12. Seal of Meyer Son of Judah
*Meyir bar Yehudah
Dimensions: 24 mm. Impression.
Location: General Archives of the Kingdom, Brussels, Seal Collection, Cast No. 35501.†
Bibliography: Schlumberger and Blanchet, 1914, No. 678; Blumenkranz, 1965–66, No. 2, 23 (5); Bedos, 1980b, No. 2, 23 (5).
The seal matrix shows a lion in the center facing right (the stamped impression thus showing the lion on the left), with the Hebrew inscription around the design. Originally belonging to the Henri Schuermans collection, the matrix was sold in 1909 (Pl. 12, item 14, in his sale catalogue) to the distinguished numismatist Adrien Blanchet. The present location of this seal matrix is unknown, but an impression remains, taken before the Schuermans sale, at the Belgian royal archives.
The use of Hebrew alone and the simple design would seem to indicate an Ashkenazi background, which is to say that its owner came from central or northern France. In fact, as the seal matrix originally was in a Belgian collection, the seal might not be French at all but could come from the Rhine area. Though somewhat larger, it resembles the seal of Samson son of Samson except that there the lion is facing left and is rampant. The notes in the Schlumberger-Blanchet catalogue date it from the end of the thirteenth or the beginning of the fourteenth century. The very simplicity of the design and the fact that the seal impression does not appear on any known document prevents us from even guessing as to the identity of the owner. Certainly there is a strong possibility that the owner used a lion as the image to refer to his father’s name, Judah.