Moneyers Guild

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An Tir - Moneyers Guild - 50.png

Guild Minister: Arion the Wanderer

The Moneyers Guild of An Tir teaches the craft of minting pre-17th century style coinage using technologies and styles appropriate to each time period. We disseminate knowledge about hand-hammered coinage and promote its use for a wide variety of SCA functions. The Guild employs a formal Medieval Guild structure of apprentices, journeymen, and master craftsmen (fellows). The Guild can provide educational and material resources to anyone practicing the craft within the Kingdom, and to people elsewhere in the Knowne Worlde.

Individuals and branches desiring to have tokens or medals minted should contact the Guild Minister.

Guild Structure

The Moneyers Guild of An Tir has the following members:

  • Shop Keeper - Manages the shop and staffs Guild educational displays. Does not take part in coin production.
  • Creative Consultant - Assists with creative aspects of coin design on request.
  • Malliatore - Good with a hammer, does not take part in other aspects of coin production.
  • Apprentice - Learns the craft as it was taught in the middle ages. Helps with projects lead by Journeymen or Fellows.
  • Journeyman - Cuts dies, makes blanks, and strikes coins with or without supervision.
  • Fellow - Teaches the craft without supervision.
  • Treasurer - Manages the Guild's mundane bank account.

The Apprentice training includes:

1. Swearing the Oath on the Hammer

2. Make 100 acceptable blanks using three different methods: Hammer a pewter ingot cast in an open face mold into a 0.7 mm thick sheet and cut out penny-sized coin blanks with blanking shears. Roll up pieces of leadless solder wire into blobs with a torch to make blanks suitable for high relief Greek-style coinage. Cast a pewter ingot in an ingot mold and roll into 0.7 mm thick strip with a rolling mill. Punch out penny-sized blanks.

3. Make a "Mon" die - a personal die in the style of English voided long cross penny dies made in the reigns of Henry III and Edward I (1248-1272) to the Guild standard of quality.

4. Be able to strike coins as part of a team using light and heavy hammers.

5. Be able to strike penny-sized coins without the assistance of others.

6. Make a set of basic lettering punches.

An Apprentice becomes a Journeyman, after making their second die to the Guild standard of quality and swearing the Journeyman's oath on the Anvil. The Journeyman's goal is to achieve a high level of proficiency in making dies using punch work and engraving skills, ingot casting, sheet metal forming, blank cutting, and coin striking. A Journeyman can work with or without direct supervision.

Journeymen are made Fellows of the guild at the discretion of the existing Fellows.

The Moneyers Guild

by Master Ian Cnulle OL

As a group and as individuals, members of the Moneyers Guild mint coins, tokens, and medals, and teach the craft of coining by a practical approximation of the medieval technologies.

The Moneyers Guild of An Tir (MGoAT) gained incipient status at May Crown Tournament in A.S.28 (1993). The MGoAT received its Royal Charter as an official Guild of the Kingdom at September Crown Tournament in A.S.29 (1994).

The Form and Character of Guild Moneying in An Tir.

In some ways, the Moneyers Guild in An Tir has been more like a period guild than most SCA guilds, although there remain major differences from period practice. Rather than the typical SCA guild that shares information and conducts contests, the Moneyers Guild is a professional association of those practicing the craft. However, period guilds were organized on the level of individual cities rather than being kingdom-wide. Period guilds were chartered with a monopoly of the right to practice their craft within their city; the SCA does not have the power to so restrict the practice of any craft.

The Moneyers Guild employs a structure of Apprentices, Journeymen, and Fellows of the Guild (i.e. ‘masters’, although we do not use that title in order to avoid the appearance of usurping the title of SCA peerage). In period guilds, Apprentices were apprenticed to individual masters. In SCA moneyers guilds, Apprentices are apprenticed to the Guild itself.

In period guilds, Journeymen were not (as in modern usage of the term) merely craftsmen of an intermediate skill level, but rather they were masters who did not have the capital to go into business for themselves. Consequently, they worked for other masters, being paid [theoretically, although not necessarily in practice] by the day [‘jour’ in Norman French, hence ‘journeyman’] rather than selling their products at retail. In this sense, Journeymen Moneyers in An Tir are ‘masters’ in the sense that they are qualified to do coining for hire on their own account.

The distinction between Journeymen and Fellows of the Guild is that Fellows are (in the consensus judgement of the rest of the Fellows) qualified to teach the craft without supervision (Journeymen can participate in teaching under the supervision of Fellows). Although the by-laws of the Moneyers Guild of An Tir provided for the appointment of various officers as needed, in practice there have only been two officers, the Minister of the Guild and the Treasurer.

Individual Journeymen or Fellows of the Guild can accept commissions to mint tokens, medals, &c. Their identity as Guild members is intended to assure that their workmanship meets (fairly generous) standards of authenticity of style and methods of production. Also, any number of members of the Guild can jointly accept a commission to mint coins, and, on the occasion of particularly large projects, the Guild itself has been the contractor. A period practice was that a person desiring products of a particular craft could go the guildhall to enquire of the officers of the guild, who would then distribute the work among guild members, and this is a practice of the Moneyers’ Guild in An Tir.

There are also group projects of the Guild as a whole, particularly the Royal presentation/ largesse pieces produced for each new King, and certain commemorative medals, e.g. the An Tir/West War medals and commemoratives for the SCA 30th and 40th year celebrations.

