Antique, Pre WWII German Franciscan Crown Rosary
This is a Franciscan Crown Rosary or the Seven Joys of Mary and these are meditated on for each decade. The Seven Joys are the annunciation, the visitation, the nativity, the visit of the Magi, the finding of the child Jesus in the temple, the resurrection, and the Assumption and Coronation of Mary. Rather than a Crucifix there is a large, 1 1/2" not including the bail, brass Miraculous Medal. At the top of the bail it is marked "Made in Germany". I would date this to the 1930's, pre WWII most certainly. Note the leather with brass snap holder to fasten the rosary to the habit. Another thing to note is that the middle decade is attached to the chain behind the second lead bead so the rosary has 4 lengths when laid flat rather than 2. The total length when laid flat is almost 25".
Civil War Era Rosary from Eastern Europe, Prosser Beads and Puffy Heart Center
This is an amazing rosary from my collection, old, worn, and with many clues to its origin but yet remains a mystery to me. The large milky beads are very early Prosser beads made in the 1860's. The early ones actually incorporated milk in the formula! This was a brand new technology used first for making buttons and within a decade was used to make massive quantities of beads that were mainly used in the African and North American trade. Prior to this invention of making beads by machine, each glass bead was individually made by hand. The beads on this rosary are large and heavy and the ridge around the center is very worn down from over a century of use. All Prosser beads originally had a ridge but very worn ones from the African trade can be completely smooth now. Many of the later Prosser beads were colored but these seems to be from the very early days of production. Note that the beads are all present but are out of order.
Another clue to the date is the brass puffed heart center. These were made and used in both France and Germany in the mid 1800's. This one has a cross on one side and I believe Mary on the other.
The little brass and wood inlay crucifix is early as evidenced by the file marks still apparent on the back and sides. Made entirely by hand as opposed to later inlaid crosses that were machine made.
That one part of this rosary that is a mystery to me is the Miraculous Medal, made of aluminum which was considered rare when it was first used in the late 1800's. I tried translating the words of the Miraculous Medal into every eastern European language I could find on the internet and came up with nothing. If anyone out there can see the words and help me with this please email me. It is hard to see the words even in person and I am unsure of where exactly the words start and end. A good reader of my website identified this as Hungarian- thanks so very much!
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