Station: [11] The Oberschopfheim Coin Hoard

A total of 253 grammes or nine ounces of silver coins in an unglazed ceramic pot: in the late Middle Ages, that would have been a small fortune!

... and yet it was abandoned and buried in the neighbouring village of Oberschopfheim. Who might have owned this treasure, and who could have amassed it?

Most of the 605 coins are denarii from Strasbourg. There are also a few coins from Lorraine and the Tyrol, as well as individual coins from Colmar, Basel and Solothurn.

Based on these numismatic identifications, scholars have been able to determine the age of our small coin hoard and perhaps reconstruct part of its history: The oldest coins were minted in the early 15th century, while the most recent ones date from the reign of Emperor Maximilian the First and were struck between 1493 and 1519.

So most of the hoard was almost a hundred years old when it was buried....

... which in turn must have happened some time around 1520, after the most recent coins were issued.

There really is only one event that comes into question. In 1525, during the Peasants' Wars, Schuttern was looted, and the monastery archives and library were largely destroyed. Oberschopfheim is about 5 kilometres or three miles away, but the monastery had property there, and the situation would have been very dangerous. Someone probably buried their treasure in an area where no-one lived at the time – and then ultimately fell victim to the raids and looting.

The story surrounding the discovery of this hoard is also remarkable. When the church of St. Leodegar was being built in Oberschopfheim in 1955, the coin hoard was found on a nearby slope ... and at first, nothing was done about it.

"Vase with old coins found on Pfarrberg in 1955 during construction of church. “

The priest typed a little note, taped it to the pot and stowed it all away in a cupboard in the parish archives. He put a few especially nice coins into the foundation stone of the new church ... and forgot about the hoard soon afterwards.

It wasn’t until 2012 that the coins were "discovered" for a second time and scientifically examined. And now they’ve found their proper place here at the museum.

All depictions: © Historischer Verein Schuttern 603 e.V. / Gemeinde Friesenheim