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denarius - Dan II
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denarius - Dan II denarius - Dan II
13 mm diameter, 0.3 g, billon
Obverse Crowned voivod standing, holding in the left hand either crucifer globe or cross and in the right a scepter; ensigns on both sides and outer pearl circle (just maybe)
Reverse Cross with anchor ended arms on a shield, a crown over the shield; ensigns on both sides and outer pearl circle (just maybe)

This Walachian medieval coin belongs to the collection of Mr. Bogdan Costin, through the kind permission of whom the pictures are present on Romanian coins. He also provided us a great deal of the following information concerning the history of this problematic old coin.

This billon piece belongs to a series assigned (by the Hungarian numismatist Réthy Lászlo) to Nicolaus von Redwitz, Teutonic Knight and ban of Severin between 1429 and 1435. This assumption was also accepted by the Romanian numismatic monograph Monede și bancnote românești by George Buzdugan, Octavian and Constantin Oprescu (1976), the most important existent up to now. The researchers at the National History Museum of Romania and from the former Numismatic Cabinet of the Romanian Academy Library later considered these coins as having been struck during the reigns of Mircea the Old, Mihail and Dan II. Afterwards they again assigned these coin issues to Dan II only (1420 - 1431). The link with the Banat of Severin (province led by a man entitled ban) is uncertain yet possible. The said coins would then be again a genuine Walachian type of coins, bearing the effigy of the prince but lacking the traditional coat of arms of the Romanian medieval state (eagle perched on helmet). Also from Dan II there are known silver ducats, with the name of the voivod and weighing similarly to the billon pieces. This fact could point that the two types are different emissions of ducats or that the silver ones are the real ducats, the others being a divisionary unit that would deserve the name of bans and nothing more (the Romanian word ban - bani, preserved up until now). It is hard to tell. Anyway, it would not be that incorrect to call these artifacts denarii, similarly to their Hungarian counterparts...

King Sigismund of Hungary added, in one of his letters to Dan II, besides praisings, the wish that the Walachian prince would not impose the low quality coin (issued by the later) to the Transylvanian merchants; it is highly probable that the note was actually referring to this type of coin of Dan II, type that is far more largely known than the silver ducats of the same and subsequently have circulated more intensely on larger areas.

This anepigraphic old coin is ascribed to Dan II, prince of Walachia between 1420 and 1431, with many interruptions. He was son of Dan I (1383 - 1386) and father of Vladislav II (1447 - 1456) and of Basarab (the Old) Laiotă (1473 - 1477, with interruptions).

Dan II succeded in acquiring the throne with the help of king Sigismund of Hungary. As vassal of the later, he often received military aid against his cousin, Radu Praznaglava that fragmented his reign (i.e. in a fair translation from the Slavic chronicle, Radu the Bald). Helped by the Turks, Radu grasped the throne for several times, ousting Dan to Transylvania.

Dan accepted the suzerainty of Hungary and afterwards of the Porte, being forced to pay tribute to the later.

He fought the Turks many times, winning back the Danube fortresses of Turnu and Giurgiu. He also tried to take Chilia (also at Danube, in the Delta), but Moldavian prince Alexander the Good repelled his attack. He lost the Severin Banat (Western Oltenia) and the castle of Bran (Walachian possession in Transylvania).

The ducats of Dan II are rare collectable items. The voivod vrote to the citizens of Brașov in a letter that: "My lord the king had heart to welcome me as faithful servant and gifted me with coin mint so that in the country of my lordship and in the country of his to be alike."

Dan II was replaced on the throne of Walachia by Alexandru Aldea, another son of Mircea the Old that had Moldavian support. It seems that Dan died in a struggle against the Turks in June 1431.

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