101091 | DENMARK. Anholt. "Civitas Diaboli" copper "Devil Token."

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    101091  |  DENMARK. Anholt. "Civitas Diaboli" copper "Devil Token." Issued 1973 (31mm, 10.80 g, 12h). By J. Sømod & B. Jensen.

     

    CIVITAS DIABOLI (city of the devil), stylized devil advancing left, holding trident / 13 / MAJ / ANHOLT in three lines; below, 19 – 73 divided by ankh with devil's horns. Edge: Plain.

     

    Mint State. Deep cobalt-brown surfaces, with some brilliance remaining. Very rare and extremely provocative.

     

    These rather interesting and rare "tokens" have been at the center of what is now known as an elaborate, multinational prank. The Danish island of Anholt lies halfway between Jutland and Sweden in the Kattegat, populated by less than 200 inhabitants. As recounted by Jesper Aagaard Petersen in Operation Mindfuck, Viking Edition: How Fear of the Satanic and Cartoon Exoticism Fueled the Prank of the Century, in the spring of 1973, residents began inexplicably finding "...strange African- or Polynesian-looking masks, bones wrapped in string, weird stone formations, black candles, human hair, and a fake shrunken head on a stake, stuck in the ground through the shoe-strap on a children’s sandal, and so on." This encouraged intrigue from journalists, looking to draw conclusions even where there were none. Attributed to Knud Langkow, an outwardly anonymous office clerk tending to the phone lines of the National Gallery of Denmark, these "satanic artifacts" were accompanied by devil-inspired letters as well, even extending into the realm of numismatics. In addition to the bizarre artifacts and letters, coins with a devil and a reference to Anholt were found all over Denmark. Remaining quite quirky and mysterious, two of these "devil tokens" were even more recently 'uncovered' during renovations at Bath Abbey in England in June 2018, pointing to Langkow's multinational spread of his decades-long prank. Nearly a decade after Langkow's death in 2004, his niece provided more details to the Danish newspaper, Politiken, in which she recalled her uncle as having "an elevated, intelligent sense of humour" and that "normality annoyed him." Ultimately, she said, "he wanted to leave his mark on the world." Through these strange and infamous "devil tokens," which number less than 400, it is clear that he made a lasting numismatic imprint.

     

    Sorry, this item is no longer available.

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