In this week's preview for the January New York International Auction we feature an astounding Italian gold rarity. Hailing from Genoa, a historically important city on the Italian Riviera, this spectacular coin is from the 'Biennial Doges' period of governance. The first doges of Genoa were not restrained by term limits, but rather by the entrenched oligarchy of merchant families. In 1528 the Doge drafted a new constitution embedding Genoa as a satellite of the Spanish empire and establishing two year term limits. This union led to a revitalization of Genoa thanks to its maritime explorers, including Christopher Columbus.
Genoa obtained the right to mint its own coinage in 1138 from the elected "Rex Romanorum" (King of the Romans) King Conrad III. He was slated to become the next Holy Roman Emperor though he never achieved this position. As the issuing authority, Conrad's titles appear on the Genoese coinage, even five centuries later when this piece was struck. The obverse design displays a castle gate (also known as a door in the city's walls) flanked by six-pointed stars, with the date of 1600 just below and the anonymous title for the current Doge: "Duke and Governor of the Genoese Republic." The gate or door design is a callback to the Latin word for the city, which also means "door." The reverse design features the aforementioned titles of King Conrad around a large flat-ended cross (cross license or patent) with six-pointed stars in the angles. This massive gold piece is heavier than the two examples of the denomination that are listed in Corpus Nummorum Italicorum, Vol. III, Liguria, Isole de Corsica, indicating that no identical specimen was in the definitive Royal Collection of King Vittorio Emanuele III when the volume was published in 1912. This spectacular issue is in marvelous condition, certified by PCGS in an AU-50 Gold Shield holder. The luster is bright in the field and there are minimal marks. It is a truly awesome rarity and a beautiful relic that would have represented amazing amount of wealth at its time of issue.
While we are no longer taking consignments for our January 2019 New York International Auction, we are taking consignments of world and ancient coins and world paper money for the February 2019 Collector's Choice Online Auction and the August 2019 ANA World's Fair of Money Auction in Rosemont, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. We are also accepting consignments of Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our March 2019 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) contact one of our consignment directors.