The Period of Charles IV. It is the title of another special thematic series prepared by Czech Mint for collectors enthusiastic about precious metals and national history. The series include three motives which are engraved on silver commemorative medals and gold ducats. Each of them represents one of the notable symbols of the period of Charles IV – St. Vitus’ Cathedral, Karlštejn Castle and Charles Bridge.
All three so much admired structures were initiated by nobody else but Charles IV. Although he also was the Holy Roman Emperor and King of the Romans, King of Burgundy and King of Italy, he felt primarily as King of Bohemia. He fulfilled this mission all his life with great zest, along with deep and strong faith. Many breath-taking sacral building were built during his reign. He was instrumental in making Prague the capital of the Holy Roman Empire and its glory did not fade even after centuries. For his role in the development of the country he won forever the epithet Pater Patriae, or Father of the Homeland.
Charles Bridge spans the Vltava River and links the Old Town with the Lesser Quarter. It is over 500 meters long and it is supported by 16 piers. Two Lesser Quarter Bridge Towers – the taller and the lower one – were built at the western end of the bridge; the Old Town Bridge Tower closes the bridge at the other end. The bridge is a unique outdoor art gallery as it is decorated by 30 primarily Baroque statues and sculptural groups. The oldest of them is the statue of John of Nepomuk from 1683; which is believed to protect Prague against floods. In 1393, on the order of Wenceslas IV, John of Nepomuk was tortured and his body was then thrown from the bridge to the Vltava River. At the very spot there is the well-known metal cross on the stone railing.
In the place where the bridge is situated, there used to be logs tied together allowing to cross the river. In the 10th century a wooden bridge is already documented. This bridge was however often damaged by floods. Therefore around 1170 Vladislav II had a stone one built which was named Judith Bridge. But even this bridge collapsed in the flood of 1342 and only a Roman relief from this structure was preserved inside the lower Lesser Quarter Bridge Tower. The foundation stone of the Charles Bridge was laid in 1357 by Charles IV who summoned architect Peter Parler to build it. The latter also left his unforgettable imprint in St. Vitus’ Cathedral, as well as in the Old Town Bridge Tower. The bridge, originally known as Stone or Prague Bridge, was built from sandstone blocks and was completed in 1402. It was the only bridge in Prague spanning the Vltava until 1845. It was named after Charles IV no sooner than in 1870.
The relief of Charles Bridge featured on the obverse side of the medal depicts the monument in an unusual perspective – from the Old Town Bridge Tower in the forefront up to both bridge towers in the Lesser Quarter. The reverse is dominated by the effigy of the ruler surrounded by magnificent buildings which he initiated during his reign. The text on the reverse includes name of the series and also years of the king’s birth and death. The author of the design is noted Czech medallist M.A. Josef Oplištil. The commemorative medal from fine silver will be struck in a limited edition of 2,000 pcs.
Silver medal Charles Bridge from Czech Mint’s new series The Period of Charles IV will – together with the other two medals included in the series – stand out in the collection of every sophisticated collector, who is aware of the value of national heritage. Due to the fact that prices of fine silver are currently still very favourable, their near growth is part of the majority of expert prognoses. We therefore recommend: do not hesitate and invest your money safely and smartly.