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Alexander VII 1658 Scudo Bernini Coin

Note: This is an archived product and not currently available for sale.

Alexander VII 1658 Scudo Bernini Coin Photo

Famous late baroque papal scudo--approx. 44mm across--of Pope Alexander VII for the canonization of St. Thomas of Villanova, 1658, and minted at Castel Sant'Angelo. Obverse: Elaborately curved shield bearing the full coat of arms of the Chigi family surmounted by the tiara and keys; at the upper left, Saint Peter holding a book in one hand and blessing with the other. Reverse: Saint Thomas of Villanova as a Roman soldier giving to the poor.

Alexander VII not only enlisted Bernini for the designs of at least two of his annual medals but also for this silver scudo, probably the first instance since antiquity of a major artist's involvement in the production of a coin. The die was likely created by medalist Gaspare Morone, who had engraved coins for Urban VIII and Innocent X.

Graded NGC AU Details. Scratches appear away from the main design on the reverse, near the bottom between 5 and 6 o'clock. I've included a photo above which highlights it.

Tradition has it that St. Thomas is depicted on the reverse but Nathan Whitman makes the case in ROMA RESURGENS for a more general image of charity: "As a concept, charity was dear to the heart of Alexander and a virtue he really manifested in the first years of his reign. Under increasing criticism because of his vast expenditures on architecture in a period of continuing economic hardship, it was a virtue he strove to defend with ever lessened plausibility."

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Alexander VII
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Gaspare Morone