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Florius Frammel
04-21-2018, 01:40 PM
Someone asked me something about the "Alchemie exhibition (http://www.smb.museum/en/exhibitions/detail/alchemie-die-grosse-kunst.html)" of Berlin. Actually the question was if I remembered the name of the alchemist whose "transmuted gold" was on display there.... but none of us could remember it.


I found the alchemist and a picture of the objects.
The text on the website where I have it from says: "One gold, one silver nuggets, allegedly transmuted by Johann Friedrich Boettger for King August of Poland in 1713. Boettger probably made them from ducats to win the King’s favour."

https://i1.wp.com/we-make-money-not-art.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/14_Reguli_P.jpg

True Initiate
04-21-2018, 01:45 PM
Does it say anything about the method of transmutation?

Florius Frammel
04-21-2018, 02:04 PM
Does it say anything about the method of transmutation?

No. But I guess JDP might know more about Boettger's methods and if they are legit.

JDP
04-21-2018, 05:32 PM
No. But I guess JDP might know more about Boettger's methods and if they are legit.

According to Robert E. Röntgen (The book of Meissen, page 28), these two transmutations were achieved through a "complicated process by which Bottger changed copper into silver and lead into gold." I quote the passage in full from the above mentioned source:

"In March of 1713, Bottger performed a transmutation in the presence of August and three other witnesses. One of them left a protocol describing the complicated process by which Bottger changed copper into silver and lead into gold. Both pieces have been preserved and they are now in the Dresden Porcelain Collection."

So it seems these pieces of silver and gold were not made with the Stone but through some "particular" processes out of copper and lead, respectively. By 1713 Bottger was likely all out of the sample of the Stone that he had obtained from the Greek monk Lascaris, so he could no longer perform genuine alchemical transmutations (i.e. by means of "projection" of a small amount of the white or red Stone on a much larger amount of molten base metal), and had to resort to other methods (very similar to what happened to Seyler once he ran out of his sample of the Stone.) This prompts the question: were these other methods that Bottger used really effective and could produce silver & gold out of copper and lead? Impossible to know unless we can gain access to the above mentioned "protocol" written by one of the witnesses to get a better idea of what operations Bottger was employing. From my own experience, I have no problem whatsoever with silver being made from copper, as I have done it myself through "chymical" methods, but the yield is very low, you would have to work rather large amounts of the substances involved in order to get a sizable amount of silver. Turning lead into gold without the Stone or some other true alchemical "tincture" I strongly doubt, though, as I have yet to see even one chymical process that can give gold without silver being involved in one way or another. And even then the yield is small in comparison to the amount of the reagents employed. So if Bottger was employing "chymical" methods to make this apparently large amount of silver and gold (the pictures unfortunately do not give an idea as to how big the "nuggets" really are) he must:

1- have used rather large amounts of the substances involved

2- have used lead, or one or more of the other ingredients involved in the gold-making process, that also contained silver, or have added silver on purpose as one of the reagents, otherwise he could not have obtained any gold from it

Florius Frammel
04-21-2018, 06:54 PM
The pictures unfortunately don't give an idea as to how big the "nuggets" really are

I've seen them. From memory I estimate the nuggets have a diameter between 5 to 10 cm.

Luxus
04-21-2018, 07:15 PM
Based on those photos alone I will tell you how it is done. Notice that you can see a fingerprint on both samples? That means those samples were once plastic at room temperature.

The top sample is mercury/gold amalgam

The bottom sample is gold after the mercury has been roasted off leaving pure gold.

JDP
04-21-2018, 08:49 PM
The description of this transmutation demonstration in Janet Gleeson's book (The Arcanum: The Extraordinary True Story) seems to differ from the one in Röntgen's book, and it suggests that the gold and silver were made by alchemical methods (i.e. projection of a "tincture" on molten metals):

https://fullenglishbooks.com/english-books/full-book-the-arcanum-read-online-chapter-13

