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CNG Feature Auction 114

Lot nuber 1147

WALLACHIA. Vlad II Dracul (the Dragon). 1436-1442 and 1443-1446. AR Ban (12mm, 0.37 g, 4h). Type Ib. Târgovişte mint. Struck circa 1445-1446.

CNG Feature Auction 114
Lot: 1147.
 Estimated: $ 5 000

World, Silver

Sold For $ 3 750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

WALLACHIA. Vlad II Dracul (the Dragon). 1436-1442 and 1443-1446. AR Ban (12mm, 0.37 g, 4h). Type Ib. Târgovişte mint. Struck circa 1445-1446. Eagle standing right, head left; cross above / Dragon advancing right, with wings spread. Cf. MBR 255. Fine.

Following the death of Mircea the Elder in 1418, control of Wallachia fell to Mircea’s nephew, Mihail I, a member of the Danesti branch of the Basarab family. Mircea’s illegitimate son Vlad was living at the time at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund. Vlad was surnamed Dracul, or Dragon, so-called because of his membership in the Ordo Draconis, or Order of the Dragon, a secret knighthood instituted by the Holy Roman Emperor to fight the Ottoman Empire. The symbol of the order was that of a dragon.

Unable to succeed to the Wallachian throne because of his illegtimacy, in 1431 Sigismund appointed him governor of Transylvania. That same year his son, Vlad, was born. Though this boy would later acquire the epithet Tepes, or Impaler, because of his preferred method of torture, he is better known by his nickname Dracula, or “son of the dragon,” which became the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s immortal vampire, Count Dracula. Discontent with being governor of Transylvania, Dracul was eager to claim the Wallachian throne for himself. After killing Mihail I, he became voivode of Wallachia in 1436, but his position was far from secure. He was a vassal of Hungary by oath, but also a tributary of the Ottomans as voivode. When the Turks invaded Transylvania in 1442, the Hungarian king accused his vassal of failing to properly defend the southern approaches to Transylvania, and forced Vlad out of Wallachia. In the meantime, the Hungarian general Janos Hunyadi installed another ruler in Vlad’s absence. Vlad appealed to the Sultan for aid, which was granted, and Vlad regained the throne the following year. In return for the Ottoman aid, Vlad’s younger sons, Vlad Dracula and Radu, were sent to the Sultan’s court as hostages. Hostilities soon arose again between Hungary and the Ottomans, and Vlad was summoned to join the Hungarian side as a member of the Ordo Draconis. So as not to enrage the Turks and endanger his younger sons, Vlad sent his eldest son Mircea in his stead. The crusade failed and Vlad fell further out of favor with Hungary, which arranged his murder in 1447.

The existence of Vlad II Dracul's coinage is known from a commercial charter dated to 1437, in which Vlad granted customs privilege to the merchants of Brasov. The charter mentions that both ducats and bani were struck by him. These coins were first published at the beginning of the 20th century, and the most recent paper dealing with the coinage of Vlad II Dracul recorded only seven specimens of this issue: six in public collections in Romania, and the seventh in the Fitzwilliam Museum (K. Parvan, “Cateva consideratii privind activitatea monetara a lui Vlad Dracul - Considerations Regarding the Coin Minting Activity of Vlad II Dracul,” Studii si Cercetari de Numismatica X [1993], p.101-7). Other than these few in public collections, only a handful have appeared on the market.

The final winners of all CNG Feature Auction 114 lots will be determined during the live online sale that will be held on 13-14 May 2020. This lot is in Session 4, which begins 14 May 2020 at 2 PM ET.

UPDATE: As the CNG staff and many of our clients remain under social distancing and other restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CNG 114 will be held as an internet only auction. The sale will take place as scheduled on 13-14 May 2020.

Winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 22.50% for all others.

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