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Wardein , also Guardein , (Latin guardianus "watchman, guardian") is the title of an official who examined the ores and coins in the Middle Ages and early modern times. Depending on the main focus there was the Erzwardein (also Erzprobierer ), who examined the ores, and the Mint , who had to examine the coins. The term “mountain cross-checker” was also common.

General information about the profession

The job title comes from the French gardien "overseer". The term was translated into German via the northern French wardien and the Dutch wardijn (where it is related to the term "Wärter" - see also English "warden" - both in terms of content and acoustics) and replaced the original terms Probierer, Hüter and Aufzieher. Initially, the profession of wardein came from mining . Wardeine used to be chemists in mining and smelting works and had extensive metallurgical knowledge. They were often goldsmiths and also had to master the cutting of gold-silver alloys ( Güldischsilber ).


The mountain aradein was a mining official who checked the ores and determined their content of usable metals. He acted on the orders of the Mining Authority and carried out several measurements to determine the metal content. These investigations were necessary so that the smelters could adjust the smelting process accordingly.

Since the work of the tester was a very responsible task, he was sworn in by the mountain judge. In the event of disputes between the trades and the smelters, the ore sampler was called in as an impartial expert and examined the ore samples. Its results were binding for both parties.


The Münzwardein examined the coins for their fineness of the metals or alloys used. He was also responsible for checking the mint master , the minted goods and their quality, as well as the alloy and weight. The Münzwardein was commissioned by the minters and thus in an official role in the fineness control of precious metals and precious metal goods in the trade. He manufactured coin weights (pieces of weight made of brass or copper for checking or reweighing gold coins) and was often also the custodian of embossing iron when the mint was inactive.

Precise tasting regulations and laws existed for the work of the coinage already in the 16th century. The first tasting instructions were drawn up by the coin guard Lazarus Ercker and were considered the standard work of metal analysis in the 16th century. Most of the Münzwardeine developed and built their measuring tools, such as the analytical scales, themselves. These scales had to be so precise that even the best Augsburg or Nuremberg locals were not enough for the weighing process.

Since the supervision of the coinage in the kingdom according to the imperial coinage in from I. Maximilian created Reich circles was that Ward One of these circles were also circle Ward One or Kreismünzwardeine called.


In Vienna (today the 6th district, Mariahilf ), Münzwardeingasse was named in 1862 after the property acquired by Sigmund Hammerschmid († 1703) in 1663. Hammerschmid was an imperial mint in the Vienna mint, his property, including a garden, originally extended from Gumpendorfer Strasse to Mollardgasse, and a factory building was built on it in 1890.


  • Christian Karl Schindler: The secret coin guard and mountain tester. Johann Jacob Winklern, Frankfurt 1705. ( Online )

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wardein from Lexicon 88 (last accessed on January 10, 2013).
  2. Journal of the Historical Association for Lower Saxony , 1902, p. 28 et al .; partly online via Google books.
  3. Bergwardein (last accessed on January 10, 2013).
  4. ^ Christian Heinrich Gottlieb Hake: Commentary on mining law . Kommerzienrath JE v. Seidel art and bookstore, Sulzbach 1823.
  5. Magazin der Bergbaukunde. First part, Walterische Hofbuchhandlung, Dresden 1785.
  6. Helmut Kahnt, Bernd Knorr: Old dimensions, coins and weights. A lexicon. Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1986, licensed edition Mannheim / Vienna / Zurich 1987, ISBN 3-411-02148-9 , p. 389.
  7. Peter Hammer: Tasting rules to guarantee the Saxon denarii, groschen and taler . In: Reports of the Federal Geological Institute. Volume 35, Vienna 1996, ISSN  1017-8880 , pp. 159-163. Online (last accessed on January 10, 2013; PDF; 559 kB).
  8. ^ List of street names in Vienna / Mariahilf
  9. ^ Münzwardeingasse in the Vienna History Wiki of the City of Vienna