As Guild moneyers, our product is die-struck pieces for personal presentation pieces, gratuity tokens, household membership tokens, gaming tokens, ‘fighter pay’ tokens, and some award medals, &c. (minting trade tokens for circulation as money was forbidden to the Guild by a requirement of the by-laws before the Guild could receive its Royal Charter). However, for some award/ commemorative medals, it is economically or technically more practical to cast the pieces (pouring molten metal into molds of various materials) rather than hammer striking solid metal blanks between steel dies. Some members of the Moneyers Guild have also done such casting, and there has been some overlap with the Pewterers’ Guild that does casting exclusively.

History of the Moneyers Guild of An Tir

Pre-guild Moneying in An Tir

Throughout the SCA, since near its beginning, many individuals have minted coins, medals and tokens before there was any attempt to organize formally the teaching and/or minting as a group activity. A complete catalogue of such pieces is probably impossible, but pieces produced in An Tir known to this author include: the silver ‘pentagram’ bullion/trade coin minted by Baron Ulfhedhinn of Adiantum in A.S. 8, personal presentation pieces minted by Torgul and by Master William Bjornsun OL, commemorative pieces in brass and cast pewter tavern tokens by Duke Manfred Kriegstrieber, a copper token by Baron Steelwolf, and mostly prolifically, a series of food and drink tokens minted by a group in (the then Shire of) Terra Pomaria lead by (now) Baron Cesare (Vanderol) the merchant. I minted my first coin to supplement the Terra Pomaria tokens in the fall of A.S. 24 (1989).

Pre-cursor in the West

In the early 1980's (now) Master Emmerich of Vakkerfjell OL,OP, starting casting pewter medals. Once he developed a practical approximation of medieval die-striking, he soon attracted many collaborators who, by the mid 1980's, formed the Moneyers’ Guild of (the Principality of) Cynagua. By the late ‘80's the MGC had grown into the MGW (Moneyers’ Guild of the West - now usually referred to as the WKMG - West Kingdom Moneyers’ Guild). The MGW was officially chartered by oral Royal decree, receiving a formal charter scroll a number of years later).

Meanwhile, in An Tir, I minted four ‘generic’ token types; while I had little success in selling them in the merchant area at events, my presence attracted a number of other individuals interested in learning the craft. By the end of A.S. 25, rumor of the existence of a moneyers’ guild in the West came to my ears, and I attended An Tir/West War in A.S. 26 in order to meet them. On the basis of my generic types, I was accepted as a Journeyman of the MGW, designated ‘acting master in An Tir’ and deputized to found a branch of the Guild in An Tir.

Even before establishing incipient status for the Guild in An Tir, I adopted two important traditions from the West Kingdom moneyers: 1. the ‘mon die’ (a penny size die featuring the privy mark and given name of the individual moneyer - for use as that moneyer’s ‘signature’ on any penny size coin that could have a ‘generic’ reverse) - particularly for - 2. the Royal presentation/largesse coins struck in the name of each new King (and usually presented at HRM’s Coronation). However, the design of the An Tir mon dies is different from those of the West. The first Royal presentation pieces were minted for the first Coronation of Darius in July of A.S. 27. Such coins have been minted for every Reign since then.

At the time the process of establishing the Guild in An Tir began, all metal working crafts were under the jurisdiction of the Armorers’ Guild. Then Guild Master Wilhelm the Far Traveller authorized me to establish an independent guild for the specialized craft of moneying, but advised me that it should be independent of the Guild in the West. I felt it important to maintain some form of relationship with the MGW, while Master Emmerich had conceived his dream of starting moneyers’ guilds in all the kingdoms of the Knowne Worlde. Consequently, around the time the MGoAT received its Royal Charter, the Inter Kingdom Moneyers’ Guild was also proclaimed.

Since that time, individual moneyers have been mentored in Atlantia and Ansteorra, incipient Moneyers’ Guilds were started in Meridies and Caïd, and a fully functional Moneyers’ Guild is now operational in Northshield.

Meanwhile in An Tir, membership in the MGoAT averaged around half a dozen Journeymen and Fellows, while over the fifteen year period of the Charter, a dozen Apprentices completed apprenticeship to become Journeyman, and half a dozen Journeymen advanced to Fellow of the Guild. Perhaps as many as one hundred coin types have been minted, with total cumulative mintage probably in the low tens of thousands of pieces. Production on site at events has served as demos, while a few Ithra classes have been taught (mainly on the history of period coins and monetary systems).

Text of the Guild's Royal Charter


Be it known to all that by this Charter the Moneyers Guild of An Tir is recognized by the Crown as a Guild of the Kingdom of An Tir. The Moneyers Guild of An Tir shall advance and disseminate knowledge of period money throughout the populace: promote the use of period style coinage throughout the Kingdom and the Knowne Worlde: promote the production of period style coinage by period style methods: and serve the Crown of An Tir by providing presentation coinage for the use of Their Majesties. The Moneyers Guild of An Tir shall enjoy all of the rights and privileges customarily attendant upon the status of being a Kingdom Guild Chartered by the Crown of An Tir. The Moneyers Guild of An Tir shall establish craft-skill rankings and standards of workmanship, and engage in programs to pursue the herein stated goals, under the governance of officers as defined in the Guild's By-Laws.

By Our Hands, this third day of September, Anno Societatis XXIX,

Rorik, King An Tir Berengaria, Queen An Tir

(The 'scroll' was written with a goose quill in India ink on pseudo-vellum paper without any ilumination. The first line is in Versal letter, and the rest of the text is in an adaptation of a 12th century English book hand. HRM Rorik's signature is in runes. The seal is in black wax impressed with the original matrix of the Kingdom Great Seal [the Principality Seal augmented with a crown].)