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Research Coins: Printed Auction

 
CNG 103, Lot: 1050. Estimate $3000.
Sold for $4250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ITALY, Ferrara (ducato). Ercole I d'Este. 1471-1505. AR Testone (28mm, 7.72 g, 7h). Struck 1493. · HERCVLES · FERRAR · DVX · II (wedge stops), bare head right / Seven-headed Hydra. MIR 255; Bellesia, Ferrara 14; Biaggi 769. EF, toned. Well struck from artistically engraved dies.


This wonderful reverse type refers to the construction of the Addizione Erculea, a northern suburb of Ferrara. The area where the addition was made was covered with malaria-ridden swamps, which had to be filled before construction could begin. To symbolize this monumental task, Ercole chose a scene from the exploits of his namesake, Hercules, who slayed the mythological seven-headed Hydra, and placed it on his coinage.