Gold Coins
Medieval Gold Coins
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Medieval Gold Coins

It is far easier for the numismatist to define the Medieval (middle age) period than for the historian. Medieval coins are flat, large, bombastic pieces that replace iconography of Christ with iconography of men inspired by Christ: Kings and Knights and Saints, while Christ is relegated to peripheral legends.

This is especially true for French, English, and Spanish coinage which were principally minted for Royal purposes such as war, large scale building, and as presentation pieces designed to show off wealth and power.

Meanwhile the trade coinage of Florence (beginning 1252)and Venice (beginning 1282) were based on economies of bankers, merchants, and businessmen, and thus exhibit far more cointinuity in use and presentation with the Byzantine Solidus.

Late Byzantine coinage continues to play a role in trade (though in ever degraded form) through the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

Though the West falls into a relative intellectual Darkness in the medieval period (with the exception of Italy - and perhaps Flanders), in the Middle East it is the period of the Islamic Golden Age. The Muslim Princes produced an extensive gold coinage, but on account of the prohibition against graven images it is a coinage that is exceedingly difficult to destinguish for the Western eye. Strange, (at least to me), they did produce graven images on the Dinar and the Dirham below. Both these coins would have been payment for soldiers fighting the crusaders.

Crusader gold coinage is imitative of Islamic coinage.

It is important to remember, that in high grade medieval gold is very rare compared to all other periods, even ancient gold. This is because a) the pieces are large, thin and very low relief, so they are easily distressed, and b) because of the breakdown of international trade, gold was everywhere in very short supply. This is especially true in the 13th-14th centuries when the European World was ravaged by plague and war.

click the coins to see larger images:



EF (superior for the issue)..........$375

CRUSADER COINAGE: The first crusade to "liberate Jerusalem", dating from 1096, was instigated by Pope Gregory VII and Byzantine emperor Alexios I. It followed the violent anti schismatic movement of orthodox Christianity that spread through all of Europe, Scandinavia and the Balkans in the 11th century. Though this period marked the beginning of the end of Byzantine power, Byzantine culture spread through Europe, much as Greek culture had spread through Imperial Rome, upon the demise of Greece.

It is an amusing note that the blundered kufic inscriptions included on crusader coinage read: Obverse outer: "Mohammad is the messenger of God; he sent him with the guidance and the rightful religion to make it prevail over all other religions, even if the polytheists dislike it "And inner:: "there is no God but Allah; Ali is the representative of Allah." Reverse outer: "In the name of God of mercy, the merciful, struck was this dinar at Alexandria in the year four and five hundred. Inner: "Father of Ali, the commander by the laws of God, the prince of the believers "

First Crusader Coinage: Crusaders Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem 1036-1094, AV dinar (3.65g), imitation: al-Mustansir, "Tarabulus",

AH"453", A-720, Nicol-2009var, derived from Nicol type-I1, with three small floral designs in the inner margin, on both obverse & reverse. The date seems more like an imitation of 463 than 453, not surprising, as there are dozens of calligraphic errors throughout this imitative type. This piece was struck from dies with greater calligraphic degeneration than the specimen illustrated by Nicol, especially on the obverse. Very rare.


CRUSADERS, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Balduin III., 1143-1163.

AV Bezant (3.92 gm). Imitating the Dinar of Caliph al-Amir. Acre mint. Third phase, circa 1187-1260 or later. Legible but crude Cufic inscriptions on obverse and reverse; : in central panel of reverse. Balog & Yvon 32; Metcalf, Crusades p. 49 Rare
Provenance: Yakov Meshorer's personal collection

Superb EF................................$1650

Crusaders Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem "al-Mustansir", early 13th century,

AV bezant (3.45g), NM, ND, A-720, Ma-4, derived from Fatimid dinar, without Latin legends, Rare.


The first true Western Medieval piece, is the Salut D'or (golden annunciation) of Charles I of Anjou, son of Louis VIII of France, Count of Provence and Anjou and King of Naples and Sicily, and a leader of the VII and VIII Crusades through which he became titular King of Jerusalem - as proclaimed in the obverse legend of this coin.

This early renaissance masterpiece depicting the annunciation, and claiming Dominion over Jerusalem, was designed by Charles himself and engraved by Giovanni Fortino.

His son Charles II (The lame) continued the issue, though the Saluto (or Carlino) d'or of Charles II are far more rare. Charles II marrried his daughter Margaret to Charles Valois who left Anjou to his son Philip who became King of France as Philip VI.

Naples, Charles I of Anjou 1266-1285

Salut d'or, ND. Fr-808; CNI-XIX pl.15,1; Biaggi-1624. (4.37 grams). Split arms of Jerusalem and Anjou. Leg: +KAROL' DEI GRA IERL'M SICILIE REX. Reverse: The Annunciation: lily in vase below. Leg: AVE GRACIA PLENA DOMINUS TECUM. -remarkably well struck centered and preserved, with two well struck and wonderfully expressive faces: thus very rare.

