St. Chrisopher penny oldest to depict Bohemian king

A silver coin, found recently in the crusader city of Acre, is believed to be the earliest depicting a king of Bohemia ever found. The coin bears the image of St Christopher and the inscription Zl Rex Boemo, king of the Bohemians. Experts place the date of minting in the 13th century. (photos)

“We have here the earliest example of a coin naming the king of Bohemia,” Dr. Robert Kool, a medieval numismatist with the Israel Antiquities Authority said, excitement audible in his voice, “which in itself was already a discovery.” Until the penny surfaced, the earliest known coin in existence mentioning the king of Bohemia was dated well after 1300, at least half a century later. The fact that St. Christopher, instead of national hero St. Wenceslaus, was on the coin’s reverse, made it additionally unique. The king is thought to be King Premizl Ottokar II, described by a contemporary as “a lion in his bravery and an eagle in his kindness,” who ruled from 1253-1278.