The Old Town Astronomical Clock is a national monument, of which we the Czechs, are very proud. This technical unique clock with amazing artful components lent its famous name also to the attractive series of silver medals from the Czech Mint, comprising 12 issues dedicated to each sign of the zodiac. The December mintage belongs to the first winter month and correlative astrological sign, Sagittarius. The theme of the medal is based on the zodiac of the astronomical clock and it has been painted by the leading Czech artist Josef Manes.
The production of tower clocks, the astronomical clocks predecessors, began in the late 13th century. The oldest astronomical clock was then constructed in Padua, Italy, in 1344. It held a dial with central lines - the same as a little-known second Prague Astronomical Clock, located at the New Town Hall in Charles Square until the end of the 18th century. Prague, Stralsund and Bern can be proud of the clock with the astrolabe providing a projection of the sky from the North Pole. The astronomical clock in Ulm has both - astrolabe and central circles - and, for example, Exeter has clock rings rotating in which numbers and signs show a stable indicator. Each of astronomical clocks was or still is unique, however, the Old Town Astronomical Clock has a real rarity: a moving outer dial astrolabe, displaying an old Bohemian time.
During a detailed study of the Old Town Astronomical Clock, you certainly will not miss that it has many exceptional features and an astronomical plate certainly belongs among them. Manes’s craftsmanship of the twelve months was inspired by the simple country life that also looks beautiful on silver-plated medals from the Czech Mint. The December scene of felling an oak and bark collecting is the dominant motif on the face and is completed by a smaller motif in a circular shape symbolizing the sign of Sagittarius. The reverse is then decorated with beautiful compositions of the portrait of Josef Manes himself, standing with painting utensils before a detailed display of a panel and with astrological signs and inscriptions: ‘Josef Manes and Prague Astronomical Clock.’ Both sides were crafted by the talented artist and sculptor Daniel Kartáková. That’s how an original piece was created. It will delight Sagittarians, and might even encourage the founding of a first collection, which will be very loved by this particular sign of the zodiac.