Freiberg Mint

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Margraviate of Meißen, Otto the Rich, Margrave of Meißen (1156–1190), bracteate (Hohlpfennig)

The mint Freiberg was highly likely, as is the mint of Leipzig , during the reign of Otto the Rich founded (1156-1190), but only 1,244 documented to have. With the establishment of the Dresden mint , Elector August (1553–1586) had all state coins closed. The state main mint in Freiberg had to cease operations in 1556.


The tasks of the Freiberg mint, which was most likely founded by Otto the Rich, Margrave of Meissen , arose from the Meissen mountain constitution, the Freiberg mining law , in which the obligation to deliver the silver was stipulated. The legal sentence “All silver belongs in the Freiberg mint” was written into the city law book. The mint master had to buy up the mountain silver at a price set by the sovereign and produce coins for it.

Bracteatic time

With the establishment of the city of Freiberg around 1162/1170, the first Meißnian mint soon came into being. The first documentary evidence, however, does not appear until 1244, when Henry the Illustrious (1221-1230-1288) donated a Seelgerät with six pound pfennigs (1 pound = 240 pieces) in the cathedral church in Meissen for his parents , which are collected from his Freiberg coin should. The first mint master known by name around 1289 was Nicolaus de Zibislawicz. He is proven as a ministerial and at the same time as Freiberg councilor and mint master.

Most of the Meissen bracteates , called denarius ( pfennig ) in their time , the regional pfennigs, were provided by the Freiberg Mint between 1170 and 1300. It had been the state main mint of the Meissnian-Saxon princes since the 13th century. The handling of the hollow pennies was regulated in Freiberg city law. After a year, the Freiberg Brakteatenpfennige, twelve old for nine or ten new ones, had to be exchanged. The old ones were declared invalid and replaced by new coins with new coin designs. However, if old Freiberg pfennigs were used to pay, the mint master was allowed to “break” the coins. They were then useless for trading. Anyone who came from another currency area to trade had to exchange the coins they had brought with them for common ones at a loss. The exchange fee was one of the income of the mint master.

In order to create stable conditions for trade and industry, it was mainly the trading cities that were interested in taking coinage into their own hands. Several cities took advantage of the opportunity to lease the mint or to purchase it in order to mint their own coin, the so-called Eternal Penny , which was not subject to the annual coin call . In the Meissen currency area, however, the limited validity of the pfennigs was sufficient, as the major part of trade was only regional, mostly only between village and town.

The regional penny period ended under Margrave Friedrich II (1323–1349).


Landgrave Friedrich the Peaceful (1406–1440), Meissner Groschen (Prince's Groschen), Freiberg
Margrave Friedrich the Arguable ,
Helmet Groschen 1405–1411, Freiberg
Elector Friedrich II. , Landgrave Friedrich , Duke Sigismund , Schildgroschen (1431/1436), Freiberg
Elector Ernst , Duke Albrecht , Duke Wilhelm III. , Horngroschen 1465, Freiberg
Elector Ernst, Duke Albrecht, Duke Wilhelm III, pointed groschen 1475, Freiberg
Elector Friedrich III. with his brother Johann and Duke Albrecht, half a sword coin 1492, Freiberg

After the penny currency was replaced by the Meissen groschen introduced by Margrave Friedrich II (1323–1349) around 1338/39 , the Freiberg coin was minted on a large scale based on the model of the Prague groschen , Meißner groschen , which had been minted in Bohemia since 1300 . When converting the currency in the Margraviate of Meissen , as in the Kingdom of Bohemia, Italian financial advisors were consulted. Two of them, Agostino (Augustin) and Nicolao (Nicolaus) of Florence , known as the whales , ran the mint as mint masters in Freiberg from 1364 to 1368. Probably the achievements of the last two mint masters, Henselin Schickel and Johannes Münzmeister, did not meet the expectations of the Wettin mint masters . The broad groschen of the two mint masters Augustin and Nicolaus von Florenz, which were minted in Freiberg until 1368, were particularly popular. They were later highlighted as "whale groschen" when offsetting, because it was the last Meißner groschen that were paid out on the basis of the value of the full Florentine guilder . The currency adjustment to the new, lighter Rhenish guilder as the basis for the Meissnian groschen currency took place in sections from 1368 to 1369. The new Meissen groschen, until around 1382 known as the wide groschen, became the leading monetary unit in Central Europe alongside the Prague groschen.

At the end of the 14th and 15th centuries, in addition to their main mint in Freiberg , the Wettins established other mints in Sangerhausen , Zwickau , Gotha , Leipzig, Weimar , Colditz , Wittenberg and Langensalza , some of which were only in operation temporarily. The Freiberg Mint remained the state's main mint until it was closed.

