", and misattributes it to Lord Gottfried III (1352–1395) of Loon and Heinsberg. Gottfried, a contemporary, neighbor, and ally of Gothard von Bongart, ruled from 1361 to his death in 1395. Piot intimated that the "HEIDE" on the coin was a misspelling, as the engravers of Gottfried III's coins are known to have incorrectly spelled words on at least one other piece from his reign as well. For decades after the publication of Piot's essay, the florin continued to be wrongly attested to Gottfried III.
Around 1895, numismatist Jacques Schulman acquired and subsequently examined the coin in question, and published his findings in 1896 in the Revue belge de numismatique in an article entitled Restitution d'un florin d'or à Goedard (Gothard), Seigneur de Heijden ("Restitution of a gold florin to Gothard, Lord of Heyden"). Schulman noted that the engraving of the florin, particularly that around the lettering, was finely carved, and suggested that a first-class worker likely made the piece. He reassigned the piece to Gothard von Bongart of Heid, who has since become widely accepted as the monarch mentioned on the obverse.
The florin reading "IN HEIDE SGO" was first recorded in 1899 in Paul Joseph's Ein bisher unbekannter Floren Godarts Herrn von der Heide ("A previously unknown florin of Gothard, Lord of Heide"), submitted to the Frankfurter Münzblättern. Unlike the other florin type, this rarer piece was originally assigned in text to the small lordship of Heid.
- Gold Coins of the World: From Ancient Times to the Present : an Illustrated Standard Catalog With Valuations
- Hamburger, Leo. Sammlung des Herrn Paul Joseph in Frankfurt a. M. (1912). p. 4
- Menadier, Julius. Die Aachener Münzen (1913). pp. 183-185
- Piot, Charles. Essai sur les monnaies des seigneurs de Heinsberg (1849)
- Schulman, Jacques. Restitution d'un florin d'or à Goedard (Gothard), Seigneur de Heijden (1896)
- Florin (Italian coin) on the English Wikipedia
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