A rare gold Doppia Stretta coin originating from Genoa, Italy and dating to 1638 will highlight an auction of world coins and commemorative medals at Spink in London on October 1.
The 12½-doppia coin carries an estimate of £50,000-60,000 ($79,515-95,418).
The coin is referred to in the Corpus as a Doppia Stretta, and was likely cut from the same die as the Scudo Stretto - a low quality silver coin. It features the Madonna and child seated on a cloud, surrounded by a crown of stars. The reverse features a cross with stars at each angle.
Gold Doppia Stretta were only cut in 1638, and are extremely rare. This particular example has been off the market for over a century.
Spink describes the piece as "a carefully struck coin with full legends and outer circle of pearls within wide borders on both sides, some slight double striking in the obverse legend, good very fine, a great rarity".
The Corpus lists only one example of this coin, which was to be found in the Avignone-Franchini collections - although it was not illustrated. This could very well be the same coin.
Giovanni Pesce, the 20th century chronicler of Genoese coins, had never seen an example of a gold doppia and thus doubted its existence, commenting: "The C.N.I. describes a piece called a narrow doppia erroneously, with 1638 as date, which was taken from the Avignone-Franchini catalogue, weighing 83.30 grams and 44mm in diameter."
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