of the province of Noord-Holland, where I live is called "West-Friesland" and used to be part
of the lands the Frisians lived in Roman
Times. Frisian culture was replaced by Saxon culture, but the names of Friesland and Wes-Friesland remained. In Charlemagne's time everything was part
empire, but after that it was supposed to be part
of the Holy Roman Empire
, of which the German
lands were the most important. In those days the local nobles of the province of Holland
consisered themselves to be the vassals of the Holy Roman
Emperor and held the lands in his
name as Counts of Holland
. The part
which was still
called West-Friesland, did, however, not belong to their jurisdiction, although they claimed that to be a fact. It resulted in war which took the form of a guerilla. Surprise-attacks and looting of towns, revenge because of...etc.
To add insult to injury, Holland
and West-Friesland suffered from severe flooding in those days. The Westfrisians had
meanwhile made some low dikes and higher dwelling-mounds to be safe from water, especially during the wet season. Just outside my hometown Schagen, there is one of the biggest mounds, rising nearly three meters above the surrounding lands. In 1892, a farmer, who was digging a whole in the mound, discovered a leather pouch containg nearly 1200 small silver coins. Having informed the Major of Schagen, the hoard
was taken to the Royal Dutch Coin Cabinet in The Hague. The coins were cleaned and appeared all to be the same! A so far unknown type
, issued probably in West
friesland by someone using the effigy of a bishop
on the obverse
and a simple cross
on the reverse
. No coin revealed any legible legend
if present at all.
The farmer who discovered the hoard
, was given a single coin as a memento......
In the late '70s when I gave a lecture on archeology in my home
town, an old lady addressed to me and told me that she was the granddaughter of the farmer who found the hoard
, and that she still had
that one coin apart from the 1200-1 that still
reside at the Royal Coin Cabinet. That information was very nice, but the old woman would never part
with the coin.
Years later I received a catalogue
of a Dutch coin dealer in which I saw this coin: I called her immediately and was the first customer that day.. Later she told me she could have sold the coin ten times...
Yet, I have it, here in Schagen, where it had
been buried for some 900 years. And up to this day, it is the only example on the market.