Coinage Agreement Between Hamburg and Lübeck, 1255
As early as the twelfth century Lübeck had a large Baltic commerce and had entered
into an agreement with Hamburg. The advantages of a common coinage system and of
cooperation rather than competition were perceived at an early date and out of such
arrangements with other cities Lübeck, which was at one time the metropolitan capital of
the Hanseatic League, organized the Baltic and North Sea trade.
To all the faithful of Christ to whom these presents shall come, the Advocate, Council,
and Citizens of Hamburg give joy and greetings in the Author of Salvation.
We wish it to be known to all people, that for the honor and true love we have for
them, we have agreed with and allied with our beloved friends, the citizens of Lübeck,
that the new denarii which are now being struck in our city, and in Lübeck likewise,
ought to weigh thirty-nine solidi less two denarii to the mark, and so that the coins may
endure, the alloy should be of half an ounce.
We thus bind ourselves mutually to the promise that our friends of Lübeck will not
strike any other new denarii, except these, without our consent, nor ought we in our turn
to strike any other new denarii without their consent. And it is further added that, if in
the meantime it should happen that both our lords, the Counts, should die, which God
forbid, we of Hamburg should be held beyond suspicion by the citizens of Lübeck by reason
of the said promise.
Therefore, in order that this agreement between us and the citizens of Lübeck may not
be changed or broken, we have given this present charter, here written, to our beloved
friends of Lübeck, sealed with our seal, properly attested and sealed. Given at Hamburg
in the year of Our Lord 1255, on April thirtieth, on the vigil of the feast of St. George.
From: G. F. Sartorius, ed., Urkundliche Geschichte des Ursprunges der deutschen
Hanse, (Hamburg, 1830), Vol. II, p. 71; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H.
Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce
Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 145-146.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998