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Yesterday, our order of custom made replica coins arrived. They are groten (groats) as minted by Jan IV van Arkel, bishop of Utrecht and lord of Deventer, between 1342-1364. On the front side of the coin is his portrait and his coat of arms.

Normally the coins of the bishopric were made in the city of Utrecht, but extraordinarily Jan van Arkel also minted in Deventer! Of course this is one of those coins. To make its provenance clear, on the back of the coin it says ‘Moneta Davent’ and, referring to the Deventer coat of arms, it also shows an extra little eagle in the second quarter of the cross on the backside. The full text is + IOH EPC TRA IECTENSIS , + BNDICTV SIT NOME DNI NRI IHV XPI , MON ETA DAV ENT. Of course originally these coins would have been in (partial) silver. To keep the costs down, our replicas are in pewter (but not cast!, really minted!).

We are going to have loads of fun using these coins for our display and events. Explaining to the audience, buying stuff, selling stuff… Of course we would never gamble with them, because that is against the law and we would not want to get cross with the bailiff…. 😉

But seriously, what could you buy with these groten back then? When in 1372 nobleman Jan van Blois was on his campaign to conquer the nearby duchy of Guelders, his army stopped by Deventer to buy some supplies. Here’s a list:

156,8 groten: a shipment of fish, containing

65 hakes

50 big carps

2 ‘tal’ of breams

6 fresh salmons

12 salted salmons

52 groten: more fish, containing

20 hakes

30 carps

200 breams

29,60 groten: fish!, containing

12 cods

1 ‘mese’ of bloater herrings

1,60 groten: 100 wooden bowls

 

0,60 groten: 1 pound of beeswax candle

 

0,20 groten: 1 pound of tallow candle

 

8,13 groten: a collection of stuff, containing

9 pounds of oil

100 apples

1 ‘spint’ of flower

onions

garlic

200 wooden bowls

8 pounds of almonds

payment for the ferry across the river IJssel

 

0,53 groten: payment for the ferry for a wagon with fish

 

1,20 groten: payment for ferrying some people across 3 times

 

0,80 groten: the shoeing of 6 horse hooves

 

0,67 groten: 1 (blank) book of paper

You can imagine it is hard to pay someone in 0,67 part of a coin ór having to bring hundreds of them, so there was a need for smaller and bigger coins than just groten. That is why they also minted 1/8 groten, 1/2 groten and double groten, and of course they had gold ecu’s from France. We just haven’t ordered these yet…