These extremely rare Crusader coins feature the proud cross and shield of the Teutonic Order. This Germanic order encompassed the tiny Livonian Order who minted these striking silver coins for only 14 years. The Order has survived over 800 years and continues to today as the Order of the Teutonic Knights of St Mary’s hospital in Jerusalem. Their motto is “Help – Defend – Heal.”
The coins of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword were minted in Reval, Livonia. Ancient Livonia comprised the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea in present day northern Latvia and southern Estonia.
We often think of the “crusades” as a period starting in 1095 AD and lasting several hundred years wherein Western European Christians tried to take back Jerusalem and the Holy Land that had been conquered by the Muslims in 636 AD. But to the north, another series of similar events was happening. The Northern Crusades began in the late 12th century. German Teutonic and Livonian military orders, along with the Christian kings of Sweden, Poland, Denmark and their allies began a crusade against the raiding pagan peoples of Northern Europe.
Today, these coins are a lasting testament to the faith and commitment of a tiny band of men - and the faith of the Christian nations they defended.