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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 5, Lot: 33. Estimate CHF30000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 24 October 2011. 
Sold For CHF45000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Italy, Milan (?). Charles V. 1519-1556. Medal (Silver, 97.4mm, 311 g 12), a very large cast and chased silver medal of Milanese style. Possibly by Leoni but this is debated, c. 1551-1556. .IMP.CAES.CAROLVS.V.AVG. Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Charles V to right, with his cloak fastened at his breast with a brooch in the form of a winged cherub, and wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece hanging from a cord around his neck. Rev. .PHILIPVS.AVSTR.CAROLI.V.CAES.F. Philip II, wearing armor and holding a marshal’s baton in his right hand, riding right on a horse, which has his tail tied in a loop and plumes on his head, prancing to right. Attwood 1182 (a uniface bronze example of the obverse). Bernhart 178 (bronze). Molinari 322 (lead). Scher, Currency of Fame, 156 (bronze). Of great rarity, probably the only known example in silver. Nicely toned. With considerable after casting work: the fields are smoothed, the areas around the lettering stippled, and all the design has been strengthened; very minor bangs and, on the edge, possible traces of having been inset into a holder, otherwise, extremely fine.

From the collections of J. R. Gaines, II, Morton & Eden, 8 December 2005, 16 and of Moritz Wormser, Schulman 226, 30 January 1956, 836 (illustrated on the front and back covers).

The more one looks at this medal, the more impressive it gets. It is a very heavy cast piece with extremely careful work done to it after casting. The portrait of Charles V shows him as a ruler of power, but it is clear that his strenuous life has taken its toll, as he has a look of almost ineffable tiredness. His son, in contrast, even in the small-scale portrait we have of him, appears vigorous and powerful. When this medal was produced is uncertain but it must have been made in the early 1550s. In fact, this medal was produced as part of a pair, the other showing a portrait of François I on the obverse and and equestrian portrait of Henri II (1547-1559) on the reverse, both to left so that they both would be effectively facing the representations of Charles V and Philip II that appear on the present medal. The medal with the French kings (Lyon 20, but without any inscription) is clearly a pendant; they must have both been produced to commemorate the years the two sovereigns were in conflict with each other and the relative peace that ensued in the 1550s.