Coin balance

Coin balance

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This coin balance is mounted on a wooden box which contains a drawer that supports the balance. The beam has swan box ends that are made of iron. The drawer contains the weights and one smaller, handheld coin balance. There are 62 square tapered weights, 2 nested weights, and 13 fraction weights. The fraction weights fit into a recess with a hinged lid. A pair of forceps in the drawer (as well as a double-hooked hanger) is used to lift the weights on and off the balance pan. The drawer has carved recesses for the large and small balances. The weights are marked with the name of the coins with which they correspond.
The Master sign on the inner surface of one pan is that of T.M. Kolb, who received his master degree in 1754. The mark is hearts, 3X, with TMK on top within a shield. Kolb was a scale maker and also an adjuster for scales and weights. The other pan has a coat of arms, probably that of Nuremberg.
The small handheld balance has one round pan and one triangular pan, a common arrangement for coin balances. It has no maker marks. The pulley cord which lifts the pans into weighing position has a weight at the end in the shape of a lion, the symbol of Nuremberg. One of the nested weight sets is for weighing kronen and the other is for weighing ducats.
Currently not on view
Object Name
balance, coin
Kolb, Tobias Martin
place made
Germany: Bavaria, Nuremberg
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
iron (overall material)
overall: 14 1/2 in x 13 in x 10 in; 36.83 cm x 33.02 cm x 25.4 cm
overall: 14 1/2 in x 13 in x 12 1/4 in; 36.83 cm x 33.02 cm x 31.115 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of American Pharmaceutical Association and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
European Apothecary
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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