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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 5, Lot: 30. Estimate CHF7500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 24 October 2011. 
Sold For CHF8500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Italy, Padua. c. 1550. Medal (Silver, 38mm, 53 g 6), an original cast medalion of Commodus, based on the sestertius of 184/5, as BMC 556; by Giovanni da Cavino (1500-1570). .M.COMMODVS.ANTONINVS.AVG.PIVS.BRIT Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Commodus to right. Rev. .P.M.TR.P.X IMP VI.COS.II.P.P. / SALVS Salus seated on a throne to left, feeding a snake from a patera held in her right hand; to left, statue of Bacchus right on pillar and vine, around which the snake is entwined. Kress 409 = NG 466 (but a later copper strike). An impressive, sharp and detailed original cast; with traces of original gilding. Some minor casting marks, some smoothing, and traces of a removed mount, otherwise, nearly extremely fine.

The same reverse die used for this medal was also used for Cavino’s medal of the otherwise completely unknown Cosimo Scapti (as NG 454). This helps to pin down the date of the present piece to the 1550s. Whether an item like this was meant to be passed off as a genuine ancient medal or not is uncertain: it is only rather loosely based on a ssertertius of Commodus with the same types (BMC 556, but with a coarser portrait and a busier reverse). The fact that there is some surface smoothing, traces of gilding and the remains of a mount indicate that it was actually made for presentation purposes. Cavino’s medals in silver are very rare.