Archaeological finds in Liechtenstein: Coins
Liechtenstein can look back over a long archeological tradition. Typical examples from numerous epochs are exhibited among other places in the Liechtenstein National Museum in Vaduz. Three coins are now presented as commemorative stamps.The silver “denar” (value: CHF 0.85) discovered in Balzers and forming part of the estate of the Liechtenstein artist Egon Rheinberger, who died in 1936, dates back to Roman times (49 48 B.C.). An elephant treading on a snake is depicted on one side as well as the name Caesar. The other side depicts priestly accoutrements such as axe, ladle, holy water sprinkler and priest’s hood. In the civil war against Pompey, Caesar paid his soldiers with similar coins. The elephant signifies the fighting strength of his legions, while the priestly accoutrements symbolize Caesar’s office as Pontifex Maximus. The “florin” (value: CHF 1.00) and the “penny” (value: CHF 1.30) are part of a hoard buried in 1360 containing 26 gold and 2408 silver coins. These came to light on a building site in Vaduz in 1957. The bracteate, a silver penny from Überlingen which is struck on only one side, depicts a crowned lion with flying mane. The coin dates from the early 14th century, as does the Fiorino d’oro, a golden florin from the Republic of Florence. The obverse side features a lily, the city symbol of Florence, while the reverse side depicts John the Baptist, the city’s patron saint. This Florentine golden florin is regarded as the archetype of one of the most important late medieval gold coins.
Issue Date: 02.06.2014 Designer: Sven Beham Ruggell Printer: FM Screening, Silver Hot-Foil Stamping, Multiheight Embossing Cartor Security Printing, Meaucé la Loupe Process: 4-Colour Offset Colours: 4 Colours Size: 208 x 146 mm,
In its most recent stamp issue, Philately continues the popular definitive stamp series with flower motifs. The self-adhesive stamps designed by Stefan Erne depict three indigenous bog flowers: the Siberian sword lily (value: CHF 1.00), the Marsh Grass-of-Parnassus (value: 2.80) and the bog-bean, or buckbean (value: CHF 3.60).
Although the Siberian sword lily (lat: Iris sibirica) is in steady decline, it can still be found in Liechtenstein in marshlands and shallow swamps. This light-loving plant with its large violet-blue blossoms bedecks large areas of the Ruggeller Riet in the months of May and June. This Iridaceae, also known under its synonym Blue Flag, grows to a height of 40 to 80 centimetres and, in contrast to other conspecifics, does not have sword-shaped but rather slender grass-like leaves. The new stamp is also Liechtenstein\’s contribution to this year\’s joint issue of SEPAC. In this organisation, 14 small European postal administrations have joined forces and regularly issue stamps on common themes.
The Marsh Grass-of-Parnassus (lat: Parnassia palustris), also called Student\’s Rose, thrives in the marshlands from the valleys up to the mountainous regions. In Central Europe it is the sole representative of its plant family, the Parnassiaceae. Its white petals are threaded with colourless longitudinal veins; its edge is generally smooth. In earlier times the plant was used among other things as a remedy for heart palpitations.
The buckbean or bog-bean (lat: Menyanthes trifoliate) is still used, especially as an appetite stimulant and digestion aid, which explains why it is a component of many ‘digestive’ bitters. There are only three places where this endangered gentian with its white, bearded petals can now be found in Liechtenstein. However, it has been successfully planted in several other places. The buckbean, or bog-bean, has a life span of up to 30 years.
Issue Date: 02.06.2014 Designer: Stefan Erne, Triesen Printer: FM screening Gutenberg AG, Schaan Process: 4-Colour Offset Colours: 4 Colours Size: 32 x 38 mm
Amphibians are protected by law in Liechtenstein. Nevertheless, a sharp decline in the numbers of all species has been noted over recent decades. Three indigenous animals now appear as illustrations on self-adhesive commemorative stamps designed by the graphic artist Silvia Ruppen.
Seriously endangered is the Yellow-Bellied Toad (value: CHF 0.85), a small clay-coloured anuran with a yellow and black spotted underside and heart-shaped pupils. It lives in places which are exposed to the sun near temporary small bodies of water in areas of sparse vegetation that offer good hiding places. Such habitats can be found in Liechtenstein, sometimes in vernal ponds, quarries, landfills and floodplains of the Rhine in valleys. The yellow-bellied toad lays its eggs in small clumps, frequently at the stems of plants. The most serious risk factor for this species is the scarcity of small bodies of water as well as a lack of networks in the countryside.
Measuring 12 to 18 centimetres, the Great Crested Newt (value: CHF 2.90) is the largest native species of newt. It is also highly endangered and can be encountered in valley areas, only very occasionally in ponds and small bodies of water with rich underwater vegetation and wooded areas close to water. Characteristic of what one may call the “wedding finery” of the male is the 1-2 cm high jagged crest, which however decreases in size by the time this creature comes to leave the pond.
The Alpine Salamander (value: CHF 3.70) is active mostly during the night and in the early hours of the morning. The black land salamander with a shiny skin can grow to a length of 15 centimetres. Its young are born alive, so it is not dependent on spawning grounds. Its habitat can be humid gorges, ravines, alpine meadows, scree as well as deciduous and mixed forest areas. The alpine salamander is very common in the Liechtenstein alpine regions between 1200 and 2000 metres above sea level. In isolated cases, it can also be found on lowerlying slopes of the Rhine valley.
Issue Date: 02.06.2014 Designer: Silvia Ruppen, Mauren Printer: FM Screening Gutenberg AG, Schaan Process: 4-Colour Offset Colours: 4 Colours Size: 32.5 x 32.5 mm