As a result of the high spending policy of Margrave Wilhelm I (1382–1407), the land and population were heavily burdened. In 1401 the margrave acquired the village of Kötzschenbroda with the first vineyards of the later Hoflößnitz and in 1402 the Colditz rule with 52 associated villages, in the same year he conquered Dohna Castle , which resulted in the loss of the original rule of the burgraves with all of their associated land . In addition to special tax levies, an increasing deterioration in the coin was the inevitable consequence. In 1406 Wilhelm I's Meissner groschen, the cross groschen, only contained 3.8 lot (0.237 f.) Silver. In terms of value, 53 pieces corresponded to the Rhenish guilder. The foreign cities countered the increasing deterioration of coins by counterstamping the still good Meissner groschen. It was not until 1412 that Frederick the Arguable (1381-1428) succeeded in stabilizing the groschen currency on the basis of 20 shield groschen on the Rhenish guilder. Around 1424, Friedrich, elector of Saxony since 1423, temporarily relocated the Freiberg mint to Gotha , presumably for security reasons ( Hussite wars ).

From 1353 to 1485, 60.5 tons of mountain silver were minted in Freiberg.

Groschen types and names

The following types of Meissnian-Saxon groschen were struck in Freiberg in the Groschen period from 1338/39 to 1500 (designation according to KRUG):

  • Width dimes , characterized by 1338/39 to 1382, show in quatrefoil the lily cross , on the opposite side of the rising to the left Meissner lions , from about 1369 the dime with cross motif are also called cross-dime.
  • The devalued, inferior Meissen groschen with the coin image like Broad Groschen, minted from around 1381 to around 1395, have no special designation.
  • Cross groschen , minted approximately from 1382 to 1407 with the coin image like a broad groschen, with a cross. The groschen were continuously minted with less value.
  • Princely groschen, minted from 1393 to 1411 with the coin image like Broad Groschen. In front of the lion rising to the left is the letter b , later f .
  • Thuringian or helmet groschen , minted from 1405 to 1411, in the quatrefoil there is the lily cross covered with a lion's shield, on the opposite side the Thuringian helmet small .
  • Shield groschen , minted from around 1405 to 1456, show in a quatrefoil variant the lily cross, on the reverse the large lion shield, surrounded by three five-petalled (1405-1409) or six-petalled roses (1409-1412). Another variant shows the lily cross, with a lion growing above it with a small Landsberg stake shield or only with the stake shield, on the opposite side the Meissen lion rising to the left, holding the Landsberg stake shield in front of it, is shown. Another type is of the same type as the one mentioned above, but with a small lion shield and a large lion shield on the back and also with a lion shield in a quatrefoil and a large lion shield on the back. The shield egg with the letter K and with the Mmz. The poppy head of the Freiberg Mint, minted in 1456, used to be mistakenly regarded as Katharinengroschen (see Groschen with an additional "K" ).
  • Schockgroschen (⅓ Schildgroschen), minted from 1432 to 1444 with the coin image like Broad Groschen.
  • Jewish head or bearded groschen , minted from 1444 to around 1451 as Oberwährgroschen , show the lily cross diagonally covered with a lion shield in quatrefoil, above the Landsberg stake shield, on the opposite side the Meissen niche helmet ornament with the so-called Jewish head.
  • New shock or 6 Heller groschen, minted from 1444 to around 1451 with the coin image like Broad Groschen, but the flower cross in quatrefoil is covered with a Landsberg stake shield.
  • Sword groschen , minted from 1457 to around 1464, show the Kur- and Rautenkranzschild , also transversely divided Kur- and Rautenkranzschild or just the Kurschild above the lily cross in the quatrefoil, on the opposite side the lion rising to the left holds the Landsberger pile shield.
  • Horn penny shaped 1465-1469, exhibit inclined-plate diamond ring with helmet and helmet covers the herzoglich Saxon crest, on the opposite side to the likewise inclined Lion Shield with helmet and helmet covers the Thuringian crest.
  • Pointed groschen minted from 1475 to 1478 show the large diamond-shaped wreath shield, slightly curved on one side, and the Landsberg pile shield on the opposite side within a pointed three-pass.
  • Half pointed groschen minted in 1475, show the diamond-shaped wreath shield within a pointed three-pass, on the opposite side the large lion shield.
  • Half sword groschen minted from 1482 to 1499, show the Kurschild within a pointed three passport, on the opposite side in the same border the Meißen-Landsberg shield divided up. All half sword groschen minted up to 1485 bear the year (14) 82.
  • Zinsgroschen from 1496, struck with and without the year, on the front side the diagonally or straight helmeted Kurschild with the Thuringian ornament, on the opposite side the diagonally or straight diamond wreath shield with the Saxon ornament.

