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The Return To Gold In The 13th Century Florence 1st Genoa Second

 
 
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Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 04/26/2019  01:46 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add austrokiwi to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been gobsmacked. I Happened to read the introduction to Medieval European coins( vol 12 published in 2016) and found a new account of which European gold coin was truly the first European Gold coin. For those who don't know, there has been an ongoing discussion about whether Florence in November 1252 was the first state to introduce a European gold coin back to Europe. Genoese Numismatists have argued Genoa was producing a gold coin as early as 1150 however that claim has been largely been rejected. The current zeitgeist holds that yes Genoa did beat Florence but only by months.

I have had the MEC volume concerned for some considerable time but had never read the introduction. On page 17 I find a brief summary of what will be published in Vol 13 of MEC and was stunned. What is stated there is that Genoa did not produce a gold coin of 3.5g in 1252. in actuality, the Genovino d'oro ( as an imitation of the Florin) was first struck in 1270. Genoa did produce a gold coin in 1252 but it was a quartarolo weighing 0.88-0.89g which was modelled on the Sicilian Tari. When I thought hard this new "interpretation" does fit much better with the commercial activities of Genoa. Where Florence was looking to trade within Europe Genoa was focused on Maritime trade, with the Levant. Genoa had strong connections to Sicily and the Tari would have been a more likely coin for the Genoese to produce. I will be intrigued to read the 13th volume of MEC when ( and if ) it is published to see if this new view remains in the book.



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 Posted 04/26/2019  06:53 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@ak, that is interesting--thx for posting. I wonder if any of our members have a Quartarolo to share. I think that we have a couple Taris among us.
"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz
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15545 Posts
 Posted 04/26/2019  08:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Date-wise, where does the Brindisi gold Augustale of Emperor Frederick 11 (1197-1250) sit in relation to the above coins?

("Frederick determined to re-introducegold into circulation into Western Europe, and the coins produced at his mint in Brindisi, a city on the heck of the Italian boot, are recognized as the high point of medieval coin art.

Frederick had been electedHoly Roman Emperorin 1211, and the inscriptionon his augustale, which was issued in about 1230 reads IMP ROM CESAR AVG FRIDIRICVS.")


Quote p.51: (coin illustrated)
'Historic Gold Coins of the World,
from Croesus to Elizabeth 11'
by Burton Hobson copyright 1971.

I have to confess, I really do like the augustale design.
As we all may assume Islamic gold dinars were in wide circulation at the time of the introduction of the augustale. Certainly, Dinars generally are far more commonly found today, and I have yet to set my eyes on an example of an augustale.
Edited by sel_69l
04/26/2019 08:47 am
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 Posted 04/26/2019  10:56 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add austrokiwi to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
t
Quote:
Date-wise, where does the Brindisi gold Augustale of Emperor Frederick 11 (1197-1250) sit in relation to the above coins?


The majority of the literature I have reviewed dismisses the Augustale as a short-lived backwards looking coin. Its a view that I think is very unfair. From what I have read in MEC It was actually a very successful coin. It is a True Solidus, modelled(size and weight) of the last full weight Hyperpyron produced( from memory around 1045). It is a wonderfully confident coin but it is of the old Roman/Byzantine standard( some writers describe it as a double Dinar). The Florin( or if your Genoese; Genovino) was the first "modern" gold coin. It, at the time of the first issue, was worth a Lira, but it wasn't fixed to the Lira( until that time the Lira was simple money of account) within 2-3 decades the florin was worth 3 lire. So the argument about the Florin is a very nuanced position. To put it simply the Augustale was a modern-Roman-Imperial coin and as such the last of its kind. The Florin was a modern coin and the first of its kind.

A little more on the Augustale: when Odoacer booted the last emperor out of Rome and became the King of Italy(476 AD) He actually sent the imperial insignia to the Eastern Emperor in Constantinople. At that point, there was no legal authority in the west to produce the imperial gold coin( the Solidus. Of course, a few of the so-called barbarian tribes ignored that basic principle but the Carolingians acknowledged it when they reformed the coinage of Europe. From around 700/800AD( all from memory) only the Denier (penny) was the official coin in Europe. When Frederick II issued the Augustale it was a great big Imperial"I'm Back". The attitude behind the coin led to a showdown with the church that Frederick II ultimately lost
Edited by austrokiwi
04/26/2019 11:25 am
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 Posted 04/26/2019  11:18 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice research. I have learned a little more.
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