101697 | NETHERLANDS. Amsterdam. Surgeon's Guild cast brass Toegangspenning
101697 | NETHERLANDS. Amsterdam. Surgeon's Guild cast brass Toegangspenning (Admission Token). Issued circa 1740-1780 for the passing of the surgeon's exam/admission to the medicinal garden (42mm, 31.46 g, 12h).
Skeleton (Grim Reaper) standing facing, holding scythe and resting hand upon hourglass on base to right; flowers at feet / HORTUS MEDICUS (medicinal garden), vase with various flowers set upon ornate base left blank for engraving and bearing the date 16-84. Edge: A few light marks, otherwise plain.
Dirks I.8; Wittop Koning 6.1; Brettauer 5198. Choice Extremely Fine. Brassy yellow surfaces, with even wear thoughout; a few spots of green on the obverse. A very rare and interesting medicina in nummis type.
The obverse of this type—featuring a figure of Death along with an hourglass—is an allusion to the transient nature of life and, as such, a memento mori. It was used in Amsterdam as a token of one's membership into the guild of surgeons. Meanwhile, the reverse refers to the city's medicinal garden—the so-called hortus medicus—which housed various flora that could be used medicinally. Following the fallout of the plagues that had gripped Europe, along with portions of the rest of the world, the understanding and cultivation of plant-based remedies began to take form, with this garden serving in that role. The bearer of such a token would also have access to these grounds to make use of the plants grown.
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