Numismatic Puzzle: Ercole I d’Este

Testone, “big head”, is the name of silver coins that were introduced in 15th-century Italy. They are particularly large and heavy coins featuring the portrait of a ruler. Here you can see a magnificent testone by Ercole I d’Este, the Duke of Ferrara from around 1500.

Numismatic Puzzle: Taler of Moritz of Saxony (1547)

Today’s puzzle is a 1547 taler of Elector Moritz of Saxony.

Numismatic Puzzle: Isabella I and Ferdinand II

Today’s puzzle is a Dobla Excelente (c.1497 ) of the “Catholic Monarchs” Ferdinand II of Aragón and Isabella I of Castile.

Numismatic Puzzle: Pfennig, Germany 1950

Today’s puzzle is a German 1 Pfennig 1950 with the characteristic oak sprig.

Numismatic Puzzle: Reichstaler of Albrecht von Wallenstein (1627)

Today’s puzzle is a 1627 reichstaler of Albrecht von Wallenstein.

Numismatic Puzzle: St. Gaudens

US President Theodore Roosevelt thought his country’s coin designs were hideous. Renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens was commissioned to design some new coins for him. The result: a majestic Lady Liberty, as featured on this 20-dollar coin from 1916.

Numismatic Puzzle: Colorado Peaks

The US state of Colorado attracts mountaineers and nature lovers with its high summits. Therefore, they represent Colorado, which officially joined the United States in 1876 as the 38th state, in the 50 State Quarters Program.

Numismatic Puzzle: The Ideal Swiss Woman

In 1883, Switzerland introduced a new 20-franc gold coin, the highest denomination at the time. Instead of a head of state, the republican Confederates put the ideal of a Swiss woman on the obverse: Helvetia.

Numismatic Puzzle: Saint George and the Dragon

In 1817, the engraver Benedetto Pistrucci created a truly evergreen design for the Royal Mint. His interpretation of England’s patron saint, the dragon-slayer George – shown here on a coin of Queen Victoria from 1887 – is still used on British coins today!

Numismatic Puzzle: Gian Galeazzo Maria Sforza

This gold double ducat from c.1475 depicts Gian Galeazzo Maria Sforza. In name – and in name only – the youth was Duke of Milan as he was under constant guardianship until his early death. What remains are coins minted for him depicting splendid Renaissance portraits.