Coin marking a turning point in European history goes under the hammer



2015-06-26 12:31:17

Coin marking a turning point in European history goes under the hammer

The Holy Roman Empire coin marks the crucial union of Maximilian and Maria of Burgundy

As we've reported, two of the highlights in Classical Numismatic Group's Ancient, World, and British Coins and Antiquities online auction on September 14 are an extraordinarily well-struck and preserved papal state medal and an allegorical Swiss Bullinger medal.

However, it isn't just beautiful gold coins which will fascinate numismatists. A coin of the Holy Roman Empire marking a period of political intrigue will intrigue more historically-orientated coin collectors.

This shows Maximilian I & Maria von Burgund as the Duke and Duchess of Austria and Burgundy. In good very fine condition with a brown patina, it has light scratches on the reverse and has been pierced.

The union of Maria, the daughter of Charles the Bold and Duchess of Burgundy, with Maximilian, the son of the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick III, and future Holy Roman Emperor himself, was the result of much political intrigue.

The affair resulted in the establishment of the Habsburgs as the preeminent political family in Europe.

Maximilian Austria coin Maximilian of the Holy Roman Empire, facing right

The untimely death of Charles the Bold in early 1477 left his ninteen-year-old daughter, Maria, the heiress of the sizable and far-reaching Duchy of Burgundy.

Hoping to make inroads into the Burgundian Netherlands, Louis XI of France claimed the entire duchy on the grounds of the old Salic Law, which excluded females from the inheritance of a throne or fief.

He proposed that Maria be betrothed to the Dauphin, an arrangement which Maria rejected. Advised by her step-mother, Margaret of York, the sister of both Edward IV and Richard III of England, Maria appealed to the Netherlands for assistance.

In return, she was compelled to grant a number of concessions. Following her "Joyous Entry" into Ghent in February 1477, Maria signed the Great Privilege, a document laying out these concessions and one of the first steps on the road to Dutch independence.

Maria of Burgundy The young heiress, Maria of Burgundy

In the meantime, the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick III, had begun proposing his son, Maximilian, as a possible suitor. Not wanting to ally herself with the French, Maria accepted Maximilian as her choice, marrying him in August 1477.

Maximilian proved an effective husband and political ally. He stabilised the situation in the Netherlands, creating a bond between the Habsburgs and the populace.

In addition, the son of Maximilian and Maria, Philip the Handsome, would marry Juana, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. Their son, Charles (who was born in Ghent), would succeed Ferdinand as King of Spain in 1506, and Maximilian in 1519 as Holy Roman Emperor.

The coin will sell with a very modest listing of $2,000.

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