circa. 1970's Suisse Confederacy Basel Schützenfest Shooting Pure Silver Medal "Saint Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor & Constructor of Basel Cathedral 1019", Large 50 mm Hallmarked 800 Silver on Edge.
circa. 1970's Suisse Confederacy Basel Schützenfest Shooting Pure Silver Medal "Saint Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor & Constructor of Basel Cathedral 1019". Good Reliefs & Great Condition Large 50 mm 72.9 Grs. Hallmarked 800 Silver on Edge.
- Saint Henry, Holy Roman Empire: -
Henry II was canonized in July 1147 by Pope Eugenius III; his spouse, Cunigunde was canonized on 29 March 1200 by Pope Innocent III. His relics were carried on campaigns against heretics in the 1160s. He is the patron saint of the city of Basel, Switzerland, and of St Henry's Marist Brothers' College in Durban, South Africa.
Henry II (6 May 973 – 13 July 1024), also known as Saint Henry the Exuberant, Obl. S. B., was Holy Roman Emperor from 1014. He died without an heir in 1024, and was the last ruler of the Ottonian line. As Duke of Bavaria, appointed in 995, Henry became King of the Romans following the sudden death of his second cousin, Emperor Otto III in 1002, was made King of Italy in 1004, and crowned emperor by Pope Benedict VIII in 1014.
The son of Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, and his wife Gisela of Burgundy, Emperor Henry II was a great-grandson of German king Henry the Fowler and a member of the Bavarian branch of the Ottonian dynasty. Since his father had rebelled against two previous emperors, the younger Henry spent long periods of time in exile, where he turned to Christianity at an early age, first finding refuge with the Bishop of Freising and later during his education at the cathedral school in Hildesheim. He succeeded his father as Duke of Bavaria in 995 as "Henry IV". As duke, he attempted to join his second-cousin, Emperor Otto III, in suppressing a revolt against imperial rule in Italy in 1002. Before Henry II could arrive, however, Otto III died of fever, leaving no heir. After defeating several contenders to the throne, Henry II was crowned King of Germany on July 9, 1002 as the first in a line of kings to adopt the title Rex Romanorum, an allusion to his perceived prerogative to the future appointment of Imperator Romanorum. On 15 May 1004 he was anointed King of Italy and in 1004 Henry II joined Duke Jaromír of Bohemia in his struggle against the Poles, thus effectively incorporating the Duchy of Bohemia into the Holy Roman Empire.
Unlike his predecessor Otto III, who had imposed plans on sovereign administration and active political involvement in Italy, Henry spent most of his reign concerned with the renovation of the imperial territories north of the Alps, a policy summed up on his seal as Renovatio regni Francorum, which replaced Otto's Renovatio imperii Romanorum. A series of conflicts with the Polish Duke Bolesław I, who had already conquered a number of countries surrounding him required Henry II's full attention and years of political and military maneuvering. Henry did, however, lead three expeditions into Italy to enforce his feudal claim, twice to suppress secessionist revolts and once to address Byzantine attempts to obtain dominance over southern Italy. On 14 February 1014, Pope Benedict VIII crowned Henry Holy Roman Emperor in Rome.
- Swiss Shooting Festival: -
For the Swiss, the Schützenfest (Shooting Festival) is the highlighting event of the year, drawing canton leaders and citizens from all corners to come together in joyous celebration of friendly competition and comradeship.
Shooting medals are awarded to winners during Schützenfest and are struck in a gold, silver, bronze, and white metal alloys. Silver medals are most generally available, with bronze medals twice as rare as the corresponding pieces in silver. Medals in gold-gilt and white metal are extremely rare. And the very few gold medals struck are ultra rare. These winner’s medals are typically seen as precious family ancestory heirlooms passed down the family tree, from father to son.
The Swiss were remarkable for their willingness to devote exceptional artistic effort to the production of such very short issues. These shooting medals have uniquely high reliefs giving them almost surreal three-dimensional look and feel. Intricate depictions of Old Suisse historical events, landmarks and people are engraved onto the medals, giving them important significance and meaning.
The scarcity of these medals is noteworthy. Mintages of these medals are typically residing in to just few hundreds pieces to tens or even low single pieces left in circulation today. There are also instances in the early 1800’s, where some of the shooting medals were intentionally made with similar dimensions (with reeded edges, size & weight) to the coins in general circulation then. While these medals do not bear specific denominational inscriptions, there exists indisputable evidence showing that they did in fact were circulated as coins, especially if they were made of silver and gold.
Besides these Schützen medals, a series of Schützentalers were also minted. These were minted by the sovereign cantons where the festivals were being held and accepted as legal tender. They were for general use during, and after the Schützenfest throughout the Suisse Confederacy.
However, collecting these fine rarities of art is definitely not easy over time. With sadness the scarcity of both of these remarkable numismatic materials has increased tremendously due to many of such awards being melted for bullion, lost, or through general attrition. The remaining pieces that survived today, in the hands of collectors, numbers an estimate 10-15% of the originally cantonal recorded mintages.
Finally, from the numismatic perspective, these Schützen medals and talers stand out for their exceptional & captivating design beauty. Especially due to their special unique place in Old Suisse history and tradition, these rarities are much loved and sought after by true numismatist collectors all around the world today.