By Mike Byers for Mint Error News ……
This unique, historical and museum-quality set of gold Coronation Die Trial Strikes was just authenticated and certified by PCGS. It is amazing that, after 500 years, these gold die trials have remained together, intact and preserved in gem Mint State condition. They are five or 10 Ducat size in diameter.
The Matthias II Obverse Trial Strike is the plate coin in Forschner, listed as #34.1 gold, with a diameter of 37 mm. The other die trial, of his wife Anna, is also the plate coin in Forschner, listed as #34.3 gold, with a diameter of 36 mm. The Forschner numismatic reference book on medals is referenced by both PCGS and NGC for attribution and listing the Forschner # on the inserts.
Matthias II of Austria (February 24, 1557- March 20, 1619) was crowned King of Hungary and Croatia in 1608. He was also King of Bohemia in 1611, as well as the Archduke of Austria. He was Head of the House of Habsburg.
Matthias II reigned from June 13, 1612, to March 20, 1619, as the Holy Roman emperor. These gold obverse die trials commemorate his coronation and likely were presented to Matthias for his approval prior to striking the coronation medals. It’s unbelievable that after centuries of war, barbaric times and world instability, these even exist today!
The electors, located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany but part of the empire at that time, authorized and minted coins and medals to celebrate coronations and the accession to the position of Holy Roman emperor. Frankfurt am Main was a free city and only accountable to the Holy Roman emperor. The monarch who would receive the coronation at the hands of the pope was elected by the electors.
Electors were members of the Electoral College that elected Matthias II as the Holy Roman emperor in 1612. The Mint struck these two gold die trials of the obverse portraits of Matthias and Anna, and eventually struck the actual gold medals–which are extremely rare, usually seen in circulated and/or damaged condition.
In 1618, during the last year of Matthias reign as the Holy Roman emperor, the Thirty Years War broke out in Europe. It was one of the most destructive wars in history, starting as a war between Protestants and Catholics but evolving into a major, full-scale European war, resulting in millions of deaths and transforming the continent. The Holy Roman Empire eventually became what is known as Austria and Hungary today.
The Matthias II Obverse Trial Strike is the plate coin in Forschner, listed as #34.1 gold, with a diameter of 37 mm.
Gold coins and gold medals of Matthias II and of Matthias as the Holy Roman emperor are extremely rare and seldom seen. Many are often damaged, especially in the larger denominations of the 4 Ducat, 5 Ducat, 10 Ducat, and gold coronation medals.
In Freidberg, under the listing of “Germany Frankfurt am Main”, gold coins from 1612-1618 during the short reign of Matthias II (Freidberg #947-957) are designated as very rare and are unpriced.
In The Standard Catalog of World Coins (Krause) the ND 1612 Matthias 3 Ducat (KM #43) is listed as rare and unpriced. The 5 Ducat (KM #44) is also listed as rare and unpriced.
The other die trial, of his wife Anna, is also the plate coin in Forschner, listed as #34.3 gold, with a diameter of 36 mm.
Heritage Auctions only shows one Matthias large size gold coin, a 4 Ducat medal (Forschner #21) that sold for $18,800 USD. It was also a 1612 commemorative gold coin celebrating his coronation and rise to Holy Roman emperor. It was certified UNC by NGC but was damaged (mount removed).
Stack’s Bowers sold a Matthias gold medal “Seize and Captured Graw” from Hungary in 1605 for $19,550. It was 49.5 MM and was in VF condition, uncertified, with damage (heated edges).
Stack’s Bowers also sold a German State Frankfurt am Main 5 Ducat ND 1612 commemorating the election of Matthias as the Holy Roman emperor. It was 32.2 MM, with two known, realizing $60,000. It is certified in VF condition, with damage (graffiti in the obverse fields).
In another Stack’s Bowers auction, they sold an Austria Vienna 10 Ducat, 32.8 MM, of Matthias 1612 in EF condition, uncertified, realizing $23,000 with damage (two carved X’s in the obverse fields).
As documented above, most of the large Ducat gold coins and gold coronation medals of Matthias, whether for his coronation as king or for his accession to the throne of the Holy Roman Empire, are very circulated and damaged, selling in the 20k to 60k USD range in public auctions.
Recently, in a Künker German Coin auction, a non-damaged 10 Ducat 1619 of Matthias II from Vienna, Austria in Good to Very Fine condition but not certified by either PCGS or NGC, sold for approximately $164,650.
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Very few gold medals of the coronations of European kings have the fascination, uniqueness, and excitement of these two gold obverse die trials. Additionally, the die trials also celebrate Matthias’ ascension as the Holy Roman emperor. They are historically significant and numismatically important.
These two unique and PCGS-certified Matthias Gold Obverse Die Trial strikes defy logic and history, both surviving 500 years in Gem condition. They belong in the finest European collection of gold coins, in a world-class collection of numismatic treasures, or in a major museum showcasing their history and significance.