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rennrad12020
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« Reply #75 on: June 17, 2009, 09:50:59 am »

    I recently purchased my first Papal coin. 

AR 26mm PAVLVS III MACERATA GIULIO (13 October 1534-10 November 1549)

Obv: . PAVLVS. III. / [P]ONT. MAX
Farnese arms with crossed keys and tiara above
Rev: S / PAVLVS. (mm #50). MACER.
St Paul standing with sword in right hand  and book in left hand; shield #84 (DeSylvia with lion rampart) left of feet, shield #83 (city of Macerata) to right.

Berman 949a (CNI 34, S. 205-15, M 144)

This coin has nice dark toning with iridescent highlights (especially on obv) that did not show up on the scans.

     Unfortunately the only references I have access to are Berman and Ryan (which does not extend this far).  I’ll have to save my pennies and buy a Muntoni set someday.

     I have been interested in this field for a while and had even purchased Berman’s book a couple of years ago.  This thread inspired my to finally pull the trigger and become a little more active in studying and collecting these coins.

That link to the Olomouc archiepiscopate collection is great; thanks for posting it!

John Wrenn 
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« Reply #76 on: June 17, 2009, 11:11:55 am »

That's a nice Paul III!

A useful stopgap until you get Muntoni is to try to find a copy of Angelo Cinagli's Le Monete dei Papi con Supplemento di Ortensio Vitalini

Sure it's a 19th Century book (the main part was published in 1848, and Vitalini's supplement in 1892), but it has been reprinted (my copy is from 1970) several times.   

And, when you can find it, it isn't very expensive. 

But for a single-volume work it goes into much greater detail than Berman, since it is an attempt to catalog everything by the use of tables to show all the spelling variations in legends and so on.  Not much in the way of illustrations, other than a few plates with line-drawings.

It's fairly comprehensive...even going to the extent of listing coins for popes that did not actually issue them (Leo IX, Paschal II, etc.) and so on.  It's written in Italian, but any translation website (AltaVista's babelfish, to name the one I use) will help with that.
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« Reply #77 on: June 17, 2009, 11:13:17 am »

I'm sure the truth is a lot less interesting.  :-)

Not necessarily, in medieval and early modern Europe it was a common superstitious practice to nail a coin on door beams for scaramantic purposes. Coins with images of saints were considered most suitable, and low value coins (such as a third of a grosso) wouldn't have represented a waste of money.
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« Reply #78 on: June 17, 2009, 11:15:06 am »

Nice coin, better than average grade and from a scarce mint. I believe issues from Rome and Ancona are the most common for this type than spans several XVI c. popes, Macerata (another town in the Marche region) is much harder to find.

P.S. Coin name is giulio  Wink from Pope Julius II who first introduced this denomination
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« Reply #79 on: June 17, 2009, 11:18:03 am »

I would be quite careful with Cinagli. Although an excellent book for its time, it suffers from several mistakes and is definitely outdated on some issues. Relata refero, by the way, as I don't have the book.

Regards, P.  Smiley
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« Reply #80 on: June 17, 2009, 12:28:18 pm »

I guess the real problem for us here in America was a lack of availability of useful guide books. 

When I first started collecting Papal in the early 1980s (first coin was a 1850-R Anno V Baiocco) the Ryan and Berman books had yet to be published.   I had seen Joseph Coffin's Coins of the Popes (1946) at the University of Tennessee Library, and while that is an interesting book, providing translations of inscriptions and a few plates, it wasn't a guide book in any meaningful sense.  And yet that was all we had in English, besides O.P. Eklund's Copper Coins of the Papal States (itself a reprint from The Numismatist) that only covers 1600-1870, and the Krause Standard Catalogs, which only took you to the mid-1700s back in those days.  No Internet either.

So unless I was prepared to fly to Italy and then go book shopping there, I was out of luck.  When Edward Jencius offered the Cinagli reprint in 1986, I jumped at the chance.  I may have paid $30 for it back then. 

