Excessively Rare Italian Renaissance Gold Coin (PT5)

Alfonso I D'este (1505-1534), Gold Doppio Ducato (Double Ducat), second issue (from circa 1509), bearded long haired bust of Renaissance style left, alfonsvs dvx ferrariae iii - Alfonso 3rd Duke of Ferrara, reverse, Christ standing to right, his disciple to his left, qve svnt dei deo - "The things that are God's" from Mark 12; 14-17, weight 6.85gms (Bellesia 9/A; Friedburg 268), Toned as nice as can be seen for this extremely rare issue.

Alfonso I D'este (1505-1534), Gold Doppio Ducato (Double Ducat), circa 1509
Alfonso I D'este (1505-1534), Gold Doppio Ducato (Double Ducat), circa 1509

Only five examples are thought to exist of which one has a hole through it and two are in museums.

Additional information:

There were four main issues of Coinage during his tenure.

  • The first after 1505 - The portrait being that of the Duke beardless
  • The second circa 1509 - depicts the Duke with a beard
  • The third from 1522 - shows a more mature bearded Duke
  • The fourth from 1526 - introduced the ordinary scudo D'oro.

The coin available above is a second issue coin.

The mint Master in charge was Paulo Zerbinato. As it is so rare, this actual coin is the one illustrated on page 165 as 9/A, coin c of the book Le Monete Di Ferrara by Lorenzo Bellesia.

Alfonso's coinage, unlike that of his predecessor, who, due to his name being Hercules, had borrowed mythological subjects for his coinage, turned towards Biblical subjects from the Old and especially the New Testament of the Bible.

Some Biographical Notes as translated from the Italian language book on the coins of Ferrara by Lorenzo Bellesia (scans of Italian pages attached)

Alfonso D'este, third Duke of Ferrara was born in 1476.

His first wife was Anna Sforza, she died in 1497.

His second wife who he married in 1502 was Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander VI.

Upon succeeding Hercules I in 1505, Alfonso had to deal with very difficult situations within the Duchy.

The finances were in deficit and the plague was decimating the population. Alfonso confronted the situation with surprising ability.

Amongst other things he imported grain and reduced taxes and his popularity grew.

He dealt decisively with a plot to unseat him by two of his very close relatives.

He entered into war against Venice, as the representative of the King of France and the Pope, Julius II culminating in the Treaty of Cambrai 1508, after a successful victory at Bolesella on the 22nd December 1509.

In the next year Pope Julius II formed an alliance with the Venetians and turned against Alfonso.

After various plots and counter-plots and the threat of the Papal Armies, Alfonso visited Rome where he was offered, the Dukedom of Aste in exchange for Ferrara, which he flatly refused.

In the meantime his Allies, the French, had withdrawn from Milan, which went back to the Sforza's. Just when the situation seemed desperate, Pope Julius II died in 1513.

After numerous wars and battles, most of his final years were relatively serene. He died on the 31st October 1534, leaving four children whom he had with his second wife Lucrezia Borgia.

They were Hercules - his successor, Hippolite, Eleonara, and Francesca who was the future Marquess of Massa Lombarda.

He also had two illegitimate sons by his mistress, Laura Dianti. During his lifetime the great poet Ariosto, who was in his court from 1497, composed his famous Opus - "Orlando Furioso".


For Sale: £80,000 ($132,000)

For further information please email info@paulfrasercollectibles.com or telephone +44 (0) 117 933 9500


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