So Baron Böttger was neither alone, nor deprived of comfort and intellectual stimulation. Yet one feels, from the pattern of his life, that anything that this impassioned soul lacked could easily become an overriding obsession, and the one thing missing after he had found the formula for porcelain was liberty. Augustus, however, had no intention of setting him free until he fulfilled his promise to produce gold. In 1713, the king, urged on by Nehmitz, began yet again to pressure Böttger to provide some concrete evidence of his skill. He was ordered to demonstrate a transmutation in the presence of the king, Prince von Fürstenberg and Nehmitz on March 20. If he failed, his fate would again hang in the balance. Yet again Böttger was forced to return to the illusions that had ultimately been responsible for the years of captivity. In front of the royal party he placed copper in one crucible and lead in another and placed them on the furnace. As before, when the metals were molten he added a mystery tincture and waited for the contents to mingle. When the crucibles were removed from the heat and uncovered, the copper was found to have transmuted into silver, the lead was now gold. Once again Böttger by clever sleight of hand had managed to cheat the executioners axe.

Note: Gleeson's "explanations" are very "iffy". What "sleight of hand" can possibly have been used here? There were 3 (or 4, according to Röntgen) people watching him, and the crucibles were placed inside a blazing furnace. We would need a more detailed description of the demonstration to know what security measures were put in place to insure against possible fraud.

JDP
04-21-2018, 09:01 PM
Based on those photos alone I will tell you how it is done. Notice that you can see a fingerprint on both samples? That means those samples were once plastic at room temperature.

The top sample is mercury/gold amalgam

The bottom sample is gold after the mercury has been roasted off leaving pure gold.

The top sample is silver, the bottom one is gold.

Regarding the "fingerprints" and amalgams: I doubt that is possible. I have distilled silver amalgams (while testing those "animated mercury" claims of Starkey & company) and they melt with heat, so they would lose any "fingerprints" on their surface. The "fingerprints" might actually be just that: fingerprints left on the samples of artificial silver & gold by someone inspecting them. Since these are historical pieces, the museum staff would not have cleaned them up and left the fingerprints "as is".

Luxus
04-21-2018, 09:48 PM
Very easy to do, you make a ball of mercury/silver amalgam and roll it in copper powder. Then heat it over a naked flame briskly.
Make another ball of mercury/gold amalgam and roll it in lead powder. Then heat it briskly over a naked flame.

You are left with two samples one looking like it is copper and the other looking like it is lead.

Now you place them in a crucible adding a corrosive (the mystery tincture) and hit it with just enough head to drive off the mercury.

The copper ball will magically transmute into silver and the lead ball will magically transmute into gold

JDP
04-21-2018, 10:44 PM
Very easy to do, you make a ball of mercury/silver amalgam and roll it in copper powder. Then heat it over a naked flame briskly.
Make another ball of mercury/gold amalgam and roll it in lead powder. Then heat it briskly over a naked flame.

You are left with two samples one looking like it is copper and the other looking like it is lead.

Now you place them in a crucible adding a corrosive (the mystery tincture) and hit it with just enough head to drive off the mercury.

The copper ball will magically transmute into silver and the lead ball will magically transmute into gold

Apparently you must think that the king and the other witnesses were retarded and would not have obviously seen such a simple trick. Even entire manuals were written in order to expose the tricks of con-men and charlatans trying to pass as "alchemists". See, for example, Maier's Examen Fucorum Pseudo-Chymicorum, entirely devoted to the subject of advising unwary people regarding such tricks. There's just no way that the king and the other court fellows would have fallen for such a gimmick. We are not talking about illiterate "rustics" here, but educated people who were familiar with the subject.

In order to easily expose this trick, all you have to do is simply take a sample of the "copper" and the "lead" and give them a nice hammer blow. They will break apart, like all amalgams, and unlike pure metals, which are malleable. In such transmutation demonstrations it was customary to give the alchemist performing the demonstration the metals which he was going to transmute right in front of all witnesses, not let him bring these metals himself and thus giving him (should he really be a crook) a chance to tamper with them beforehand.

Luxus
04-22-2018, 12:21 AM
Apparently you must think that the king and the other witnesses were retarded and would not have obviously seen such a simple trick. Even entire manuals were written in order to expose the tricks of con-men and charlatans trying to pass as "alchemists". See, for example, Maier's Examen Fucorum Pseudo-Chymicorum, entirely devoted to the subject of advising unwary people regarding such tricks. There's just no way that the king and the other court fellows would have fallen for such a gimmick. We are not talking about illiterate "rustics" here, but educated people who were familiar with the subject.

