The Eclipsing of the Roi Soleil
GERMANY, Nürnberg (Stadt).
|CNG 85, Lot: 1358. Estimate $3000.
Sold for $2900. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
AR Halbtaler Medallion Klippe (40mm, 13.79 g, 12h). Commemorating the Grand Alliance’s Victories in the War of the Spanish Succession. Georg Friedrich Nürnberger, mintmaster. Struck shortly after 23 May 1706. MIT GOTT DVRCH M O G VND L, WIRDS VND DOR= TEN WIEDER HELL, Large crowned radiant personified sun; three smaller crowns of differing style around; all with double linear and laurel wreath border, six-petaled rosette at each angle / BAR/CELONA /LIBERATA /A.1706.12 MAI/ECLIPSIS SOL=/IS above, MADRI=/TVM.OCCVP./m. MAI. to left, BRABAN/TIA.OCCVP./m. MAI. to right, TIRLEMONT CLA=DES. m. MAI below, GFN in exergue, large solar eclipse; below, drooping fleurs-de-lis with petals falling off; all with double linear and laurel wreath border, six-petaled rosette at each angle. Montenuovo 1344; Erlanger 2737; Julius 1172. Superb EF, toned, typical small die break on obverse. Rare.
This klippe was produced during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), in which France fought the Austrian Habsburgs to protect its claims on Spanish lands. Several nations, called the “Grand Alliance,” joined Austria in the fight against France. Britain, one of the Habsburgs’ allies, captured Barcelona in 1705. Soon after, the French besieged the town, prompting the British to send for reinforcements. In April of 1706, Dutch and British forces arrived and relieved the city. On 12 May 1706, as depicted on this klippe, a solar eclipse occurred, with its path passing directly over Spain and France. Especially during times of political upheaval, such events were very important to contemporary viewers, who tended to see them as a result of divine intervention and perhaps an omen relating to events in the temporal world. The members of the Grand Alliance, represented by the four crowns on the obverse of this issue, would have seen the solar eclipse as a harbinger of the demise of their enemy, the Sun King.