Most people have hidden a little cash in a book at one time or another, and librarians are never surprised to encounter examples of things tucked into books about them, like dried plants pressed in herbals. That said, I wasn’t expecting to find medieval coins laid into an eighteenth-century numismatic handbook, but that’s exactly what happened when I paged through the Kislak Center’s copy of the second volume of Mikuláš Voigt’s Beschreibung der bisher bekannten Böhmischen Münzen nach chronologischer Ordnung (Prague: Gerlische Buchhandlung, 1771-1787). The Piarist Voigt (1733-1787) was a pioneering Czech numismatist who studied the Podmokelský poklad—a hoard of Celtic rainbow cups buried in a bronze cauldron and unearthed by a farmer at Podmokly in western Bohemia in 1771—as well as writing this inventory of then-known Bohemian specie. A previous (unidentified, alas, but possibly 20th-century) owner of our copy of volume 2 laid in four small envelopes containing two thirteenth-, one fourteenth-, and two fifteenth-century coins next to the engraved illustrations depicting them.
We haven’t been able to identify the coat of arms in this bookplate. It is found in our copy of Bernardino Campelli’s Delle historie di Spoleti : sopplimento di quelle del regno d’Italia nella parte, che tocca al ducato Spoletino, à principi di esso, & alla città, che ne fù capo (Spoleto: Giovanni Domenico Ricci, 1672). Since this is a history of Spoleto, I thought the arms might be associated with that city, but the Spoleto arms are quite different. All I know for sure is that the arms belong to someone who is both a prelate (because of the ecclesiastical hat with tassels) and a member of the nobility. The crown looks–to me–like that of a marquess, but this is heraldry and I could be very, very wrong.
(In fact, the only thing I’m ever certain about when it comes to heraldry is that, after hours of research, I will know less about the subject than I did before. I will spare you the sad tale of when I thought the cap of maintenance was an old ducal hat–except to say that English monarchs would have been shocked by the suddenly very large number of dukes rattling about the country.)
If you can identify these arms please leave a comment here or on our Flickr provenance identification site (where the image is much sharper).