Sep 11 – 16, 2022
University of Warsaw
Europe/Warsaw timezone

The Majorcan church lead tokens: a numismatic system to control priests presence during mass

Sep 14, 2022, 12:00 PM
Auditorium Maximum - Hall D

Auditorium Maximum - Hall D


Jaume Boada-Salom (Societat Catalana d'Estudis Numismàtics )


In the 16th century, a unique system of control over priests’ participation in the masses was introduced in the Cathedral of Majorca. It consisted of one or several lead tokens that were handed at a precise moment of the rite, to be exchanged for currency at the end of the month. Although the system had been introduced at a troublesome time in the history of this Mediterranean island, its advantages were important enough for it to be extended to most Majorcan parishes and remained in use until the late 19th or early 20th century. It also gave a material support to the so-called “ecclesiastical benefit” system, which had become an essential resource for financing the Catholic Church since the middle ages. The tokens may be studied from many angles. They include the way they were made using moulds, their illegal use as a local currency, and even their counterfeiting, and more.

Primary author

Jaume Boada-Salom (Societat Catalana d'Estudis Numismàtics )

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