Extremely Rare

  • Diameter 66mm : Weight 58.79gms
  • Exhibited:
  • Medals, Commemorative
  • Literature:
  • Coins, Monies & Stamps
  • Medium:
  • 393
  • Circa:
  • Collectibles
  • Notes:
  • On the 29th July 1650, William II the ambitious Prince of Orange conspired to seize control of the City of Amsterdam in the State of Holland from the ruling Regency in a wider plan to consolidate his power across the Dutch Republic. William was keen to launch a punitive attack on the English who in 1649 had beheaded his father-in-law King Charles I while establishing a Commonwealth. He was therefore steadfastly opposed to the reduction in the size of the Dutch Army which had already begun in 1649 with the disbanding of its paid mercenaries at the insistence of the penny-pinching Amsterdam. He was able to attract co-conspirators to his plot against Amsterdam by spreading false rumours that it was working in league with England against the other Dutch states. Unfortunately for William, his troops became hopelessly lost in the early morning mist before being stumbled upon by a postman on his rounds who was quick to alert the city giving it ample time to rally its troops to thwart the ‘surprise’ attack. The besieged city signalled its resolve to open the dykes and flood the countryside thus making it uninhabitable for any conquering army and, the Prince realising that he had been outmanoeuvred negotiated a strategic withdrawal. The ‘Siege of Amsterdam’ inspired the renowned medallist Pieter van Abeele to produce a series of silver commemorative medals celebrating the city’s salvation that featured on their obverses a crowded cityscape viewed from the Amstel River positioned below the ‘Hand of God’ holding a heart. At least six versions of the medal were cast all using a common obverse but with differing reverses. An extremely rare reverse is individually hand-engraved featuring a wreath enclosing the motto “GODT HEEFT ONS BEWAERT” which translates as ‘GOD HAS SAVED US” and is dated 4 August 1650 celebrating the day the siege was broken. There are only a handful of medals known with this reverse and being hand-engraved they all differ slightly in design. These ‘unique’ renditions are generally held by museums with perhaps the finest known being in the British Museum Collection. That medal was donated to the museum in 1825 by King George IV who had inherited it from his father George III. Perhaps God also chose to ‘save’ William in November 1650 when he died of smallpox at the early age of twenty-four thus putting a sudden end to his ambitious earthly plans. In our March Sale Smalls Auctions offers a “GODT HEEFT ONS BEWAERT” reverse on a ‘Siege of Amsterdam’ Medal. Overall our example aligns closely with the British Museum specimen but being cast there is a slight variance in the weight as well as some minor stylistic differences on the hand-engraved reverse. It is pierced twice at the top for wearing but is in Very Fine condition overall. It is certainly one of rarest historical medals we have handled.
  • Condition:
  • Pierced twice at top

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July 26, 2020 12:00 PM AEST
Paddington, Sydney, Australia

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