In order to easily expose this trick, all you have to do is simply take a sample of the "copper" and the "lead" and give them a nice hammer blow. They will break apart, like all amalgams, and unlike pure metals, which are malleable. In such transmutation demonstrations it was customary to give the alchemist performing the demonstration the metals which he was going to transmute right in front of all witnesses, not let him bring these metals himself and thus giving him (should he really be a crook) a chance to tamper with them beforehand.

Not retarded no...but tricked, even an educated man can be tricked...and thats saying nothing about an academic who is the easiest to trick of all.

Explain the deep fingerprints in the samples, if they were not produced when the samples were soft then how were those imprints formed?

JDP
04-22-2018, 12:55 AM
Not retarded no...but tricked, even an educated man can be tricked...and thats saying nothing about an academic who is the easiest to trick of all.

You would have to be in order to be swindled by such a silly trick that everyone interested in alchemy in those times would have more than known very well about. Even in medieval writers, like Chaucer, you already find the parody of the swindler pretending to be an "alchemist" using such tricks. So, needless to say no one in the 18th century would have fallen for the old, tired & exposed to death amalgams trick.


Explain the deep fingerprints in the samples, if they were not produced when the samples were soft then how were those imprints formed?

I already did:

http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?5618-Transmuted-Gold-and-Silver-by-Boettger&p=56965#post56965

Dragon's Tail
04-22-2018, 06:17 AM
So the materials, both the raw metal and the Tincture, were added to the crucibles and heated together. I assume the crucibles were covered. Projecting this way would cut down on the sputtering and splattering sure enough :)

Luxus
04-22-2018, 11:34 AM
You would have to be in order to be swindled by such a silly trick that everyone interested in alchemy in those times would have more than known very well about. Even in medieval writers, like Chaucer, you already find the parody of the swindler pretending to be an "alchemist" using such tricks. So, needless to say no one in the 18th century would have fallen for the old, tired & exposed to death amalgams trick.



I already did:

http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?5618-Transmuted-Gold-and-Silver-by-Boettger&p=56965#post56965

"The "fingerprints" might actually be just that: fingerprints left on the samples of artificial silver & gold by someone inspecting them."

To my mind that is not an explanation, you see I have never had the experience of handling gold only to have my fingers burn deeply into the gold my fingerprints...so whats different with this guys fingers and mine?

JDP
04-22-2018, 07:20 PM
"The "fingerprints" might actually be just that: fingerprints left on the samples of artificial silver & gold by someone inspecting them."

To my mind that is not an explanation, you see I have never had the experience of handling gold only to have my fingers burn deeply into the gold my fingerprints...so whats different with this guys fingers and mine?

How do you know that they are "burned deeply into the gold"? And from the pictures I can only definitely say I can see a fingerprint on the silver nugget, and it could be from someone handling the sample and then no one having bothered to clean it.

If you heat amalgams they melt, so how could they retain fingerprints on their surface?

Florius Frammel
04-22-2018, 08:33 PM
Want some math?

The official website of the museum says:

Gold Regulus: d = 3,6 cm, G. 169,6 g
Silver Regulus: d = 4,1 cm, G. 167,9 g

My memory made them double size.

Luxus
04-22-2018, 09:13 PM
To me it looks like those fingerprints are deeply pressed into those samples in the same way as if you had a clay ball. This is the reason I suggest these samples must have been balls of amalgam at some point.

Amalgams have a melting point if you stay below that temperature they don't melt...but the mercury will be dissociated from the alloy in the form of mercury vapour leaving you with the other component of the amalgam silver/gold etc

In Asia mercury amalgam balls are worn as jewellery and if made poorly you can see fingerprints in them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBJeRM4mSvc

JDP
04-22-2018, 10:55 PM
To me it looks like those fingerprints are deeply pressed into those samples in the same way as if you had a clay ball. This is the reason I suggest these samples must have been balls of amalgam at some point.

Amalgams have a melting point if you stay below that temperature they don't melt...but the mercury will be dissociated from the alloy in the form of mercury vapour leaving you with the other component of the amalgam silver/gold etc

In Asia mercury amalgam balls are worn as jewellery and if made poorly you can see fingerprints in them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBJeRM4mSvc

If you have heated amalgams to drive the mercury away you will also see that the silver or gold left behind get a "spongy" look, different than the "smooth" look of the amalgam. It doesn't seem very likely to me that the solid metals in the amalgam could retain such things as fingerprints on their surface, unlike the amalgam "balls", which are smooth.

