Two unusual coins of Prince Ernest of Windisch-Graetz


Between 1895 and 1917 a seven-volume catalogue of the numismatic collection of Prince Ernest of Windisch-Graetz1 was published. The fifth volume is devoted to Greek coins and was written by Dr. Josef Scholz, see Scholz 1899. On pp. 112–113 of this fifth volume, two remarkable coins from the Kelenderis mint are listed under catalogue numbers 1828 and 1829. The first coin is a stater with a diameter of 21 mm and a weight of 10.72 g, which is listed with the following description:

Av. Nackter Reiter r. eine Peitsche haltend. Rev. Kniende Ziege r. sich umwended.

Based on the orientation of the obverse and reverse to the right, it may be a coin of one of Types 3.7–17, see Kelenderis, Group 3. At the same time, the weight of 10.72 g indicates that Types 3.15–17 can be excluded, see the weight analysis of the Kalenderis staters. Notable, however, is the form of the city ethnic on the reverse of this coin, which is printed in the catalogue as follows:

Collection Ernst Prinz zu Windisch-Grätz, Vol. 5, No. 1828

The catalogue does not contain a photograph or drawing of this coin, so we can only speculate on the accuracy of the reading of this legend. There are two possibilities. It may be a distorted form of KΛE, where the letter K was not fully struck and therefore Dr. Scholz redrew it in the above manner. In that case it would be a new coin variant. More likely, however, is that the actual form was KEΛE, with the letter K outside the flan and only a small deformed part of the first letter E discernible. The KEΛE form of the abbreviated city ethnic is found on Types 3.8a, 3.9a, 3.16a and 3.17a–b. We have ruled out Types 3.15–17 based on the weight of the coin, leaving options 3.8a and 3.9a. Type 3.8a has an additional letter Σ under the city ethnic that would probably not be overlooked. Therefore, Type 3.9a appears to be the most likely.

The second coin is an obol with a diameter of 10 mm and a weight of 0.85 g with a rarity grade of RR (very rare). It is described as follows:

Av. Bock, sich niederlegend KEΛ. Rev. Vordertheil eines Greifes r. Λ ?

A graphic depiction of the coin is again not available. The legend KEΛ guarantees that this is indeed a Kelenderis coin. However, Dr. Scholz probably mistook the Pegasus for a griffin for some reason. This would make it Type 5.4b–e. If the Pegasus side of the coin really bore the letter Λ, then it would be a new variant of Type 5.4. However, the letter Λ is accompanied by a question mark in the description, so it could just be a trace of a crack in the die. In any case, the weight of 0.85 g corresponds to this type, see the weight analysis of the Kalenderis obols.


1 Ernest Ferdinand Weriand Prince of Windisch-Graetz (German: Ernst Ferdinand Weriand Prinz zu Windisch-Grätz), 27 September 1827 – 22 November 1918. Czech-Austrian nobleman, art and coin collector, archaeologist and politician.


13 April 2024