On the path to modernity

Money, money, money

On the path to modernity

From the beginning of the early modern period around 1500 coinage reflects the gradual emergence of the modern state of Austria and and at the same time the consolidation of Carinthia as a federal province. Until the end of the monarchy in 1918 this was the era of Habsburg coinage. The introduction of the coin-like ‘reckoning penny’ enabled the modern form of book-keeping and accounting. Paper money appeared as an additional new factor in the eighteenth century, accelerating Austria’s national bankruptcy but also leading to the founding of the National Bank.

From an international perspective, the Venetian ducat was one of the most long-lived coins of all times, circulating in Europe from the High Middle Ages to the beginning of the twentieth century, and creating the foundation for Venice’s standing as the leading commercial power in the fourteenth and fifteenth century.

Carinthian coin hoard

The aristocratic physician Franz von Dreer zu Thurnhub was born in Klagenfurt in 1812 and later became chief physician at the mental asylum in Trieste. A passionate collector of coins, he acquired the extensive holdings of Octav von Vest, who during his career as a naval doctor had purchased antique coins from across the entire Mediterranean region.

The Dreer Collection contains 5,982 antique Greek and Roman coins. Examples of Celtic and Persian coinage are counted with the Greek coins, while Byzantine issues are catalogued with the Roman coins. In addition, there are 2,999 coins from the modern period, 89 medals and 21 lead seals.
Created for study and research, it remains a collection of impressive beauty and coherence. 

Venetian ducat from the Dreer Collection

The obverse of this gold coin shows St Mark investing the doge kneeling in front of him with the banner of the Cross. The reverse shows Christ in a mandorla.

Carinthian wedding gift no. 1

On the occasion of the marriage of Archduke Ferdinand and Maria Anna of Bavaria on 23 April 1600, the Carinthian Estates had this handsome presentation medal struck at the Klagenfurt mint. The design for the die was probably executed by the renowned die-cutter Hans Gaissmair, though signed by his son Balthasar. The obverse shows a bust of Ferdinand looking right, bare-headed and bearded wearing a ruff, armour and the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece. On the reverse are the arms of Carinthia crowned with an archducal coronet in a richly decorated cartouche. Despite being honoured in this way, however, Ferdinand went on to close the mint at Klagenfurt in 1622, with production continuing at St Veit.

Carinthian wedding gift no. 2

On 2 February 1622 Ferdinand, now Emperor Ferdinand II, made a second marriage to Princess Eleonora of Mantua. The wedding was held at Innsbruck. To mark the occasion, the town of St Veit commissioned this presentation medal, which was however probably cut by Donatus Starkh at Klagenfurt before the mint closed and St Veit took over the striking of coinage.

On the obverse of the medal are the crowned busts of the ruling couple placed one above the other. The reverse shows the heraldic shields of the Crown Lands and possessions crowned with the royal crown and archducal coronet respectively. Below at the centre is St Vitus, patron saint of St Veit, with the attribute of his martyrdom, a cauldron.

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