I can only see one thing that seems almost surely like a fingerprint: it's on the silver nugget (the one on top), the gold one seems to have some lines on it here and there, but they could be from the mold where the metal was cast, it is not 100% clear from the picture if it is a fingerprint.

Florius Frammel
08-02-2018, 02:56 PM
I found out another story about these reguli:

In 1750 Graf (Earl) Hennicke did his researches. He hoped that there may be something left of the stone inside the gold and silver. So he melted the gold and added some lead. After cupelation and the separation of the lead, the weight of the gold was the same like before.

Then the silver was cupelled with lead as well. This time the weight decreased (from 11 lot to 10 lot of silver).

All people involved in Boettger's experiments, noble men and "scientists" alike, never had the slightest doubt about the truth of metal transmutation. The biggest fan of the 19 year old Boettger was the most famous chymist of his times Johann Kunckel. The old Kunckel was asking his younger idol many questions. They seemed to work on a process by Basil Valentine. In a letter Kunckel wrote: "...please tell me, how strong the first grade of fire must be approxiametly. ...so a beautiful red sublimate is rising, but no powder falls on the bottom. Have I erred here? ...so it gives a beautuful salt..if it can be used for the certain thing? Please answer! The red powder won't tinge".

It's noteworthy that unlike Boettger many false alchemists were killed by the authorities. He "invented" porcelain much later and all this time they let him live (in a kind of prison).

About two or three years after Boettger's first transmutstions they found Lascaris, the mysterious alchemist Boettger got the stone from. He was dying and regretted giving Boettger the stone. He had seen what trouble the young Boettger caused with it. But he was content giving him a false recipie in which two matters were involved: Cinnabar and Oil of Vitriol.

JDP
08-02-2018, 03:56 PM
I found out another story about these reguli:

In 1750 Graf (Earl) Hennicke did his researches. He hoped that there may be something left of the stone inside the gold and silver. So he melted the gold and added some lead. After cupelation and the separation of the lead, the weight of the gold was the same like before.

Then the silver was cupelled with lead as well. This time the weight decreased (from 11 lot to 10 lot of silver).

All people involved in Boettger's experiments, noble men and "scientists" alike, never had the slightest doubt about the truth of metal transmutation. The biggest fan of the 19 year old Boettger was the most famous chymist of his times Johann Kunckel. The old Kunckel was asking his younger idol many questions. They seemed to work on a process by Basil Valentine. In a letter Kunckel wrote: "...please tell me, how strong the first grade of fire must be approxiametly. ...so a beautiful red sublimate is rising, but no powder falls on the bottom. Have I erred here? ...so it gives a beautuful salt..if it can be used for the certain thing? Please answer! The red powder won't tinge".

Where is this letter found today?


It's noteworthy that unlike Boettger many false alchemists were killed by the authorities. He "invented" porcelain much later and all this time they let him live (in a kind of prison).

The execution of alchemical "betruegers" was not necessarily connected with fraud regarding the transmutations themselves. Some of these were totally genuine, and the authorities did not doubt for a second their genuineness, but the problem is that the "betruegers" in question were not upholding their contracts and were fleeing with the transmuting "tinctures" (and whatever money advances they managed to acquire) in their possession instead of continuing with the agreements they had reached with the rulers of a given area. Sometimes it is obvious why some of these fellows were doing such things: they had, indeed, samples of a transmuting "tincture", but they had not prepared it themselves, so the contract with a given ruler was actually a farce. The "betrueger" would demonstrate actual transmutations to totally convince them of the reality of the subject, then lure them into making a contract for a regular production of artificial silver or gold, get some monetary advancement, and then flee to another territory and try the same tactic again. That way they could get the most out of the limited supply of transmuting "tincture" they had in their power.


About two or three years after Boettger's first transmutstions they found Lascaris, the mysterious alchemist Boettger got the stone from. He was dying and regretted giving Boettger the stone. He had seen what trouble the young Boettger caused with it. But he was content giving him a false recipie in which two matters were involved: Cinnabar and Oil of Vitriol.

Source for this interesting info?

