This historical museum quality set of gold Coronation Die Trial Strikes was just authenticated and certified by PCGS and is one of only two known. It is amazing that after 400 years, these gold Die Trials remained together, intact and preserved in gem mint state condition. They are 5 or 10 Ducat size in diameter.
The Matthias II Obverse Trial Strike is the plate coin in Forschner, listed as #34.1 gold, with a diameter of 37 mm. The other Die Trial of his wife Anna, is also the plate coin in Forschner, listed as #34.3 gold, with a diameter of 36 mm. The Forschner numismatic reference book on medals is referenced by both PCGS and NGC for attribution and listing the Forschner # on the inserts.
Matthias II of Austria (Feb 24, 1557- March 20, 1619) was crowned King of Hungary and Croatia in 1608. He was also King of Bohemia in 1611, as well as the Archduke of Austria. He was Head of the House of Hasburg.
Matthias II reigned from June 13, 1612 to March 20, 1619 as the Holy Roman Emperor. These gold obverse die trials commemorate his Coronation, and likely were presented to Matthias for his approval prior to striking the Coronation medals. It's unbelievable that after centuries of war, barbaric times and world instability, these even exist today!
The Electors, located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany but part of the Roman Empire at that time, authorized and minted coins and medals to celebrate Coronations and the accession to the position of Holy Roman Emperor. Frankfurt am Main was a free City and only accountable to the Holy Roman Emperor. The Monarch who would receive the Coronation at the hands of the Pope was elected by the Electors.
Electors were members of the Electoral College that elected Matthias II as the Holy Roman Emperor in 1612. The Mint struck these 2 gold Die Trials of the obverse portraits of Matthias and Anne, and eventually struck the actual gold medals which are extremely rare, usually seen in circulated and/or damaged condition.
In 1618, during the last year of Matthias reign as the Holy Roman Emperor, the Thirty Years War broke out in Europe, lasting until 1648. It was one of the most destructive wars in history, starting as a war between Protestants and Catholics but evolved into a major European full-scale war resulting in millions of deaths and transforming Europe. The Holy Roman Empire eventually became what is known as Austria and Hungary today.
Gold coins and gold medals of Matthias II and of Matthias as the Holy Roman Emperor are extremely rare, and are seldom seen. Many are often damaged, especially in the larger denominations of the 4 Ducat, 5 Ducat and 10 Ducat, and on the Gold Coronation Medals.
In Freidberg, under Germany Frankfurt am Main, gold coins from 1612-1618 during the short reign of Matthias II (Freidberg #947-957) are designated as very rare and unpriced.
In The Standard Catalog of World Coins (Krause) the ND 1612 Matthias 3 Ducat (KM #43) is listed as rare and unpriced. The 5 Ducat (KM #44) is also listed as rare and unpriced.
Heritage Auctions only shows (1) Matthias large size gold coin, a 4 Ducat Medal, Forschner #21 that sold for $18,800. It was also a 1612 Commemorative gold coin celebrating his Coronation and rise to Holy Roman Emperor. It was certified UNC by NGC, but was damaged mount removed.
Stacks Bowers sold a Matthias Gold Medal "Seize and Captured Graw" from Hungary in 1605 for $19,550. It was 49.5 MM and was in VF condition, uncertified, with damaged heated edges.
Stacks Bowers also sold a German State Frankfurt am Main 5 Ducat ND 1612 commemorating the election of Matthias as the Holy Roman Emperor. It was 32.2 MM, 2 known, realizing $60,000. in VF condition, with damage, graffiti in the obverse fields.
In another Stacks Bowers auction, they sold an Austria Vienna 10 Ducat, 32.8 MM, of Matthias 1612 in EF condition, uncertified, realizing $23,000 with damage, 2 carved X's in the obverse fields.
As documented above, most of the large Ducat gold coins and gold Coronation Medals of Matthias, whether as his Coronation as King or his accession to the throne as the Holy Roman Emperor, are very circulated and damaged, selling in the 20k to 60k USD in public auctions.
Recently in a Kunker German Coin Auction, a non damaged 10 Ducat 1619 of Matthias II from Vienna, Austria in good - very fine condition, not certified by PCGS or NGC, sold for approximately $164,650.
In the March 2021 Heritage Auction of The Paramount Collection, a 10 Ducat 1612 of Matthias II from Vienna, Austria, certified MS62 by NGC, sold for $204,000.
Very few gold medals of Coronations of European Kings, have the fascination and excitement of these 2 gold Obverse Die Trials. Additionally, in this case they also celebrate Matthias' rise to be the Holy Roman Emperor. They are historically significant and numismatically important since they document a Coronation and accession to the position of Holy Roman Emperor.
These PCGS certified Matthias Gold Obverse Die Trial strikes defy logic and history, both surviving 500 years in gem condition. They belong in the finest European collection of gold coins, in a world-class collection of numismatic treasures, or in a major Museum showcasing their history and significance.
These are both Plate Coins in the Forschner reference book:
Frankfurt in 1612
Assession to Holy Roman Emperor
Featured on the cover of Mint Error News Magazine Issue 54:
Die Trials are featured in chapter 13 of my
NLG award winning book, World's Greatest Mint Errors.