And Cinagli is a good book for what it is.  Sure it's old, and the author had a tendency to (try to) list anything and everything he ever heard of (whether or not it actually existed). And he also tends to (try to) stick everything into the Quattrino/Baiocco/Grosso/Giulio/Testone/Scudo system, even the Avignon coins.  So it's definitely not without its problems.  Of course, within the next 5 years, both Ryan's and Berman's books came out.

Yet I still find myself using Cinagli, as a kind of supplement to the other two books, and only very rarely have I been forced to admit a particular coin is "unlisted in Cinagli".
So I say if you can pick it up somewhere for cheap (say, under $50), go for it. 
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« Reply #81 on: June 17, 2009, 12:44:09 pm »

@ Maffeo:

That is pretty interesting--nailing a coin to the door frame to ward off evil!
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« Reply #82 on: June 19, 2009, 05:03:37 am »

I would like to join in with my own new entry:

Innocent XI (1676-89), Testone (reformed) 1689. Obv. Odescalchi arms Rev. MELIVS EST DARE QVAM ACCIPERE in cartouche. 9.11 gr. 32.5 mm. 0 h. Muntoni 116, Berman 2102.

An interesting coin even if doesn't boast any majestic portrait or gorgeous biblical scenes (the complexity of the Odescalchi arms is already pleasing enough for me). Good condition (much better than in the Muntoni table Grin), stated as VF+ but could be even better if some apparent wear is really a somewhat weak strike, plus a nice patina. It comes from an Italian auction where it went rather unnoticed (bought at base price as unsold lot)

The series of the Testoni with MELIVS EST DARE QVAM ACCIPERE is probably the most abundant and common Papal issue in the baroque era. It is said to have been produced for the Pope to finance war against the Ottomans, hence the motto ("giving is better than receiving"). However the bulk of this emissions, with its variety of subtypes, comes in the 1684-86 years when also the majority of undated coins can be attributed. Issues from years 1687-89 are rather scarce, not to say definitely rare, another detail that went apparently unnoticed in the auction and makes this coin even more interesting. I gave it one degree or rarity to play it conservative, but this coin has only one occurrence in CoinArchives and this is from the same dies as this one (NAC 26 27/06/2003 Lot 2800).

Finally, a technical note. It is much more evident in hand than from the picture, but this coins has a serously ovalized flan. The 0-6 axis is approx. 1 mm. longer than the 3-9 axis. This is a trademark of coins produced by a roller press. Coins were "squeezed" between two cylinders where obv. and rev. types were directly engraved. Failing to compensate for flan shape before minting would produce a polar distortion of the resulting coin shape. This is the oldest occurrence of this fact that I know, before this coin I only saw it quite often in the 1730-40's. Maybe this is a sign that the Rome mint started experimenting wit the roller press when producing this small issue in the late XVII c., and that results were not satisfactory so use of this machinery was dropped, then resumed several decades later, when it was required again to mint on a large scale to fulfill the requirements of Clement XII's monetary reforms.

Thanks to Roberto Camillini for preliminary discussion about the subject of this post  Wink

Regards, P.  Smiley
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« Reply #83 on: June 19, 2009, 06:47:20 am »

Paleologo's interesting post on the Testone of Papa Odescalchi raises an issue that I have been wrestling with for more than thirty years: when was machinery first introduced in the papal mint in Rome?
There is no doubt that the great bulk of the coinage of Urban VIII was produced with presses powered by water and situated in the Vatican gardens and that machinery was installed immediately in the new building of the mint built by Innocent X and which still stands at the beginning of the Via del Governo Vecchio and just off the Via del Corso.
But was machinery used at all in Rome during previous pontificates? For example, were the piastre of Sixtus V hammered or were they struck with some kind of torque? Their general appearance is such as to make one suspect that these pieces were hand struck, yet I remember having a heated discussion many years ago with an eminent Roman numismatist who insisted that they were produced with some kind of machinery since most of the still-extant specimens have a concave shape reflecting this.
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« Reply #84 on: June 19, 2009, 08:45:49 pm »

That's a beautiful specimen, Paleologo! 

