Auction: 13039 - World Coins and Commemorative Medals
(x) DA DODICI DOPPIE E MEZZA 1638
detto Doppia Stretta
Italy, Genoa, Biennial Doges (third period, dated coinage 1637-1749), 12½-Doppie, 83.36g, 1638 (Agostino Pallavicini), et * rege * eos 1638 * ib svs *, the Madonna and Child seated on clouds, the Madonna with an aureola of seven stars and holding a sceptre in her right hand, rev. + dvx * et * gvb * reip * genv *, cross, stars in angles (CNI.350,3; F.425; MIR 255 - R5), 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
This coin is referred to in the Corpus as a Doppia Stretta, as it was struck from the same dies as the Scudo Stretto. Coins of this type were struck only in the one year 1638. It is worth noting that the one example of this gold multiple cited in the Corpus, an example listed in the Avignone and Franchini collections with a weight of 83.30g, is not illustrated, but the silver Scudo Stretto of 1638 (CNI 9) is illustrated. It is this illustration, of a poor quality silver coin, that Varesi has used to illustrate the gold coin in MIR. Clearly there was no illustration of the extremely rare gold coin available.
Pesce also had never seen an example of this coin, and so he had doubts about its very existence. '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 83.30gr. and 44mm. in diameter. In the two catalogues mentioned the diameters of the coins are not given and it is, therefore, not possible to make a definite decision about them. If the diameter and weight are correct, then this coin would be a 12 and half doppie struck from a flan (sic) of the narrow scudi series.' (Giovanni Pesce, Genoese coins, Genoa 1976, p.122).
However, Pesce seems to have come to the conclusion that the piece did indeed exist. In a footnote (note 21, op. cit. p.158), he observed 'The simultaneous issue of large gold and silver multiples in 1638 was surprising. In this first year the 25 doppie, the 12½ in the two versions and the quadruple were struck.'
This piece, with a weight of 83.36g and a diameter of 44mm, confirms the C.N.I. listing, and indeed may well be the very same coin cited in the Corpus from the Avignone and Franchini collections.
A comparison of this coin with the silver Scudo Stretto reveals clearly the superior quality of this very carefully struck large gold piece.
The coin is without doubt a great rarity, and its appearance at auction after an absence from the market of over a century is a significent event.
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Sold for £125,000