PCGS graded MS 63.........$7500

Naples, Charles II of Anjou 1285-1309

Salut d'or, ND. Fr-810; CNI-IX,pl.II,6. Arms of Jerusalem and Anjou with stars around. Reverse: Annuciation scene with Archangel Gabriel kneeling before Virgin, flower in vase between them. Remarkably well struck, centered and preserved example: a very rare coin in remarkable condition

NGC graded MS-63. .........$9,500

CRUSADERS, Venetians in the Levant. nomine Andrea Dandolo. Achaia. Roberto d'Anjou - Tarentum (1346-64)

gold Zecchino fully lustrous with bold details, struck in the style of the ducats of Venice with the Doge kneeling before St. Mark. Fr-38a, rare in this quality

NGC graded MS64.........$1800

Philip IV "The Handsome" was France's first modern monarch. In a never ending quest for Gold, he expelled the Jews, destroyed the Knights Templar and orchestrated the removal of the Papacy from Rome to Avignon. When Clelment V - a frenchman was elected Pope in 1305 Philip commemorated his coup by issuing the first GOLD LAMB, or Agnel D'or which insinuated that Philip was a humble servant of God, rather than a Tyrant who owned the Pope.

KINGS OF FRANCE: Philip IV 1285-1314

1305 Agnel d'or ND AU58 NGC.  Fr-258. + AGn · DI  QVI TOLL · PЄCAT MV'DI · MISЄRЄRЄ · nOB, Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) left, head right, before a standard with banner; PH | RЄX in exergue  / + XPC ° VInCIT ° XPC ° RЄGnAT ° XPC ° IMPЄRAT, cross fleurée with rosette in quadrilobe; lis in quarters and spandrels.

VERY RARE esp in this condition

NGC graded AU 58...............$8500

Charles IV
, youngest son of Philip IV, and the last Capet King, married in 1325, to Jeanne D'Evreux, his first cousin.. Jeanne was crowned queen in 1326, in one of the better recorded French coronation ceremonies. In fact, the "ordine" manuscript describing the ceremony has survived to this day. It seems likely that the Royal D'or was designed and minted for this coronation ceremony. The date of issue coincides directly with the ceremony, and the coin depicts the ruler, under a Gothic Church Arch, bearing a scepter and holding out a finger to receive the ceremonial ring presented by the Archbishop.

KINGS OF FRANCE Charles IV le Bel (the Fair). 1322–1328.

AV Royal d’or (26mm, 4.15 g, 9h). Struck 16 February 1326. · KOL · ReX · · FRA’ · COR’ · (annulet stops), Charles standing facing within ornate Gothic archway, wearing crown and holding lis-tipped scepter / + XP’C · VInCIT · XP’C · RЄGИAT · XP’C · IMPЄRAT (annulet stops), short cross, with voided quadrilobes, over cross fleurée; all within quadrilobe with lis in each angle and crown in each spandrel. Duplessy 240; Ciani 252; Friedberg 261. Very Rare and Exceptional for issue

Lusterous EF.................sold

Edward III of England
(Plantagenet/Anjou), Philip IV's maternal grandson, began the 100 years war to battle Philip VI (Capet/Valois - Philip IV's nephew) for control of France. Major fighting took place in Anjou, Normandy, Burgundy and Aquitaine. Edward issued two coins unique to Great Britain's short lived claim on France: the Guyenne (French for Aquitaine) D'or, and the Leopard D'or.

The design of the Leopard D'or, minted in 4 issues between 1355 and 1360, seems to be a direct challenge to the French Agnel D'or. The legends of the Leopard announces that Edward, by the grace of God, is now king of both England and France; but the entire mintage was recalled in 1361 when Edward renounced his claim on France in exchange for ratification of his possession of Aquitaine: hence the great rarity.

His son Edward Prince of Wales became the Black Prince of Aquitaine after the Treaty of Calais in 1362 and (enigmatically) revived the issue of the Leopard (naming him as Prince - or princeps - of Aquitaine) for a single short-lived mintage.

ANGLO-GALLIC. Edward III. 1327-1377.

AV Leopard d’or (4.17 g). Second issue. Bordeaux mint. Struck July 1356- July 1357. +EDWARDVS DEI GRA AnGLIE FRAnCIE REX, leopard left, wearing large crown; voided quatrefoil stops / +XPC VInCIT XPC REGHAT XPC IMPERAT, floreate cross; leopards in angles; voided quatrefoil stops. Elias 38b; Poey d'Avant 2843; Duplessy, Féodales, 1051A. Extremely Rare in this condition, and of great historical interest.

Graded NGC MS 61.........sold


ANGLO-GALLIC Edward the Black Prince of Aquitaine 1362-372

Guyennois d'or (3.89g) Armored Prince standing under gothic portal holding sword and sheild with arms of England and France, two lions/ foliate cross, two lis, two leopards, FR. 7 Provenance Kroisos Collection (graded EF)

Near EF ....................sold

Philip VI of France issued an extensive gold coinage, a tribute to France at the apex of her medieval power. Among the many designs introduced by Philip, is the first Gold Angel, in which the Archangel Michael kills the dragon, a symbol of the Devil. A variation on this design becomes a staple of English coinage in the next century.
KINGS of FRANCE PHILIP VI. 1328-1350. Ange d'or (6,50 g) (1341). The archangel Michael standing under an arch holding a shield and scepter, stabbing a dragon under foot/. Floreate cross in quadrilobe with four crowns . Dupl. 255A. Ciani 277. Fr. 273.
Extremely Rare. Provenance: Sanssouci Collection (graded AU)

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