Your post made me go and check my Innocent XI mezzo piastra to see if there was any noticeable difference in the diameter for it.  Not really, the 3-9 axis is only about ½mm wider than the 12-6 axis.  So perhaps the two larger denominations were struck on a regular screw-press and not a roller press.

Not sure when "milled coinage" first began for Papal coins.  I had read somewhere along the way that it was during Urban VIII's pontificate, but weren't more specific.   

But for Papal, the beginning seems to be less clear-cut than for, say, English coins where 1662 is basically the start-date (with some earlier exceptions).

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« Reply #85 on: June 22, 2009, 07:24:14 am »

There is a very recent book, "La Zecca di Bologna e le sue Macchine" (The Bologna Mint and its Machinery) by Michele Chimienti, whi deals very specifically with technical issues related to coinage in the second Papal (often not-so-papal) mint. Unfortunately it seems there is nothing comparable for the mint of Rome and the old "Annali della Zecca di Roma" by Martinori don't help that much apparently. All these books of course require understanding Italian to be of any use.

@P.G.: Your observation makes me think even more that this issue was some kind of trial strike.
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« Reply #86 on: June 30, 2009, 05:15:31 pm »

Unusual to see something like this on eBay:  not often do you see a denaro of Benedict III (855-858) offered.

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« Reply #87 on: June 30, 2009, 05:35:18 pm »

The seller also seems to show a line of very fetching frocks displayed outside his store!  Something to placate the wife, perhaps.  George Spradling
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« Reply #88 on: July 01, 2009, 05:26:04 am »

I was quite amazed at seeing this on eBay, especially considering the start at 0.99$ Shocked

I followed it until it reached over 300$. I'm not an expert in this early coinage, but I see no obvious sign of the coin not being genuine. It looks like many gave him credit, actually. (Expensive) jewel out of the mud?  Grin

The dealer seems to have some other nice piece, by the way. Check the counterstamped grossetto from Ferrara, it's quite neat for the type. He calls him "1600's giulio" but no one of you has been fooled, right?  Wink
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« Reply #89 on: July 01, 2009, 07:57:24 am »

FINALLY got a copy (1996 reprint) of Muntoni!

Now, to dig in and re-attribute everything in the collection...something I actually enjoy doing!   Grin
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« Reply #90 on: July 01, 2009, 03:27:47 pm »

What about that Doppio Grosetto of Ferrara? 

Anyone know why the legends were obliterated on that piece? 

Muntoni lists both the "before" picture (before the legends were obliterated...Munt. 237) and "after" (with the legends obliterated, Munt. 238).

What's the story behind this?
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« Reply #91 on: July 03, 2009, 08:12:45 am »

The reason is certainly linked to a monetary reform, and the fact that the coin was not retired, but rather recirculated at a new value. I don't have books now with me so I don't remember the details, but I'm quite sure there's a note on Muntoni about the subject. Also, another good source of information about this period is this:

Silvana Balbi de Caro, Luigi Londei, MONETA PONTIFICIA DA INNOCENZO XI A GREGORIO XVI, Ed. Quasar, Roma 1984

Authors are a well known academic numismatist and the director of the Central Institute for Archives. Not a book about numismatics proper, rather about economic and monetary history of the Papal State, so it might be difficult to read if you don't have a good understanding of Italian. But it has a few stunning pictures of papal piastre  Smiley

By the way, congrats for your new Muntoni and have a good time reclassifying your full collection  Grin
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« Reply #92 on: July 03, 2009, 06:16:36 pm »

The Benedict III denario reached $3,551 !
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« Reply #93 on: July 23, 2009, 09:34:16 am »

