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German States. Schwäbisch Hall (Württemberg).
Saurma 1365/608, DeWitt 2491, Torongo 1.5.

AR handheller, minted ca. 1180-1430, 16-17 mm.

Obv: Open right hand.

Rev: Cross forchée with a pellet at the end of each arm.

Since they were struck at Hall in Swabia, these coins became known as "hellers" (or as handhellers, due to the devise on the obverse). They were struck in large quantities but of a poor quality, and circulated widely, quickly droving all other small coins out of circulation. The name "heller" became associated with coins of the same type struck in other cities, and by extension, to coins of low grade billon throughout Germany.

The obverse devise also appears on the coat-of-arms of Hall, and it is not clear whether or not the coin preceded the coat-of-arms. The word "handel" means trade or commerce in German, and the hand may be a pun.
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Album name:Stkp / EUROPE: Miscellaneous Medieval & Early Modern
File Size:43 KB
Date added:May 29, 2014
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