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Basel Historical Museum

Objects in the collection

Basel Historical Museum has a collection comprising over 250,000 objects. A selection of these is presented here.

The scientists, scholars and collectors of the 16th century and thereafter kept Wunderkammer full of spectacular objects and works of art. Among the treasures presented are some that originally belonged to the world-famous Amerbach Cabinet.

Discover further Swiss museum collections at Museums Online.

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Chosen Exhibits

Duchy of Milan, Gian Galeazzo Maria Sforza, in ward of his mother Bona of Savoy

Milan, double ducat, undated, 1479(?) Gold, struck – weight 6.963 g – diameter 23.9 mm – Inv. 1918.1724.

In the C13 gold coins once again began to be issued successfully - in 1252 by Florence and …

Parthian empire, Mithridates II

Rhagae, drachma, ca. 123-88 BC – Silver, struck – weight 4,127 g – diameter 19.8 mm – Inv. 1908.2282.

In the Persian Empire the great king and his representatives, the satraps, occupied the …

Undated medal celebrating the marriage of Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian of Habsburg on 20 August 1477

Unsigned, attributed to Giovanni Candida – Bronze, cast – weight 32.037 g – diameter 49.4 mm – Inv.1905.998.

Giovanni Candida (before 1450 after 1504) came from the kingdom of Naples but worked as a …

Money balance of Master Johann Friedrich Mayer, with incomplete date"ao 17"

Nuremberg, late 18th century – in the scales box: beam scale, 15 money weights, 9 part nest of weights and 10 counterweights; scales and weights: brass – box: walnut – length 20 cm, width 12 cm – Inv. 1893.284.

After a resurgence of trade and the circulation of a wide variety of different currencies …

Uri Schwyz Nidwalden

Bellinzona, half 'Dicker, undated, 1512/13 – Silver, struck, gilded, traces of a rim – weight 4.938 g – diameter 28.3 mm – Inv. 1905.1499.

The town and county of Bellinzona, Blenio and Riviera were subject to Uri, Schwyz and …

Medal with an allegory of Fortune

1554; Unsigned, Hans Jacob Stampfer I – Silver, cast – weight 19.833 g – diameter 47.3 mm – Inv. 1917.1050.

Fortuna, the goddess of luck, rides high on a dolphin swimming towards the left, holding …

Medal commemorating the 'Eidgenössisches Schützenfest'

(Federal shooting festival) held 1979 in Lucerne – Signed Hans Erni – Silver, struck – weight, 20.071 g – diameter 33 mm – Inv. 1979.234.

Shooting festivals are part of a very old tradition in Switzerland, and they enjoyed …

Roman Republic

Rome, quadrans (aes grave), 241 235 BC – Bronze, cast – weight 67.198 g – diameter 44.3 mm – Inv. 1921.747.

In Italy bronze was used as barter, its exchange value corresponding to the weight of the …

Medal of Nicolas Brulart, Marquis de Sillery

1613 – Signed Guillaume Dupre Bronze, cast, gilded – weight 100.521 g – diameter 72.6 mm – Inv. 1917.1115.

Guillaume Dupre (Sissonne ca. 1576-1640 Charenton) represented the diplomat Nicolas Brulart …

Cast iron plaquette of Susanne Maria Schorndorff Iselin

1823 – Berlin, after a wax model by Johann Carl Hedlinger of ca. 1742 – Iron, cast, bronze finish, in contemporary frame made of pressed sheet brass – diameter with frame 105.2 mm – Inv. 1983.444.

Johann Carl Hedlinger (Seewen [Schwyz] 1691-1771 Schwyz) became medallist to the royal …

Basle presentation medal

Gabriel Le Clerc, undated, 1691 – Gold, struck – weight 208.678 g (= 60 ducats) diameter 67.9 mm – Inv. 1905.851.

This medal is not only the largest, but also one of the most valuable presentation medals …

Carthaginian empire

Carthage or an Italic mint, bronze coin, ca. 221 202 BC – Bronze, struck – weight 17.975 g – diameter 32.6 mm – Inv. 1908.2580.

With colonies in North Africa, Spain and Sicily as well as Sardinia and Corsica, the …

Roman Republic

gens Hostilia Rome, denarius – mint master L. Hostilius Saserna, 48 BC – Silver, struck – weight 3.874 g – diameter 19.7 mm – Inv. 1951.107.

From the C3 BC a triumvirate was responsible for the minting of gold, silver and bronze …

City of Nuremberg

Nuremberg, Thaler, commemorating the 1697 Peace of Ryswick, 1698 – Gold – weight 17.379 g (=5 ducats) diameter 43.6 mm – Inv. 1928.1018.

