Identify its Örtug from Gotland

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Written on December 16, 2018 • Last edit: March 11, 2019
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With there being so many different types of anonymous Gotlandic örtug pieces, distinguishing each type can be difficult. In 2014, Gunnar Haljak published a book entitled "Classical örtugs from Gotland: Klassiska Gotlandska örtugar," where Haljak showed his comprehensive work in decoding these örtugs. While the exact date-range he gives each piece is only from his opinion, Haljak's catalogue has had the most research put into it, meaning it is the most accurate and up-to-date.

An important thing to note is that Haljak divided these örtugs into 43 different types, rather than the 45 listed on Numista. After the 1400s, Gotland fell under Danish ruler, so Haljak refers to types 44 and 45 as hvids, and are outside the date-range for his 43 types. However, even if Gotland was under Danish ruler, the island could have continued their old minting system with örtugs. Between the similarity of types 44 and 45 to the örtugs, and between how other sources list these coins' (and other Gotlandic coins') denominations, they will be listed on Numista as örtugs.

To date, only 24 of the 43 types Haljak lists are currently listed on Numista. These types are probably the most common ones.

Single-access key to identifying your Gotlandic Örtugs

To use the single-access key below, start at the first point, and find which aspect matches your item the closest. Whichever aspect you choose, there will be a number after. Go straight to that number, skipping any number that happens to be between it and the first point. Keep making your way down the list until you come to whichever type the numbers are leading to.

  1. On the obverse, is the ram's body dotted (Type 2), lumpy (Type 3), fluffy/wavy (Type 6), striped (Type 13), or solid Type 17)?
  2. Is the ram walking right (Type 17) or walking left (Type 23)?
  3. Is the ram walking right (Type 6a) or walking left (Type 4)?
  4. Does the ram have a halo (Type 2) or is missing its halo (Type 5)?
  5. Are the ram's lumps apparent and distinguishable (Type 1) or subtle and merging (Type 6b)?
  6. Does the ram have a halo (Type 7) or is missing its halo (Type 10)?
  7. On the reverse, does the tree end in a stump (Type 22) or does it have three roots (Type 8)?
  8. Are the top leaves pointing towards the trunk (Type 29) or are they pointing up (Type 9)?
  9. Are the bottom leaves pointing up and away from the trunk (Type 5) or are they pointing nearly straight out (Type 16)?
  10. On the reverse, does the tree have five roots (Type 14) or three roots (Type 11)?
  11. Are the top leaves pointing up and away from the trunk (Type 3) or are they just pointing up (Type 12)?
  12. Does the tree have long roots (Type 44a), regular roots (Type 44b), or short roots (Type 44c)?
  13. Does the ram have a halo (Type 9) or is missing its halo (Type 14)?
  14. On the reverse, does the tree end in a stump (Type 24), five roots (Type 41), or three roots (Type 15)?
  15. Are all leaves pointing up (Type 8) or are they all pointed up and away from the trunk (Type 16)?
  16. On the obverse, are the ends of the flag angled down (Type 31), curved down (Type 32), or straight (Type 38)?
  17. Does the ram have a halo (Type 18) or is missing its halo (Type 19)?
  18. On the reverse, are the roots flattened into a stump (Type 7) or are there five roots (Type 40)?
  19. On the reverse, are there five roots (Type 15), three roots (Type 28), or does the tree end in a stump/are the roots too merged to count (Type 20)?
  20. Are the bottom leaves pointing up and away from the trunk (Type 45) or are they pointing down and away from the stump (Type 21)?
  21. On the obverse, is there a cross on the flag (Type 19) or is the flag missing its cross (Type 21)?

Types missing on Numista

As stated earlier, not every type is currently listed on Numista and your coin could be one of those. If your coin doesn't match above characteristics and you think you have one of the missing types on Numista, please contact Sulfur.

The 19 types still missing on Numista are:
  • Type 4
  • Type 10
  • Type 11
  • Type 12
  • Type 13
  • Type 18
  • Type 20
  • Type 25
  • Type 26
  • Type 27
  • Type 30
  • Type 33
  • Type 34
  • Type 35
  • Type 36
  • Type 37
  • Type 39
  • Type 42
  • Type 43

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