Friesach, Anonymous 1150 - 1200, penny

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Friesach, Archbishop of Salzburg, Anonymous 1150 - 1200, Pfennig

Obv.: bust of the archbishop from front, FRIACENSIS
Rev.: Church pediment with two towers, above a cross



The minting right of the Friesach mint was not derived from Otto III's privilege of 996, as was the case with the Salzburg mint, but from his father, Otto II, who granted the minting right in Memleben to the widow Imma as early as 975 for Lieding northeast of Gurk, where she had begun building a monastery. Later, the right to mint was transferred to the Gurk nunnery by way of inheritance. When this was dissolved in 1070, Archbishop Gebhard (1060 - 1088) received the right of minting, together with the other sovereign rights and the rich endowment properties. After the establishment of the bishopric of Gurk, King Henry IV granted the archbishop permission to reserve the Liedingen minting right and to exercise it in another place. This happened in the 12th century in Friesach when the Archbishop of Salzburg, Konrad I (1106 - 1147), had a mint built there in 1125.

In the Carinthian town of Friesach the archbishop had the Friesach pennies struck, and in Laufen an der Salzach he had a second mint opened. Both mints started minting at about the same time. Friesach possessed the advantage of being the administrative center of the extensive Salzburg possessions in Carinthia at that time. In addition, it was located near Zeltschach, where productive silver mines were available. Compared to the Salzburg mint, Friesbach was more productive and had a larger radius of action.

The model for the Friesach coin was first the old and later the reformed Cologne mark. This was no coincidence, since early immigrants from Cologne brought their Cologne mark with them as a coin weight and mint foot. This group also provided the first known mint master from 1144, so the first Friesach pennies represented a rough replica of the Cologne archbishop's mint.

Until 1168 the Friesach mint could go about its work undisturbed. In the course of political changes, documents were forged, two of them were directed against the Friesach mint. As a result, the minting rights passed to the Gurk bishops. In 1195 Emperor Henry VI changed this at the request of Archbishop Adalbert III (923 - 935). Thereupon, only the mints of the Archbishop of Salzburg were allowed to mint coins in the Salzburg style, which theoretically protected the Friesach minting against unauthorized imitations.

The heyday of the mint fell during the reign of Eberhard II of Regensburg (1200-1246). During this period Friesach developed into the second largest town of the Archbishopric of Salzburg and the most important town in Carinthia. Around 1350 the minting of the Friesach mint ceases. However, the secondary mints in Carinthia and southern Styria continued to operate.

Additional product information

Origin Austria
Mint Archbishopric of Salzburg Mint Friesach
Grading VF
Material Silver
Full weight


Literature Bonh. 2127

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