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Coins and Medals

Duchy of Milan, Gian Galeazzo Maria Sforza, in ward of his mother Bona of Savoy

Key data

Milan, double ducat, undated, 1479(?)

Gold, struck

weight 6.963 g

diameter 23.9 mm

Inv. 1918.1724.

Description

In the C13 gold coins once again began to be issued successfully - in 1252 by Florence and Genoa and in 1284 by Venice. Before that the monetary system introduced by Charlemagne of silver currency divided into pounds, shillings and pence had been the accepted standard for centuries (although only pence were actually coined). When Galeazzo Maria Sforza was murdered in 1477 his widow took over as regent on behalf of her six year old son, Gian Galeazzo Maria, and portraits of her appear on several coins. Bona of Savoy, born in 1449, was the first woman since the days of imperial Rome to be depicted on an Italian coin, and her father in law Francesco Sforza (1450-1466) had been the first Renaissance prince since Antiquity to have himself depicted on the ducat he introduced in 1462.

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