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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Frederick II Hohenstaufen – “Stupor Mundi”

CNG 106, Lot: 1014. Estimate $7500.
Sold for $8500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ITALY, Sicilia (Regno). Federico I (Federico II, Sacro Romano Impero). 1198-1250. AV Augustale (20.5mm, 5.27 g, 6h). Brindisi mint. Struck circa 1231-1250. CЄSAR AVG • IMP ROM, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / •+FRIDE-RICVS•, eagle standing left, head right, with wings spread. Spahr 100; MEC 14, 516; Friedberg 134. Near EF.

Frederick II Hohenstaufen, “Stupor Mundi” (“Wonder of the World”), was the most enlightened ruler of the medieval European world, and single-handedly almost ignited a renaissance a century before it took hold in western Europe. Besides encouraging the study of both the ancient and natural worlds (he wrote an insightful treatise on falconry), Frederick was instrumental in improving relations with the Muslims, negotiating free access to Christian holy sites in Palestine, where all Crusader armies had been unsuccessful. One of his innovations was a gold coinage comparable in style and quality to the gold of the ancient Caesars. The classical motifs proclaimed his inheritance of the legacy of Rome, and the augustale and its fractions were issued concurrently with the publication of the Constitution of Melfi, his codification of Norman law meant to follow the famous Roman law codes. These coins were struck until Frederick's death in 1250, and may have been continued by his successors for about another fifteen years.