Ducats were struck in Nuremberg from 1632 and from the very beginning the images on them …

Venice, Alvise Mocenigo Il Osella

1702 – Gold, struck – weight 13.906 g (=4 ducats) diameter 36.5 mm – Inv. 1917.1003.

According to an old custom dating from the C13 the doges of Venice used to give each member …

Medal of Maria Jakoba of Bavaria

1534 Unsigned, Matthes Gebel – Bronze, cast – weight 26.932 g – diameter 41.4 mm – Inv. 1959.21.

Maria Jakoba, the eldest daughter of Margrave Philipp I of Baden and Elisabeth of the …

Medal commemorating the 1619 Synod of Dordrecht

Gold, struck, with a ring and eye – weight 124.167 g (= 36 ducats); diameter 58.2 mm – Inv. 1905.2103.

The first and only general synod of the Reformed churches was held from 13 November 1618 to …

Roman Empire, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus

Silandos (Lydia), bronze medallion, AD 164 – found at Augst, 1886 – Bronze, struck – weight 52.246 g – diameter 43.1 mm – Inv. 1951.272.

Many towns in the Greek eastern part of the Roman Empire produced coins for local use, and …

Macedonia, Alexander (III) the Great

Alexandria, stater, ca. 312 310 BC – (minted posthumously) Gold, struck – weight 8.537 g – diameter 18.8mm – Inv. 1908.919.

Alexander the Great required huge sums of money to conquer his empire. He introduced a new …

Roman Empire, Septimius Severus for his son Geta as Caesar

Rome, denarius, ca. AD 198 200 – Silver, struck – weight 3.331 g – diameter 19.1 mm – Inv. 1903.3390.

Septimius Severus, who was of North African origin, was a commander in Camuntum on the …

Roman Empire, Constantius I Chlorus as Caesar

Trier, aureus ca. AD 294 305 – Gold, struck – weight 4.921 g – diameter 18.5 mm – Inv. 1903.2277.

Diocletian (284-305) tried to save the Empire by introducing a new system of rule, …

City of Lucerne

Lucerne, 10 francs, 1804 – Gold, struck – weight 4.778 g – diameter 21.7 mm – Inv. 1903.1062.

In the small area covered by modern Switzerland prior to 1798 there were on occasion more …

Roman Empire, Nero

Rome, sestertius, ca. 65 AD – Brass, struck – weight 26.168 g – diameter 35.6 mm – Inv. 1903.4771.

Since the days of the Roman republic buildings had been very popular images on coins; the …

Roman Empire, Augustus

Nimes, dupondius, ca. 10 BC - AD 10 – found 1979 in Rittergasse, Basle – Bronze, struck – weight 13.232 g – diameter 31.4 mm – Inv. 1979/25.2223

Augustus transferred some of the minting of coins to Lugdunum (Lyons) and Nemausus (Nimes). …

Carolingian Empire, Lothar I

Location of mint not known, denarius, before 833(?) found 1987 in the Deutschritterkapelle, Rittergasse 29, Basle – Silver, struck – weight 0.899 g – diameter 20 mm – Inv. 1987/3.1341

The coins found in the Basle area reflect almost the whole history of coins and money in …

Celtic, Sequani Bronze coin

2nd half 1st century BC – found 1987 in the Deutschritterkapelle, Rittergasse 29, Basle – Bronze, struck – weight 3.83 g – diameter 15.5 mm – Inv. 1987/3.1766.

Following the example of the Greeks and Romans, the Celts produced their own gold, silver …

Basel, gold double taler of 1741

Johann Jakob I. Handmann – Dia. 49.0 mm, weight: 84,044 g (= 24 gold ducats) Inv. 1903.445.

Starting in 1680 Basel decorated its own coinage not just with traditional emblems such as …

Penny (bracteate, court minting)

Basel, royal mint – King Richard of Cornwall (1257–1272) or Rudolf von Habsburg (1273–1291), undated [probably 1262 or 1273/1274] Silver, minted – Dia. 15–17 mm, weight 0.258 g – Inv. 2009.32.

The right to mint and issue coins had been a prerogative of the bishops ever since the …

Roman Republic

Gens Munacia, Rome, Aureus, 45 B.C. – Mintmaster: L. Munatius Plancus – Gold, minted – Weight 8.039 g; dia. 21.1 mm – Inv. 1911.116.

As dictator, Caesar stripped the Roman Senate of most of its powers. In addition to the …

Caulonia (Bruttium)

Nummus, ca. 520 B.C. – Silver, embossed – Weight 8.185 g, dia. 29.6 mm – Inv. 1908.589.

The Archaic and Classical coins produced by the Greek colonies in southern Italy and Sicily …

 
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