Monday, May 17, 2010

Emperor Leopold I and Holy Roman Coinage

At HR Rauch’s auction of ancient coins, a 10 Dukaten coin featuring Emperor Leopold I is expected to sell for at least €50,000 Euro. The coin, from 1675, features one of the most distinctive portraits of the king, which caricatures his Hapsburg jaw, a classic feature of the Holy Roman Emperors.

The “Hapsburg Lip” as it is sometimes called, was a deformation that was thought to have been caused by successive inbreeding. Charles II was the last Hapsburg king of Spain, and his mother was the niece of his father. Charles couldn’t chew his food, was retarded, and impotent. Consequently, the Hapsburg line ended in Spain. Leopold I, however, was more prolific, and was overshadowed in his time only by the Sun King Louis XIV of France, with whom he waged war almost until his death in 1705. When Charles II’s death led to the War of the Spanish Succession, in an attempt to keep separate Spain and France, Leopold I, along with the other European powers, fought to claim the Spanish Inheritance, due to his Hapsburg relations. The war outlasted Leopold, and eventually the Spanish empire fell.

Part of having a coin collection is learning about the empire under which the coin was produced. Coin collecting is a great way to learn about history. Needless to say, this 10 Dukaten of Leopold I would make a great addition to any coin collection.


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