RNS Lecture and Christmas Party, 18th December

Spink and Sons Ltd., 6pm, 18th December

On Tuesday 18th December the Society will hold its final meeting before Christmas. The Society Medal will be awarded, before an address by the medallist, John van Heesch. This will be followed by the annual Christmas party, with drinks and nibbles. The medallist will speak to the following topic:

A new representation of the Antwerp mint (AD 1625)

In the first quarter of the 17the century the mint at Antwerp (Brabant, Belgium) was one of the most productive ones in northern Europe. Millions of gold coins and large silver ‘thalers’ were struck during the reign of Albert & Isabella, to whom Philip II of Spain handed over the power over the Netherlands in 1598. In this talk, a new and exceptionally detailed image of the Antwerp mint, cast or embossed out of silver, will be presented. It shows the gift of a presentation piece (piedfort) to the sovereigns visiting the mint (1615) and possibly also a portrait of the famous painter Rubens, as well as the interior of the building with particular attention to the process of fabricating coin blanks. It illuminates the complexity of this process and shows a range of tools that are rarely –some even only here- represented. This object remained unknown in numismatic literature and its interpretation is facilitated using 17th century dictionaries as the one published by Furetière in 1690, that contains clear descriptions of tools used by the moneyers. As everywhere, also the minters of Brabant formed a privileged community exempt from taxes and with their own jurisdiction. Our silver guild representation of the Antwerp mint was made in honor of one of their leaders (the “provoost”), Balthasar van Nispen, who left money in his will to manufacture this wonderful and prestigious object.

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