The Inscriptions on Nuremburg Jetons

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.
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.



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.