Is there a medal equivalent to Berman? I mean, a not terribly expensive catalog for papal medals. A couple of months ago I tried to identify an 18-century bronze medal that belongs to a relative of mine (sorry, can't remember the pope's name; they all blend together in a mixture of Innocent-Clement-Sixtus-Pius for the non-expert, but for what I've seen now it might have been Innocent XII...? Seem to remember his face...). At the time, I had brief access to Berman, but of course, the medal wasn't in the book. I might be interested in purchasing/locating such a catalog, if it exists, as I wouldn't mind learning a bit about this totally untapped field of numismatics (like what the difference is between a piastre and a silver medal, for instance, although I admit I've never handled the former). Thank you.

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Ignasi
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« Reply #94 on: July 23, 2009, 10:03:43 am »

I wish there was...that would make things considerably easier.

There are three, maybe four, Papal medal books that I use.  Each has its problems, but used together they're pretty good. And all have the advantage of being (relatively) inexpensive.

The first of which is the Spink Catalogue of Papal Medals in the Lincoln Collection, also known simply as "Spink" or "Lincoln".  This is a sales catalog from 1898, but is widely used as a guide book.  It has been printed several times since (mine is from 1962).  This lists lots of medals--official and unofficial--by pope and by the reverse legends.  A disadvantage is that it has very few illustrations, and no photographs, and covers only through 1879 or so.   This book can usually be found used online.

The second, and probably most important, is the Mazio catalog.  The reprint I have is entitled A Pictorial Catalogue of Papal Medals 1417-1942 As Struck by The Mint of Rome for The Vatican.  Unlike Spink, this lists only the official medals (and/or their restrikes).   Other than the endpieces (in Italian) the book has no text.   But it has the advantage that every medal is photographed.

The third book Roma Resurgens: Papal Medals from the Age of the Baroque isn't really a guidebook. Rather, it is a art-exhibit book of medals of that period from a 1983 exhibition at the University of Michigan Museum of Art.  But the advantage here is that there is lots of text explaining the medals and the events they were intended to commemorate.  Though it's not comprehensive, the period covered runs from 1534 to 1747, which may well fit the period of your medal.

The fourth book is a catalog (a booklet, really) of unofficial medals struck in the early 1700s for the Bishop of Bamberg featuring all popes up to that time (including a few that actually never existed).  Papstgeschichte auf Medaillen: Muenzkabinett im Historischen Museum Frankfurt am Main  

A disadvantage of all these books is that they don't list values (well, except the Spink catalog, but those are from 1898).
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« Reply #95 on: July 23, 2009, 10:55:09 am »

silvernut, you might be interested in having a look HERE. There are several entries about Papal medals.

Regards, P.  Smiley
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« Reply #96 on: July 23, 2009, 12:07:19 pm »

Thank you both for your answers. I guess first I need to learn things like what 'official' or 'unofficial' mean, and what are restrikes (I'm guessing these are medals minted after the pope's death, or even in modern times?). This is a totally 'virgin' field for me, and my monthly budget doesn't allow me to venture beyond my main field of interest too much... But I'm thinking it might be an interesting collecting theme for the future, as it is historically interesting and aesthetically attractive. I'll see if I can get some of the books first, and learn a bit before venturing into this world!

Regards,
Ignasi
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« Reply #97 on: July 23, 2009, 12:20:38 pm »

Here's a good source of information, and where you can get some of the books I mentioned:

http://www.vaticancoins.com/Papal_Medals/papal_medals.html

In particular, check out their link to "A Short History of Papal Medals" on that page.
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« Reply #98 on: July 23, 2009, 01:39:46 pm »

Thank you again. Very useful. Who knows, I might even be a contributor to this thread some time in the future!

Regards,
Ignasi
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« Reply #99 on: July 23, 2009, 08:59:05 pm »

Hi

I read this column regularly and find it very interesting. I hope to follow the discussions going forwards.

I have a question though - is it a field of numismatics? Or should it have its own column?

Brgds

Alex
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