Gnadenpfennig Herzog Maximilians I. von Bayern

Staatliche Münzsammlung München


Obverse: inscription "MAX D G CO PA RH VT BA D S R I ELECTOR"; medal: harnessed bust with the chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece. on the outer edge, circular legend. Setting: Enamelled crowned shield with diamond pattern, on the sides and below floral enamel in openwork frame.

Reverse: inscription "INFRA FERVNTVR"; medal: sun over clouds, landscape underneath, text above. Setting: IHS above on the back of the enamel work.

The Renaissance period brought Europe a flourishing of the art of the medal that was inseparably connected to a major boom in art, culture and economy. From the northern-Italian cities, this development, starting in the late Middle Ages, would spread across all of Europe. A particularity of this time, which would flourish above all in the Baroque era, was the issue of the so-called gnadenpfennigs. This term denotes medals, mostly made of gold and of particularly beautiful workmanship. Such gnadenpfennigs were often handed over to people of merit or to high-ranking guests as a gracious sign of appreciation. One might consider them precursors of the orders.