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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 72, Lot: 2370. Estimate $3000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 14 June 2006. 
Sold For $3600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ITALY, Milan. Galeazzo Maria Sforza. AR Testone (9.64 g, 6h). Bare-headed and armored bust right; pellet in annulet in left field; im: bishop’s head facing / Ducal coat-of-arms surmounted by crowned helmet crested with winged chimera consuming male figure; two buckets hanging from branch arising from flames on either side of helmet; G3 M across fields. CNI V 52; Crippa 6A; Biaggi 1548. EF, toned. An exceptional Renaissance portrait.

The Sforza ("Strivers") dynasty began as many Italian noble houses did, with a successful condottiere (mercenary soldier) seeking respectability for his family by procuring a title and an estate. Muzio Attendolo (1369-1424) founded the family, and his son Francesco seized the duchy of Milan in 1450, having first married the daughter of Maria Philippo Visconti. Francesco's son Galeazzo succeeded him in 1468 and sought to have his position elevated to king, marrying the sister-in-law of the king of France to strengthen his claims. His rule over Milan was harsh, with heavy taxes causing widespread discontent, but his patronage of grand artists and architects was a source of great pride for the city, and his assassination in 1476 by republican sympathizers was met with mixed feelings. In any case, the dynasty survived, in the person of his weak son, Gian Galeazzo.