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shilling - Eustratie Dabija
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13x16 mm, 0.4 g, copper
Obverse Bearded horseman with bare head - the voivod himself, riding left (of the beholder), a urus head as coat of arms below;
between pearl circles crown and legend:

Reverse Greek Δ sign (Greek alphabet letter) and four points inside letter C;
between linear circles crown and legend:


This old Moldavian coin belongs to the collection of Mr. Bogdan Costin, through the kind permission of whom the pictures are present on Romanian coins. It is an interesting piece since the mispositioning allows for the stars between the coins to be seen, stars existent on a matrix that struck several pieces at a time. This type of coin is mentioned at position 824b inside monograph Monede și bancnote românești, or at least a very resembling one.

Eustratie Dabija ruled Moldavia between 1661 (after September 19th) and 1665. He died in 1665 on September 11th ("And not ending his fourth year of reign, also an old man him being, he also paid the orderly debt, and died." as chronicler Ion Neculce puts it). The medieval Romanian coin striking died out along voivod Istrate Dabija (as less formally he was called), this prince being the last of the reigning princes to have struck money.

The "Year Writing" of Ion Neculce starts with the reign of Dabija the Voivod. Here from we learn that "This prince had the custom, when sitting at the table and seeing some poor men labouring in the yard, to heed to take two, three food pots from his table and to send to those men in the yard, so they ate. [...] Likewise he drank more often wine from red earthenware than from crystal chalice, saying the pot wine is sweeter than the one from the chalice."

Eustratie Dabija reestablished the mint of Suceava, the issues starting in 1662 and continuing, according to certain sources, up to 1680. During this period only Moldavian copper shillings were struck, commonly named șalăi by the general folk and solidi in Latin and forgeries of several European currencies. Sadly, it has to be said, the shillings of Eustratie Dabija look strikingly similarly to the contemporary Polish shillings of John II Casimir.

Inside Racovițan Chronicle, attributed to Nicholas Muste, we read about these shillings: "There was a mint inside the fortress of Suceava, that was from Dabija-voivod, and made copper shillings, that only here, in the country, were circulating, 4 shillings to a good coin".

Mihai Eminescu, the Romanian national poet, was that impressed by the voivod's personality, by his bias for the sweet wines of Moldavia especially, that he wrote a poem entitled "Shadow of Voivod Istrate Dabija".

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