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Siege Coins of the World


Korchnak, Lawrence C., Ph.D. Siege Coins of the World. 2021. xii and 318 numbered pp. Hardbound. (X287)

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Author’s Foreword:

Obsidional or siege money is one of the purest forms of fiat currency. By definition, it is legal tender backed by an issuing authority that possesses the absolute power to set its value. A noted economist captured it in more vivid terms: fiat currency has a stated value because men with guns say so.

I began collecting siege money many years ago after acquiring a 1621 Julich four stuiver from a local coin dealer. The irregularly shaped coin sparked my interest and I wanted to learn more. However, when I began my search for information, I discovered that there were no catalogues and very few articles in English on the subject. Since this was pre-internet, my only avenue of research was to seek the available numismatic reference works in Latin and multiple European languages. Many of these references were difficult to find. However, once I found them, I added them to my library and discovered that each was incomplete on its own due to the complexity of the subject matter and the information available at the time of their publication. So, I began a numismatic journey that led me to this project. Siege Coins of the World. Siege Coins of the World is the result of translating the major works, merging their content, and updating the most recent information available into a single volume. It is an attempt to expand the knowledge of this fascinating area of numismatics and create a comprehensive English language reference for the collector.

Siege Coins of the World intentionally excludes fantasies and issues that are more appropriately categorized as necessity coins, such as Cartagena, Montalcino, La Rochelle, and Spanish local issues. Conversely, those generally accepted by the numismatic community as siege coins are included, such as Groningen, Thorn, and the Irish cities of refuge. Most, but not all, known varieties of each type are listed. The reader can find these varieties in specialized catalogues that are noted in the Selected Bibliography.

In Siege Coins of the World, sieges are arranged in alphabetical order for easy reference. There is a brief description of each siege to provide the reader with historical context followed by a list of coins known to be issued as a result of the siege. Siege Coins of the World has assigned a uniform numbering system and cross references to other cited sources. Coins that were missing from earlier works and major varieties that have since been since confirmed have been added. Illustrations accompany the descriptions and line drawings are provided where no photograph was available. The reader should note that while the author has made every effort to provide precise specifications for each coin, slight variances in size and weight are not uncommon.