Not mentioned herein meißnisch-Saxon Grosch types of Grosch time, the embossed French model Turnosegroschen (of 1457 in to 1461 Leipzig embossed), wholesale and diamond penny (of 1457 to about 1460 Gotha embossed), Bart penny (1492/93 in Zwickau and Snow Mountain minted) and Schreckenberger ( minted in Annaberg from 1498 ). The so-called Margarethengroschen are the Freiberg grosch types, shield groschen, sword groschen, 6 Heller groschen, pointed groschen and ½ pointed groschen, but all come from the Colditz mint.

In the Meissen penny period also are Heller and pennies been beaten in Freiberg.

The Meissnian guilder , which was used as an invoice coin until the 19th century, goes back to the Saxon coinage system of August 9, 1490, according to which the gold guilder in Saxony was set at 21 groschen.

Thaler time

Duke Georg , Guldengroschen 1530, Freiberg ( sole issue )
Elector Friedrich III. with Johann and Duke Georg, Zinsgroschen o. J. (1507 to 1511), Freiberg
Elector Moritz , Guldengroschen 1552, Freiberg
Mint and residence of Andreas Alnpeck, the last Freiberg mint master

The coin mandates of the Ernestine and Albertine lines of Saxony from May 1500, in which the transition to the large silver currency in the form of silver guilders to 7 Schreckenbergers or 21 interest groschen worth one full Rhenish gold guilder, resulted in the end of the Meissnian-Saxon groschen currency.

The first Saxon large silver coins, the so-called Klappmützentaler (gulden), were not minted in Freiberg in 1500, but in Annaberg and possibly in Wittenberg . The mints of Freiberg and Leipzig are demonstrably excluded; in Leipzig they were minted only in 1519 under mint master Ulrich Gebhardt. The Buchholz mint had only been in operation since 1505, the Schneeberg mint was closed from 1498 to 1501 and the Zwickau mint from 1493 to 1530. It was not until after 1525 that the Freiberg Mint minted large silver coins. Its fine silver content of 27.41 g corresponded in value to the gold value of the Rhenish gold guilder at the time . Despite the change of territories, forms of rulership and division of states, the mining town of Freiberg, including the mines and the mint, remained in the common possession of all Wettins until 1547 .

The coins of the mint

From 1500 until the mint closed in 1556, Heller, Pfennige, Dreier, Groschen, Spitzgroschen, Zinsgroschen, Schreckenberger, ⅛ Taler, ⅟ 4 Taler, ½ Taler, Taler (Guldengroschen), gold guilders, double ducats and double guilders were minted in Freiberg .

Location of the mint

The mint master Nicolaus Hausmann and his son Hans Hausmann, who had also been mayor of Freiberg since 1521, lived in Freiberg on Petergasse (today Petersstrasse), where the mint was moved from near the Nicolaikirche . Hans Weller, known as Molsdorf, mint master from 1540 to 1545, moved the mint to Burggasse (today Burgstrasse). The mint master and mayor of Freiberg, Andreas Alnpeck, had his apartment and the mint "in the large upper corner building on the market, on the left hand when you go to Petergasse". During his tenure in 1556, Elector August moved the mint to Dresden, although the council, citizenship, miners and miners had asked for it to be kept.

Relocation to Dresden

When he checked the coins in his mints in Freiberg, Annaberg and Schneeberg, Elector August found that the mint masters included the fine silver content, which, according to the regulations of the Saxon coinage system from 1549 ( coin base from 1549 to 1558) for the guldengroschen ( taler ) 14 Lot 8 Grän (= 902.78 / 1000) had been set, had reduced it without authorization. Size data for the reduction of the fineness were not known. The elector then had all state coins closed and transferred them to a single coin in Dresden, in the immediate vicinity of his residence palace , in order to be able to better monitor the correctness of the shot and grain . Another important reason for the closure of the Erzgebirge mints was the gradual decline in silver production in the mining districts after 1550. The main mint in Freiberg ceased operations in 1556. The new mint in Dresden became the central mint for the entire electorate.

