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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 5, Lot: 66. Estimate CHF4500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 24 October 2011. 
Sold For CHF5000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Netherlands. 1667. Medal (Silver, 71.5mm, 124.23 g 12), struck to commemorate the Peace of Breda between Great Britain and Holland, by Christoffel Adolfzoon (c.1631-1680). MITIS ET FORTIS (= gentle and strong) Hollandia, helmeted and partially armored, holding a scepter with an eye at its end in her right hand and a lance bound with the arrows of the Netherlands in her left, standing facing, between a lamb and a lion, her left foot treading on the figure of Discord, a semi-nude gorgon-headed old woman, lying before her; behind her on her right, Dutch warships sailing to left; on her left, British warships burning; behind, the palace at Breda; in exergue, PROCUL.HINC.MALA.BESTIA / REGNIS! IUN: 22. / 1667.C.A. (=go away from these states, you vicious beast!) followed by the date of the Treaty of Breda and the engraver’s initials.

Rev. Pax, draped but with one breast bare, standing facing, her hair billowing out behind her and holding sword tipped with an olive wreath in her right hand and a cornucopiae and caduceus with her left; above, flanked by garlands of fruit, hand of God emerging from the clouds holding the shields of England and the Netherlands, and, to left and right of Pax’s neck, long ribbon inscribed IRATO BELLUM PLACATO NUMINE PAX EST (=war from an angry divinity, peace from one appeased; behind, peacefully sailing merchant ships; below her feet, arms and a crown; in exergue below, REDIIT.CONCORDIAE.MATER / BREDAE (=Mother Concord has returned at Breda) and shield bearing the arms of Breda between IUL.31 .Ao.1667.
On the edge: NUMISMA.POSTERITATI.SACRUM.BELGA.BRITANNOQUE RECONCILIATIS,CUM.PRIVIL:ORDIN:HOLLAND:ET:WEST (=A medal consecrated to posterity on the occasion of the Peace between the United Provinces and Great Britain. With the permission of the States of Holland and West Friesland). M. I. pp. 528-529, 176. PiN 257. Scher, The Proud Republic, 38. Van Loon II, pp. 534-536. Very rare, a beautiful, impressive and very important medal of great historic significance. Attractively toned. A few very minor marks, otherwise, good extremely fine.

This is one of the most famous of all Dutch medals, and has the dubious distinction of being struck in honor of the peace treaty that ended the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667 - one of its causes was the English capture of New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664), but also of being one of the causes of a subsequent war! The reason for this is that the hag on whom Hollandia treads on the obverse has the epithet Mala Bestia, pernicious beast, which had been used for the English king Charles II by his enemies (and the features of the Hag are similar to those of Charles as well)! Not only that, but the Dutch destruction of the British fleet at Chatham (known as the Battle of Chatham in Dutch sources and the Raid on the Medway in British) appears as well. This remarkable feat, under the Dutch Lieutenant-Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, led to the Peace Treaty of Breda, which this medal commemorates. However, it was surely not the most diplomatic thing to put on a peace medal; needless to say, Charles II’s government protested and, in the end, the medal was recalled and its dies destroyed. Nevertheless, festering animosities soon (1672) led to another conflict, The Dutch War, in which France was allied with England against the Dutch, who were themselves supported by Austria, Spain and Brandenburg. During this war, which lasted until 1678, the Dutch recaptured New York, but gave it back again when the English withdrew from their alliance with France.