Florius Frammel
08-02-2018, 04:09 PM
I don't know where this letter is to be found today, but as soon as I find out, I'll tell you.

All the info are from Boettger's biography by Klaus Hoffmann. Unfortunately he wasn't really into showing his sources correctly but I'm sure there is more to be found in his book.

Esche
08-02-2018, 09:34 PM
I don't know where this letter is to be found today, but as soon as I find out, I'll tell you.

All the info are from Boettger's biography by Klaus Hoffmann. Unfortunately he wasn't really into showing his sources correctly but I'm sure there is more to be found in his book.

Where are located this german museum? I never had listen about Boettger...

Even with the doubt above the true of this transmutation it's a very important sample.
Another well known samples displayed by musems around the world?

Florius Frammel
08-03-2018, 05:53 AM
I added Staatliche Kunstsammlung in Dresden to the Map (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?5699-The-Map). There they are. But I don't know if they are displayed for the public. It's quite a treasure for them.

In my last post I forgot to write that at this examination in 1750, they didn't use the whole reguli but only small pieces of them. They still look the way like Boettger made them. I could not find out anything about the fingerprints yet.

Esche
08-03-2018, 05:07 PM
I added Staatliche Kunstsammlung in Dresden to the Map (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?5699-The-Map). There they are. But I don't know if they are displayed for the public. It's quite a treasure for them.

In my last post I forgot to write that at this examination in 1750, they didn't use the whole reguli but only small pieces of them. They still look the way like Boettger made them. I could not find out anything about the fingerprints yet.


Thanks Florius, in search of my last question, to another proofs or samples registered or desplayed by musems, I found something of interesting content with a nice bibliography for the issue:

“The only coinage of nobles which has been attributed to alchemy was that made by Edward III in 1344. The gold used in this coinage is supposed to have been manufactured in the Tower, the adept in question was not Raymond Lully, but the English Ripley.”

– From Lives of Alchemystical Philosophers, by Arthur Edward Waite (1888)



http://realitysandwich.com/215504/a-story-of-rose-nobles-alchemical-gold-and-the-infinite-game/

“The first gold that K(ing) Edw. 3. coyned, was in the yeare 1343, and the peeces were called Florences, because Florentines were the coyners, as Easterlings of Sterling money: Shortly after he coyned Nobles, of noble, faire & fine gold, the penny of gold; afterward the Rose Noble then current for 6, shillings 8. pence, & which our Alchimists do affirme (as an unwritten verity) was made by projection or multiplication Alchimicall of Raymond Lully in the Tower of London, who wold prove it as Alchmically, beside the tradition of the Rabbies in that faculty, by the inscription; for as upon the one side there is the kings image, in a shippe to notifie that he was Lord of the seas, with his titles, set upon the reverse a crosse floury with Lioneux, inscribed ‘Jeus autem transiens per medium eorum ibat.’ (Luke 4:30 – Jesus passing through the midst of them went his way) Which they profoundly expound, as Jesus passed invisible & in most secret manner by the middest of Pharisees, so that gold was made by invisible and secret art amidst the ignorant. But other say that text was the onely Amulet used in that credulous warfaring age to escape dangers in battailes.”

– from Remaines Concerning Britaine, by William Camden (1636)


“Among the earliest of the coins, whose undisputed existence was regarded as visible proof of hermetic labors, were the so-called Rose nobles made from gold artificially prepared by Raymund Lully. This celebrated alchemist (1235—1315) was invited by Edward II, King of England, about the year 1312, to visit his realm; on his arrival he was furnished with apartments in the Tower of London, where he transmuted base metals into gold; this was afterwards coined at the mint into six millions of nobles, each worth more than three pounds sterling. These Rose, or Raymund nobles as they were also called, were well known to the antiquarians of the sixteenth century, and were reputed to be of finer gold than any other gold coin of that day. On the obverse of these coins is represented in a very rude fashion a ship floating on the sea decorated with a royal ensign and carrying the king, who bears in his right hand a naked sword and on his left arm a shield. Around this design: Edward D[e]1 Gra[t1a] Rex Angl[le] Z Franc[1ae] D[om1]n[u]s 1b[ernle]. (Edward by the grace of God King of England and France, Lord of Ireland.) On the reverse a conventional rose surrounded by four lions and ducal crowns, alternating with four lilies. The inscription on the outer circle reads: Jhs. Aut. [em] Trans1ens. Per. Med1um 1llor.[um] 1bat. (But Jesus passing through the midst of them went His way.) St. Luke iv : 30. (Wiegleb, Untersuch. Alchemie. Weimar, 1777, p. 217.)

