An 8 daler copper block, €140,000 (£125,000) at Künker

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Due to a shortage of silver, the decision was made in 1644 to produce weighty copper plates with a face value of 8 and 10 daler.

An example of the former, described as ‘the second-heaviest coin of classical numismatics’, came up for sale on February 2 at Künker (25% buyer’s premium) in Berlin.

Such pieces were stamped in the centre with the face value and at the corners with a crown and the year. Production of the almost 20 kilo 10-daler plates ceased in 1646, that of the 8 dalers continued until the 1680s. Very few pieces survived; many were melted down when the price of copper exceeded the face value.

The plate in Berlin was dated 1659 and was recovered in the early 20th century from a shipwreck near the Baltic port of Riga. Almost all the pieces were given to museums by the Russian authorities, but some were sold to private collectors.

On auction day this example was knocked down for €140,000 (£125,000), €10,000 below the estimate.