Coin and medal signature

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Signature of the Hustaler around 1537, Hieronymus Magdeburger workshop, one of the first signed German medals

The coin and medal signature features on coins and medals the work of Münzgraveurs, medalist and engraver name as author in the form of a signature . Additions after the signature indicate the amount of work involved in producing the medal or provide information about the template for the engraving.


In the fine arts , the signature is a name sign or the name of the artist to identify the authorship of his work. Signatures on coins have been around in ancient Greece since the 5th century BC. u. Currently available in individual cases.

Signatures only became common during the Renaissance and initially only on medals , for example on the Trinity medal from 1544 by the well-known Leipzig goldsmith Hans Reinhart the Elder or on the taler-shaped medal, the so-called Hustaler , which was first issued around 1537 to commemorate the death of the Bohemian Reformer Jan Hus was coined. The signature (H – R) of the Trinity medal was not embossed, but worked in deeper.

St on the arm section stands for the coin engraver Johann Friedrich Stieler. The Electoral Saxon thaler from 1763 comes from the Dresden mint . Stieler used the Signum S for Leipzig.
Iceland, 2 Krónur undated (1930), millennium of the Icelandic state, signed on both sides, Muldenhütten mint
Bayern, Ludwig II., Taler 1871, signed J. RIES (Johann Adam Ries) and on the opposite side with VOIGT (Karl Friedrich Voigt), joint work.

They did not appear again on coins until the 17th and 18th centuries, for example on the broad Schautaler struck from 1681/83 under Friedrich I (1675–1691), Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, signed with the letters IGS ( JG Sorberger, coin engraver of the Gothaer Münze ) or on Kurpfälzischen coins as AS or S. for the coin engraver Anton Schäffer as well as on Electoral Saxon coins of the mint Dresden as St and the mint Leipzig as S for the coin engraver Johann Friedrich Stieler.

Signatures on coins only became more common from the 19th century . examples are

  • the L (Loos) in the arm section of the bust on Prussian Friedrich d'ors from 1800 to 1814
  • the signature ST. SCHWARTZ under the neck section of the image on Bulgarian coins for 1 lev
and 2 leva from 1910
  • the signature A. BOVY on the edge of the image of the Swiss 5- franc coins from 1850 to 1851
  • the letters BB (Baldvin Bjornsson) in the lower right under the enthroned female figure and on the opposite side in front of the Viking TM (Tryggvi Magnusson) of the Icelandic coin for 2 Krónur undated (1930).

Also on euro coins that Luc Luyckx designed, there is a signature (LL).

The signature on coins and medals is located in the bust section of the portrait or in the neck section of the head picture, below the floor line of a scene and in other mostly hidden places and consists of letters that are smaller than those in the legend . A signature on the front and another on the back indicate the collaborative work of the named artists.

Risk of confusion

Basically there is between

  • Mint marks (mint marks ), which usually consist of only one letter,
  • the mintmaster's mark to indicate that the mintmaster was properly minted
  • and the coin and medal signature.

There is a risk of confusion, for example, if the mint master has hidden his mark or designed it as a monogram, as is more the case with the artist's signature. One example of this is the Weidenbaumtaler with the intricate mint master's mark “TS” by Terenz Schmidt, the mint master of the Kassel mint (1621–1634).

Exceptionally, however, it can happen that the mint master's mark and the signature of the die cutter are identical on one coin. For example, coins from the Electorate of the Palatinate with the mint mark “AS”. These are the signature and at the same time the mint master's mark of the Electoral Palatinate court medalist, mint die cutter and mint master Anton Schäffer in one person. As an example, see the illustration of the river gold ducat from 1763.

Temporal classification of undated issues

Sometimes the year of issue is missing on coins or medals. A known signature of the die cutter can be important for the determination of an undated piece. One example is the signature on the Gluckhennentaler , with which the chronological classification and thus also the reason for the coinage can be proven.

Additions behind signatures

Medal by Jean Dassier undated (1731), signed I. DASSIR F (ecit). Oliver Cromwell, Lordprotector 1653–1658 (see also Cromwelltaler )

The usual formula for making the Medailleus is fecit , usually with fec. or f. abbreviated. That is, the named artist made the model or cut the stamp . Sometimes the client of the medal is also called fieri fecit . If there are two or more signatures on one side of the coin, different additions (formulas), such as fecit and invenit or perfecit etc. are added to the signatures . This means that the person named in the respective signature created the medal ( fecit ), the drawing template for the model comes from the artist ( invenit ) or has completed the medal ( perfecit ). The completion of the medal means that the casting was carried out by the named person.

An often cited example of the coincidence of the three production formulas fecit, invenit and perfecit is provided by the Nuremberg Town Hall Medal from 1619: “Jacob Wolff inv., G. Holdermann f., Ie. Berckhausen perf ".

Ad vivum in connection with fecit means that it is a portrait engraved after life . If a bust was used as a template for the medal, the name of the sculptor is followed by skulpsit and that of the medalist is followed by fecit . The abbreviation dir has sometimes appeared since the 19th century . as an addition behind a signature to name the owner of the medal mint.


Abbreviations on medals Formula (Latin) meaning
fec .; f .; FEC .; F. fecit made (the medal)
inv. invenit invented (the medal)
perf .; PERF. perfecit has completed (the medal)
ad viv .; AV ad vivum after life (engraved portrait)
sculpsite made the bust (after which the medal was created)
to you.; TO YOU. direxit had (the medal) prepared


Reference to the client of the coin in the legend

These are not additions to artist signatures. The addition “fieri fecit” names the mint owner as the client of a coin. Sometimes it appears as part of the legend on older talers with:


Individual evidence

  1. Heinz Fengler, Gerd Gierow, Willy Unger: transpress Lexikon Numismatik , Berlin 1976, p. 91.
  2. ^ Friedrich von Schrötter, N. Bauer, K. Regling, A. Suhle, R. Vasmer, J. Wilcke: Dictionary der Münzkunde , Berlin 1970 (reprint of the original edition from 1930) p. 190.
  3. ^ Walther Haupt: Sächsische Münzkunde . German Verl. D. Wiss., Berlin 1974, Berlin 1974, p. 275