Gnadenpfennig Kurfürst 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. Outer edge: circle with written legend. Setting: enamelled winged putto above, on the sides surrounded by floral enamel in openwork setting.

Reverse: medal with two lions holding the coat of arms of the elector, with a double helmet and decorated with the chain of the Order of Golden Fleece; setting: plain setting on the reverse.

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.