Amulet to protect against health problems

Made:
1701-1900 in Germany

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Metal amulet with symbols of the 7 planets on one side, inscribed on other, German

This large coin-like object was one of a series of German healing ‘alchemy coins’ which were carried in the belief that they provided protection against disease and ill health. Coins of this size were generally known throughout Europe as ‘thalers’ – which is the basis for the word dollar. This one is marked with a number of alchemy symbols and claims to be made of the “seven metals” of alchemy – which are lead, tin, iron, gold, copper, mercury and silver.

On the front of the coin the main inscription translates from the German as “For Flux, Cramps and Erysipelas when it is carried by people”. (Flux was a name given to dysentery; erysipelas is a bacterial skin infection.)

Details

Category:
Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A661126
type:
amulet
taxonomy:
credit:
Loan, Wellcome Trust