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Fashion on Coins I: Beards

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"A beard makes a man likeable," some people say. "Anyone who sports a beard has something to hide," say others, while there are those who "swear by the prophet's beard." But one thing is certain: a strong growth of beard is a visible sign of masculinity and potency, as it occurs after puberty has set in.

In ancient Rome the young men consecrated their first shave to the gods to gain their protection in adult life. Because of its continuous growth the beard became the symbol of vitality as well. But it also served as a physical signal with which a man can express his personality and standing.

Whether curled, growing without restriction, cut short and twisted or clean-shaven – at any rate having a beard or being shaven is tied up with the respective culture and epoque, with social circumstances and fashion trends. This is reflected in the portraits of the powerful on their coins, as this picture tour shows.

Fashion on Coins I: Beards