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Black Death Saves Medieval Coins
February 25, 2009

Jewish Coin and Artifact Display in London

As Black Death swept over Europe in the Middle Ages, Medieval society, desperate and full of fear and rage, sought out ways to place blame. Minority populations were an easy target and often received harsh treatment and unjust punishment. It seems incredible, but of course we often find the same type of random beliefs cropping up even today.

In the 14th Century, European Jewish communities were blamed for the spread of Black Death. Why? Because of different customs and ways of life, I suppose. But those same differences are now being celebrated through a great accumulation of materials on display at London's Wallace Collection Museum.

The items on display came primarily from Colmar, France and Erfurt, Germany and include about 3,000 medieval coins, along with ornate wedding rings, brooches, a grooming or toilet set, ceremonial cups and more.

If you are visiting London, you can see this exhibit until May 10, 2009, after which the collection will return to the former synagogue in Erfurt, Germany for permanent display.

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About the Author
Tom Michael has been Krause Publications primary market analyst on more than 80 world and United States coin catalogs produced over the last 20 years. He came to KP in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree in history, a master of arts degree in economics and a history of coin collecting stretching back to the 1960s. He began collecting world coins as a child by asking friends and relatives to bring coins back from overseas trips, visiting flea markets and having his mother watch for foreign coins in her register at the local grocery store. Today he works with a dedicated base of over 200 contributors to provide accurate market values for the five-volume Standard Catalog of World Coins series, as well as many specialty catalogs, including Coins & Currency of the Middle East and the fifth edition of Unusual World Coins.

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