Presentation coin (Doppelguldiner), 1517
Ulrich Ursentaler (Austrian, rec. 1508–35)
Dutch (Antwerp); dies cut in Halle, Austria, 1509
Wt. 1.85 oz. (52 g)
Gift of George D. Pratt, 1926 (26.261.14)
Presentation coins were usually designed by court artists and given by princes as rewards or political gifts, or disseminated as propaganda. This coin was struck to commemorate the coronation of Maximilian I (1459–1519) as Holy Roman Emperor in 1508, reinforcing the emperor's dynastic claims to power through heraldry, inscriptions, and his depiction in full armor astride a fully barded horse, all elements elaborately decorated. The bard is of a type that appears to have been an invention and specialty of one of Maximilian's court armorers, Lorenz Helmschmid (rec. 1467–1515/16) of Augsburg. Its most notable feature is the armor for the horse's legs, protecting each with a system of articulated plates down to the fetlock. Such an extensive bard was in all likelihood only used for ceremonial purposes. Reflecting artistic sophistication, wealth, and power, it ideally complements the purpose of this presentation coin. The present example belongs to a second edition, struck at Antwerp in 1517.