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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
641544
Sale: CNG 64, Lot: 1544. Estimate $4000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 24 September 2003. 
Sold For $3600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ITALY, Norman Kings of Sicily. Frederick II. 1197-1250. AV Augustale (5.26 gm). Messina mint. Struck after 1231. Laureate and draped bust right / Eagle standing left, head right, with wings spread. Kowalski Group A, 6; Spahr 98; MEC 14, 515. Good VF, struck from rusted dies, ex-jewelry. ($4000)

Frederick II Hohenstaufen, "Stupor Mundi"- "Wonder of the World", was the most enlightened western ruler of the medieval world, and singlehandedly almost ignited a renaissance centuries before it took hold in Europe. Besides encouraging the study of the ancient world and bettering relations with the Muslims (including negotiating free access to Christian holy sites in Palestine, where crusading armies were completely unsuccessful), his most concrete innovation was the initiation of a western gold coinage fully comparable to the gold coins of the ancient Romans. The clearly classical motifs proclaimed his inheritance of the legacy of the Roman emperors and were issued concurrently with the publication of the Constitution of Melfi, his codification of Norman law meant to follow the famous Roman law codes. The augustale was struck until 1266, and the coinage of Frederick' s successors never achieved the standards of his brilliant reign.