The earliest reckoning counters are generally thought to have been copied from the Edwardian pennies of England, but during the course of the middle ages the centres of production were in France and the Low Countries. The Nuremburg jeton masters began by copying the counters of their European neighbours, but by the mid 16th century they had gained a monopoly in their manufacture which continued for over three centuries.
Iorg Schultes: Lion of St. Mark type
The first Nuremburg jetons had fictitious or nonsense inscriptions, but during the latter half of the 16th century it became usual to place trite little mottos or wise sayings on them, usually of a religious nature. The language of the period is known academically as Early New High German (ENHG) and, as spelling was not standardised at that time, the inscriptions have many variant spellings. The language differs slightly from modern German, and even proper names are varied - the name Krauwinckel, for instance, is spelt in over a dozen ways in the Nuremburg archives.
The jeton masters of the 16th century began by placing personal symbols or abbreviated forms of their names (i.e. IO SU for Iorg Schultes) on their jetons, but the Town Council of Nuremburg later made the full name of the masters obligatory. There is sometimes confusion where there were members of a family with the same name, and a different spelling of the Christian name might be used to distinguish them. (i.e. Hans and Hanns or Wolf and Wolff).
Iorg Schultes: Ship/French shield type, dated 1553
The following are the most common names of Jeton masters found:
The Schultes (or Schultheiss) family were the first to sign their counters.
|IORG (GEORG) SCHULTES||master 1515, died 1559|
|HANS SCHULTES I||master 1553, died 1584|
|HANS SCHULTES II||master 1586, died 1603|
|HANS SCHULTES III||master circa 1608, died 1612|
|DAMIANUS KRAUWINCKEL||master 1543, died 1581|
|HANS KRAUWINCKEL||master 1562, died 1586|
|EGIDIUS KRAUWINCKEL||first recorded 1570, died 1613|
|HANNS KRAUWINCKEL II||master 1586, died 1635|
Damianus and Hans Krauwinckel were brothers. Egidius and Hanns II were the sons of Damianus, and for a time they produced jetons together. The jetons of Hanns Krauwinckel II are the most common found. Hanns' sister, Barbara, married Georg Lauffer and, at the death of Hanns, the family concern was taken over by the Lauffer family. There were subsequently six generations of Lauffer jeton masters, and only two generations - Wolf Lauffer and his four sons - are given here.
|WOLF (or WULF) LAUFFER||master 1554, died 1601|
|GEORG LAUFFER||master 1610, died 1647|
|HANS LAUFFER||master 1611, died 1632|
|MATHAUS LAUFFER||master 1612, died 1634|
|WOLFF LAUFFER II||master 1612, died 1651|
The following is a list of the most common inscriptions used by the jeton masters of the period circa 1550 - 1630:
|LIB MICH ALS ICH DIH||Love me as I love you.|
|GOTES SEGEN MACHT REICH||God's blessing brings riches.|
|DAS WORT GOTES BLIBT EWICK||God's Word remains eternal.|
|GOTES GABEN SOL MAN LOB||One should praise God's gifts.|
|GOTES REICH BLIBT EWICK||God's Kingdom remains eternal.|
|GOTT ALLEIN DIE EERE SEI||To God alone the glory.|
|SOLI DEO GLORIA||To God alone the glory.|
|HEIT ROTT MORGEN DOTT||Red today, dead tomorrow.|
|GLVCK KVMBT VON GOT ALEIN||Happiness (luck or fortune) comes from God alone.|
|GLVCK KVMBT VON GOT IST WAR||
Happiness comes from God, is true.
|GLVCK BESCHERT IST VNGEWERT||Fortune given is not guaranteed.|
|GETRIVW HANDT KOMBT DURCH ALLE||Truth succeeds over all.|
|VERBVM DOMINI MANET IN ETERN||The Word of God remains eternal.|
|VER GOT VERTRAUT HAT (auf keinen Sand gebaut)||Whoever trusts in God has (not built on a sand foundation).|
|ANFANG BEDENCK DAS ENDT||(At the) beginning consider the end.|
|GLVCK UND GLAS WIE BALD BRICT DAS||Luck (or fortune) and glass how soon they break.|
|NEYDT THUT IHM SELBST LEYDT||Envy does oneself harm.|
|FLEISIGE RECHNUMG MACHT RICHTIKEIT||Diligent accounting makes for correctness.|
Wolff Lauffer: NEYDT THUT IHM SELBST LEYDT
The Nuremburg masters continued making medalets and jetons (now no longer used for accounting but as gaming counters) until well into the 20th century. I believe the Lauer family concern (not to be confused with Lauffer) still exists under another name, though the last member of the family in the business died earlier in the century.
Egidius and Hanns Krauwinckel, joint issue. Unrecorded type.
Counters made for export to European countries, particularly from the latter part of the 17th century, often had the titles and portraits of the reigning monarchs. Hanns Krauwinckel II and his contemporaries also produced jetons depicting mythical and biblical scenes, and the inscriptions are many and varied. These are, however, less common than the normal reckoning counters.
The vast number of jetons found in this country, particularly those found on the foreshore of the Thames, testify to their widespread use in Britain.