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Holy Roman Empire, Schaffhausen, Monastery of Allerheiligen, Bracteate

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Holy Roman Empire, Schaffhausen, Monastery of Allerheiligen, Bracteate (obverse) Holy Roman Empire, Schaffhausen, Monastery of Allerheiligen, Bracteate (reverse)

The abbot of the monastery of Allerheiligen in the Swiss city of Schaffhausen issued pfennigs since the 12th century. The earliest pieces bore the descriptive image of a sheep standing on a rooftop, reflecting the belief that the city's name derived from 'Schaf-Hausen,' the 'house of sheep.' In the early 13th century there were also pfennigs depicting a ram and a cross, or a ram jumping out of an archway. This was the image that Schaffhausen adopted for its seal when it became a Free City in 1218.

That the quality of the coin images was not among the abbot's first priorities is evident on this square pfennig, whose sheep looks rather like a long-legged dragon. The coin is a bracteate, a pfennig minted on one side only. The sheep on this coin can also be regarded as the Lamb of God as the Agnus Dei symbolizing Jesus Christ.

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