Rose nobles are figured by Lenglet du Fresnoy in his Histoire de la Philosophie Hermetique (Paris, 1741, Vol. II, p. 8.), who remarks, “They are less rare in the north of England than in the capital; one of my friends had several, some of which weighed ten ducats.” These coins are said to have been worn as amulets to preserve from danger in battle, and to have been used as touch pieces in connection with the gift of healing by royal touch. {Pettigrew, Superstition in Medicine and Surgery. London, 1844, p. 129.) Lully himself, in his ” Last Testament,” declares that while in London he converted twenty-two tons’ weight of quicksilver, lead and tin, into gold. This relation is vouched for by Cremer, Abbot of Westminster (Maier’s Tripus Aureus. Francofurti, 1618, p. 183), and the Raymund nobles are described by William Camden, the English antiquary {Britannia sive regnorum Anglice descriptio, 1586), and by John Selden (Mare Clausum, 1635). Robert Constantine, in his History of Medicine (1545), states that he found public documents confirming the report that Lully made gold in the Tower by order of the King, and Dr. Edmund Dickenson relates that the workmen who removed the cloister which Lully occupied at Westminster found some of the powder, by which they enriched themselves. Historians who do not believe in transmutation, point out chronological discrepancies which throw doubts on the pretensions of Raymund Lully. (See Wiegleb, op. cit.)”

– From Contributions of Alchemy to Numismatics, by Henry Carrington Bolton (1890)



“In the King’s fifth year, by another indenture with Lord Hastings, the gold coins were again altered and it was ordered that forty five nobles only instead of fifty as in the last two reigns should be made of a pound of gold. This brought back the weight of the noble to one hundred and fifty grains as it had been from 1351 to 1412 but its value was raised to 10s. At the same time new coins impressed with angels were ordered to be made, sixty seven and a half to be struck from one pound of gold, and each to be of the value of 6s 8d, that is to say the new angel which weighed eighty grains was to be of the same value as the noble had been which weighed one hundred and eight grains.The new nobles to distinguish them from the old ones were called Rose Nobles from the rose which is stamped on both sides of them, or ryals or royals a name borrowed from the French who had given it to a coin which bore the figure of the King in his royal robes, which the English ryals did not. Notwithstanding its inappropriateness, however, the name of royal was given to these 10s pieces, not only by the people but also in several statutes of the realm. “

– From The Gold Coins of England: Arranged & Described, by Robert Lloyd Kenyon – (1884)

Esche
08-03-2018, 05:10 PM
I added Staatliche Kunstsammlung in Dresden to the Map (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?5699-The-Map). There they are. But I don't know if they are displayed for the public. It's quite a treasure for them.

In my last post I forgot to write that at this examination in 1750, they didn't use the whole reguli but only small pieces of them. They still look the way like Boettger made them. I could not find out anything about the fingerprints yet.


:oThanks Florius, in the searching of my last question, wich is to another proofs or samples registered or desplayed by musems, I found something of interesting content with a nice bibliography for the issue:



“The only coinage of nobles which has been attributed to alchemy was that made by Edward III in 1344. The gold used in this coinage is supposed to have been manufactured in the Tower, the adept in question was not Raymond Lully, but the English Ripley.”

– From Lives of Alchemystical Philosophers, by Arthur Edward Waite (1888)




“The first gold that K(ing) Edw. 3. coyned, was in the yeare 1343, and the peeces were called Florences, because Florentines were the coyners, as Easterlings of Sterling money: Shortly after he coyned Nobles, of noble, faire & fine gold, the penny of gold; afterward the Rose Noble then current for 6, shillings 8. pence, & which our Alchimists do affirme (as an unwritten verity) was made by projection or multiplication Alchimicall of Raymond Lully in the Tower of London, who wold prove it as Alchmically, beside the tradition of the Rabbies in that faculty, by the inscription; for as upon the one side there is the kings image, in a shippe to notifie that he was Lord of the seas, with his titles, set upon the reverse a crosse floury with Lioneux, inscribed ‘Jeus autem transiens per medium eorum ibat.’ (Luke 4:30 – Jesus passing through the midst of them went his way) Which they profoundly expound, as Jesus passed invisible & in most secret manner by the middest of Pharisees, so that gold was made by invisible and secret art amidst the ignorant. But other say that text was the onely Amulet used in that credulous warfaring age to escape dangers in battailes.”

