Centuries-old coins that probably belonged to rich 17th-century mayor unearthed in Germany

By Jurassic JennJun 13, 2024 13:37 PMScience
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Centuries-old coins found in Germany
Centuries-old coins found in Germany. Source: www.sciencetimes.com

Hidden within a trench during the installation of a new sewer line at a farmstead in Wettin, Germany, construction workers stumbled upon a remarkable find - hundreds of coins believed to have been owned by a notable 17th-century mayor. The collection consists of 285 silver coins dating back to the period between 1499 and 1652, including the impressive silver thalers of the Holy Roman Empire and various foreign coins. This was reported by SSPDaily.

Among the regional Saxon coins that make up the majority of the discovery, several stand out as rarities. A small number of Schreckenberg groschen coins, primarily used within the region, were found, along with an Italian scudo minted in 1630 and a tallero issued in 1620 by the grand duke of Tuscany. The greenish hue on the coins, acquired during their lengthy underground stay, adds an intriguing touch to the find.

Scholars assessing the collection believe that the treasure had been buried after the devastating Thirty Years' War, which occurred from 1618 to 1648. This conflict, primarily fought in Central Europe, inflicted significant casualties, resulting in an estimated 8 million deaths. The diverse assortment of coins points to Johann Dondorf, the mayor of Wettin in the late 1660s. Dondorf, considered one of the wealthiest citizens in the town, had amassed substantial wealth during his rule amidst Wettin's prosperity as a prominent brewing hub during and after the war.

Dondorf's affluence became most apparent upon his demise in 1675, when estimations of his estate revealed a wealth of over 2,500 thalers and 500 ducats in hidden chambers throughout his residence. However, the recent discovery of the buried coin hoard suggests that the court's assessment at the time had significantly underestimated his wealth.

The unearthing of these centuries-old coins offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and prosperity of Wettin during an era of geopolitical turmoil. As historians continue to examine the remarkable find, it acts as a reminder of the enduring allure and intrigue of buried treasures from the past.

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