Toys, Farm Tools And The Rest

Medieval Pfennig


      The pfennig was the precursor to the pence and the penny. It was a low denomination of coin, and most pfennigs were known as deniers, the basic coin used throughout the Medieval ages. The denier was based on the Roman denarius.
     As can be seen in the photographs, like most European pfennigs, this example consists of a paper-thin piece of silver, punched on one side with a die. Being produced from an individual piece of metal, cut by hand out of a thin sheet, rather than from a milled, uniformly shaped and sized planchet, the pfennig minted in the Medieval Ages was often odd-shaped with the stamped design off-center. The coin measures approximately 15 to 17mm in diameter.
     The design on this pfennig is of a unicorn. I have not yet been able to accurately date the coin. Of the only similar examples that I have found, one (which is claimed to also show a unicorn) was produced in Bavaria during the reign of Lugwig IV Der Bayer, dating to between 1302 and 1347. The other example, stated to be of a 'pachal lamb' has been identified as Austrian, and dated to the reign of Albert I, 1282-1308; it likewise is very difficult to identify as an animal. The example in this collection definitely shows a four legged animal with a horn protruding from its forehead: undoubtedly, a unicorn.