Bellinzona, half 'Dicker, undated, 1512/13
Silver, struck, gilded, traces of a rim
weight 4.938 g
diameter 28.3 mm
The town and county of Bellinzona, Blenio and Riviera were subject to Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden as shared territory for almost 300 years. Until about 1548 the so called 'Drei Orte' (the first three cantons) coined money in Bellinzona, separately or together, then they moved their mint to Altdorf north of the Alps. They had begun minting shortly after 1500 when Milan could no longer meet the need for coin because of the disputes over its dukedom. Current events were reflected in the imagery of their coin: following antique Roman models, reference was proudly made to the Pavia campaign in 1512 and the victory of Novara in 1513 - hence on the reverse of the half 'Dicker the seated figure of Mars and the legend VICTORIA ELVETIORVM (victory of the Swiss). After Pope Julius II had honoured the Swiss Confederates for their prowess with titles and banners in late 1512, the 'Drei Orte' added the papal crossed keys to the imperial eagle and the coats of arms already figuring on their coin.