– from Remaines Concerning Britaine, by William Camden (1636)


“Among the earliest of the coins, whose undisputed existence was regarded as visible proof of hermetic labors, were the so-called Rose nobles made from gold artificially prepared by Raymund Lully. This celebrated alchemist (1235—1315) was invited by Edward II, King of England, about the year 1312, to visit his realm; on his arrival he was furnished with apartments in the Tower of London, where he transmuted base metals into gold; this was afterwards coined at the mint into six millions of nobles, each worth more than three pounds sterling. These Rose, or Raymund nobles as they were also called, were well known to the antiquarians of the sixteenth century, and were reputed to be of finer gold than any other gold coin of that day. On the obverse of these coins is represented in a very rude fashion a ship floating on the sea decorated with a royal ensign and carrying the king, who bears in his right hand a naked sword and on his left arm a shield. Around this design: Edward D[e]1 Gra[t1a] Rex Angl[le] Z Franc[1ae] D[om1]n[u]s 1b[ernle]. (Edward by the grace of God King of England and France, Lord of Ireland.) On the reverse a conventional rose surrounded by four lions and ducal crowns, alternating with four lilies. The inscription on the outer circle reads: Jhs. Aut. [em] Trans1ens. Per. Med1um 1llor.[um] 1bat. (But Jesus passing through the midst of them went His way.) St. Luke iv : 30. (Wiegleb, Untersuch. Alchemie. Weimar, 1777, p. 217.)

Rose nobles are figured by Lenglet du Fresnoy in his Histoire de la Philosophie Hermetique (Paris, 1741, Vol. II, p. 8.), who remarks, “They are less rare in the north of England than in the capital; one of my friends had several, some of which weighed ten ducats.” These coins are said to have been worn as amulets to preserve from danger in battle, and to have been used as touch pieces in connection with the gift of healing by royal touch. {Pettigrew, Superstition in Medicine and Surgery. London, 1844, p. 129.) Lully himself, in his ” Last Testament,” declares that while in London he converted twenty-two tons’ weight of quicksilver, lead and tin, into gold. This relation is vouched for by Cremer, Abbot of Westminster (Maier’s Tripus Aureus. Francofurti, 1618, p. 183), and the Raymund nobles are described by William Camden, the English antiquary {Britannia sive regnorum Anglice descriptio, 1586), and by John Selden (Mare Clausum, 1635). Robert Constantine, in his History of Medicine (1545), states that he found public documents confirming the report that Lully made gold in the Tower by order of the King, and Dr. Edmund Dickenson relates that the workmen who removed the cloister which Lully occupied at Westminster found some of the powder, by which they enriched themselves. Historians who do not believe in transmutation, point out chronological discrepancies which throw doubts on the pretensions of Raymund Lully. (See Wiegleb, op. cit.)”

– From Contributions of Alchemy to Numismatics, by Henry Carrington Bolton (1890)



“In the King’s fifth year, by another indenture with Lord Hastings, the gold coins were again altered and it was ordered that forty five nobles only instead of fifty as in the last two reigns should be made of a pound of gold. This brought back the weight of the noble to one hundred and fifty grains as it had been from 1351 to 1412 but its value was raised to 10s. At the same time new coins impressed with angels were ordered to be made, sixty seven and a half to be struck from one pound of gold, and each to be of the value of 6s 8d, that is to say the new angel which weighed eighty grains was to be of the same value as the noble had been which weighed one hundred and eight grains.The new nobles to distinguish them from the old ones were called Rose Nobles from the rose which is stamped on both sides of them, or ryals or royals a name borrowed from the French who had given it to a coin which bore the figure of the King in his royal robes, which the English ryals did not. Notwithstanding its inappropriateness, however, the name of royal was given to these 10s pieces, not only by the people but also in several statutes of the realm. “

– From The Gold Coins of England: Arranged & Described, by Robert Lloyd Kenyon – (1884)


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