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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 1184. Estimate $7500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $13000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ITALY. Sicily, Norman Kings. Frederick II. 1197-1250. AV Augustale (5.30 gm). Messina mint. Struck after 1231. •CESAR AVG ¾IMP ROM, laureate and draped bust right / +FRIDE RICVS, eagle standing left, head right, with wings spread. CNI XVIII, pg. 197, 13; Kowalski group A (U4/A20); Spahr 98; Friedberg 134. Good VF, struck from rusted obverse die. [See color enlargement on plate 21] ($7500)

From the Charles E. Weber Collection. Purchased from Hesperia Arts, 18 August 1952, for $50.

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 improving 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.