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St. Lambert - Liege 1686

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Registered: August 2005
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 2,362
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Belgium (Liège, Chapter of St. Lambert): copper méreau or communion token; memento mori, 1686. Low Countries; OB: ANNIVERSARIVM; skull & crossed bones - 1686. RX: ECCLESI LEODI; (Church of Liège); crossed bones with two flames. St. Lambert Charity token of the Netherlands area (Liege). The thousand year anniversary of when Pepin, King of the Franks, allowed Lambert to return to his Holy See at Maastricht. St. Lambert served as the Bishop of Maastricht and later, Liège, where he is celebrated as a martyr and patron saint, having defended the fidelity of marriage and not succumbing to Merovingian politics. Though buried at Maasticht, his successor, St. Hubertus, had his relics removed and enshrined at Liège. St. Hubert was sent to Rome on a pilgrimage by St. Lambert (~A.D. 640-705); while there St. Lambert was martyred and Hubert was designated bishop by the Pope. Upon his return St. Hubert built a magnificent church at Liege and had St. Lambert's remains interred there. The diocese seat was moved there and the the city soon grew in size & stature. St. Lambert is the patron of many large churches. Rare type without lower jaw on skull.
Eklund (Ek) # 85; Neumann II 13920.
CU méreau (21mm, 4.8g). Dated 1686. Several other types exist in this series. Some depict the skull straight on with lower jaw, others do not include a date, and one 3/4 view to the left. I've seen a cruder type dated 1655 and another crude type where the skull is located directly over the crossed bones. It would be an interesting challenge and numismatic accomplishment to document all of these types. As I recall, Eklund ("Charity Tokens of the Netherlands", O. P. Eklund, Low Countries) only shows about three types. This [ link ] shows a few other types with the earliest date of 1635 (translate to English). With the variety of dates found on these tokens it's not credible to say these celebrate a 1000 year anniversary, necessarily. The site doesn't claim to know what the ANNIVERSARIVM refers to and even describes some of these tokens as attendance tokens.
BELGIUM. Luik (Liège). Chapter of St. Lambert's Cathedral bronze Méreau or Communion Token. Struck late 17th century. Used for the receiving of food during feast day celebrations. As early as the sixteenth century there had been an organized system of poor relief in the Netherlands, with the Protestant and Catholic churches having a leading role. A number of these churches issued tokens to their poorer parishioners. The holder of these tokens received bread or other various distributions. During the medieval period, the skull and bones emblem was a common decoration used on tombstones, as it was in Roman and early Christian tombs. It represents the banishment of all evil spirits from a holy place.
The recent article I wrote for the March/April 2023 issue of Numismatics International's journal, the "NI BULLETIN" can be obtained at this: [ link ]
· Date: July 20, 2006 · Views: 2,998 · Filesize: 108.6kb · Dimensions: 870 x 443 ·
Keywords: ecclesiastical lamberts ECCLESI LEODI liege netherlands holland
Denomination: Charity token
Reference #: Eklund 85; Neumann II 13920
Date/Mintmark: 1686
Condition: VF+
Weight: 4.8 gm; ~21.5 mm
Metal: CU
Additional Categories: Netherlands

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