100857 | NETHERLANDS. Dutch Republic. Silver Satirical Token.

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    100857 | NETHERLANDS. Dutch Republic. Silver Satirical Token. Engraved early 17th century on an Arendschelling likely from Kampen and in the name of Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II (30mm, 4.08 g, 12h).

     

    "neemt het niet alle Gaer" (don't take it all, you vulture!), man with a slight frown and in traditional Dutch clothing standing left, handing over bag of coins to man with a slight smile and in what appears to be traditional Jewish clothing seated at desk right, receiving said funds; another bag of coins at the feet of the latter / RVDOL II D G ELEC RO IMP SEM AVGVS, facing imperial double eagle; crown above. Edge: Plain.

     

    Cf. KM 7 (for host coin). Engraving: Choice Very Fine. Pleasing light gray toning; Host coin: Very Good.

     

    Being borrowed from the early 18th century practice in Great Britain, and being related to even earlier forms of engraving on European coinage, "love tokens" were an extremely popular form of sentimental art that saw their high point in the United States in the mid-to-late-19th century, whereby coinage was smoothed down on one or both sides, and some form of initials, a message, and/or imagery was engraved so that it may be presented to a loved one. The most commonly encountered 'canvas' in the United States was the dime, and usually one from the Seated Liberty series. At their height, the U.S. Mint blamed an alleged shortage of dimes—a staple of most late-19th century transactions—on this craze. Rising again in the early-mid 20th century during the depths of despair that were the world wars, this form of coin art, usually referred to in this context as "trench art," would see another revival, offering soldiers a brief chance at escapism through sentimental creativity.

     

    Based upon its text above the engraved scene, the overall sentiment of this piece would appear to paint a rather unsavory image of the banking industry in the eyes of the engraver and, given that the banking sector at the time tended to be dominated by the Jewish community, it would appear to be at least tacitly antisemitic. The stark contrast in attire points to the difference between the two men; further, though this cataloger could not locate the precise meaning of "Gaer" in middle Dutch, it is undoubtedly related to the Old German "Gir," which meant 'vulture,' or could be applied to someone who was known for their 'greedy, predatory ways.' A highly interesting socio-religious statement from the early 17th century in the Dutch Republic.

     

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