Regional Monetary Standards and Medieval Bracteates

Polish Numismatic News, Vol. 64, pp. 123-56, 2020.

30 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2021 Last revised: 11 Jan 2022

See all articles by Roger Svensson

Roger Svensson

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Date Written: March 24, 2021


In the Middle Ages, tens of thousands types of uni-faced bracteate coins were struck in the period 1140−1520. The existence of hundreds of small independent currency areas with their own mints in central, eastern, and northern Europe and the strong link between bracteates and periodic re-coinage explain the large number of bracteate types. The classification and dating of coins can provide insight into economic and monetary development when studying coin hoards and cumulative finds. A central problem when classifying bracteates is that most of them are anonymous, i.e., there are seldom any legends or letters. However, bracteates struck in closely located mints almost always have the same regional monetary standard. In this study, I show how monetary standards in combination with social attributes can be used to classify bracteates when both legends and find information are lacking. I also provide an economic explanation why closely related mints voluntary joined a specific monetary standard.

Keywords: Regional monetary standards, bracteates, classification, Middle Ages, periodic re-coinage, transaction costs, seigniorage, coin hoards

JEL Classification: E42, E52, N13

Suggested Citation

Svensson, Roger, Regional Monetary Standards and Medieval Bracteates (March 24, 2021). Polish Numismatic News, Vol. 64, pp. 123-56, 2020., Available at SSRN:

Roger Svensson (Contact Author)

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

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