In the 1980s, during the archaeological investigation and restoration of the Haldenstein castle in the Rhine valley close to Coire, Grisons, Switzerland, remains of a mint were detected. There, from 1612 to 1770, seven Barons of Haldenstein produced coins of varying quality, representative gold and larger silver denominations along with small ones below standard.
Several thousand items of broken crucibles, melting waste, test strikings of coin dies, blanks, clippings of strips, and coins document the complete production cycle from the melting of the silver alloy to the cutting of blanks and coins. The quality in the production and of the coins was almost always poor. Thus many technical details are visible in the mint waste and in the coinage that could not be detected on well produced coins. All these elements allow a unique insight in the transition of an early modern mint to a machinery based production center.
The mint was installed in several rooms, all oriented towards the central court of the castle. Only few structures are documented. Based on the spacial analysis of the finds, and on some few texts preserved, as inventories and contracts, it is nevertheless possible to reconstruct the mint of Haldenstein.
Rahel C. Ackermann, lic. phil., Swiss Inventory of Coin Finds, P. O. Box 6855; 3001 BERNE; Switzerland firstname.lastname@example.org; www.fundmuenzen.ch