Mint master of the Freiberg mint from 1353 (incomplete)

Mint master from to Mintmaster's mark comment
Nicolaus Manhoupt around 1353 1360 probably ancestor of Nicolaus Monhaupt (1449-1456)
Henczelin Schickel 1360 1364
Johannes Münzmeister and Brothers 1362 1364 Dresden citizens
Augustine and Nicholas of Florence 1364 1368 called the "whales"
Nicolaus and Johannes Hartusch 1368 1369
Franz and Nickel von Meideburg 1369 1380 (?)
Brothers Wigand and Henschel (Johannes) Ziegler 1369 1381 (?) Dresden citizens, ancestors of the Meissen noble family Ziegler
Nickel and Hannman Gruner 1369 1381
Nickel rogue mentioned in 1377 1381 (?)
Nyckel from Meideburg 1380 1401 from 1391 also in the Sangerhausen mint
Hanneman Gruner 1381 1390
Johannes Ziegler around 1381 1391
Wigand and Michael, sons of Johannes Ziegler around 1391 1392
Benil Bonholcz 1392 1393
Großechin and son Ulrich mentioned in 1393 1395
Petrus Bornis 1393 1411 with interruption
Franz Große 1402 1421 (?)
Hans Hesse 1412
Franz Wilde 1412 1413
Gabriel von Meideburg mentioned in 1420 1424 (?)
Hans von Meideburg 1421 1424 (?) 1424 to 1428 moved to Gotha
Liborius Senftleben 1428 1441 rosette
Hans Borner 1441 1449 Rosette, prickly rose, HB
Nicolaus Monhaupt 1449 1456 Poppy head
Hans and Paul Borner 1454 1459 Prickly rose
Paul Borner 1459 1461 half rose
Stephan Glasberg 1461 1465 Shamrock
Hans Arnold 1465 1488 Cross, H. Arn.
Heinz Martersteck 1465 1466 rosette next to mint master Hans Arnold
Nicolaus Hausmann 1490 1500 rosette
Hans Hausmann 1500 1541 lily
Hans Weller, otherwise known as Molsdorf 1540 1545 Linden leaf
Hans and Paul Weller 1546 cross
Andreas Alnpeck 1546 1556 until 1555 six-pointed star, from 1554 also eagle head Relocated to Dresden in 1556

Around 1540 the letters FREIB, FRIB, FRIBE were used to mark the mint.

See also


  • Walther Haupt : Saxon coinage . German Verl. D. Wiss., Berlin 1974, Berlin 1974.
  • Paul Arnold: Elector August (1553–1586) and the Saxon coinage . In: Numismatic Hefte No. 20, Dresden, 1986.
  • Paul Arnold: Walter Haupt and his "Sächsische Münzkunde" . In Numismatic Booklet No. 20, Dresden, 1986.
  • Julius Erbstein , Albert Erbstein : Discussions in the field of the Saxon coin and medal history when listing the Hofrath Engelhardt'schen collection , Dresden 1888.
  • Gerhard Krug: The Meissnian-Saxon Groschen 1338–1500 , Berlin 1974.
  • Freiberger Land (= values ​​of our homeland . Volume 47). 1st edition. Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1988.
  • Hans-Heinz Kaspar, Eberhard Wächtler : History of the Bergstadt Freiberg , Weimar 1986. Therein P. 57: Treasure formation, coin, long-distance trade
  • Arthur Suhle : German coin and money history from the beginning to the 15th century , Berlin 1968.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Walther Haupt: Sächsische Münzkunde . German Verl. D. Wiss., Berlin 1974, Berlin 1974, p. 30.
  2. ^ Walther Haupt: Sächsische Münzkunde . German Verl. D. Wiss., Berlin 1974, Berlin 1974 p. 29.
  3. ^ Walther Haupt: Sächsische Münzkunde . German Verl. D. Wiss., Berlin 1974, Berlin 1974, p. 32.
  4. Heinz Fengler, Gerd Gierow, Willy Unger: transpress Lexikon Numismatik , Berlin 1976, p. 87.
  5. coinarchives: . Frederick II (1323-1349), Margrave of Meissen, Wide dime, Freiberg. Oldest penny type.
  6. ^ Numismatischer Verein zu Dresden e. V. (Ed.): Dresden Numismatic Booklet, No. 1/1996. In it: Paul Arnold: The Genealogy of the Meißnisch-Saxon Princes , p. 10.
  7. ^ Walther Haupt: Sächsische Münzkunde . German Verl. D. Wiss., Berlin 1974, p. 74.
  8. coinarchives: Elector Friedrich II, Jews head penny 1444-1451, Freiberg..
  9. Half Pointed Groschen 1475, Mmz. Long-legged cross, Freiberg Mint .
  10. ^ Paul Arnold: Walther Haupt and his "Saxon Coin Studies" . In Numismatic Hefte No. 20, p. 54, Dresden, 1986.
  11. Cf. Julius and Albert Erbstein: Discussions in the field of Saxon coin and medal history when listing the Hofrath Engelhardt's collection , First Department 1485–1591, Dresden 1888.