1584. The assassination of William of Orange
Obverse: O . DIRVM . SCLERVS . NON . MANEBIT . INVLTVM, Balthasar Gerards shoots with pistol at William of Orange, encouraged by Philip II with sceptre, 1584 in exergue
Reverse: PASTOREM . OCCIDIT . NE . VOS . CREDITE . LVPO [mint mark rosette], CONFIDITE, shepherd in the midst of his flock attacked by wolf
The Burgundian Catholic Balthasar Gérard was a subject and supporter of Philip II, and regarded William of Orange as a traitor to the king and to the Catholic religion. After several attempts to get close to Orange he eventually presented himself to him as a French nobleman, and gave him the seal of the Count of Mansfelt. This seal would allow forgeries of the messages of Mansfelt to be made. Orange sent Gérard back to France to pass the seal on to his French allies.
Gérard returned in July, having bought two wheel-lock pistols on his return journey. On July 10 1584, he made an appointment with Orange in his home in Delft, the Prinsenhof. After Orange had left the dining room and walked downstairs, Gérard stepped out from behind a pillar and shot him in the chest at close range. William of Orange died on the spot. Balthasar Gérard was caught and later sentenced to an unusually brutal execution.