World Coins

Market Analysis: Ducat features textbook Italian Renaissance art

A gold ducato produced under Milan’s Galeazzo Maria Sforza has the quintessential Italian Renaissance portrait with Sforza wearing armor and shoulder length hair. The reverse shows a crested helmet above the Sforza family’s coat of arms, depicting a snake or viper about to devour a human, alongside branding irons with buckets to the left and right.

Classical Numismatic Group LLC complimented the “Handsome portrait,” grading the coin it offered May 29 at its Auction 111 as Extremely Fine, lustrous, and observing minor doubling in the legends.The coin realized $9,000.

The design was also used on silver testones that circulated widely. The design is sometimes attributed to the Italian goldsmith and medalist Christofano Caradosso by style.

Sforza (1444 to 1476) was the fifth Duke of Milan from 1466 to his assassination in 1476 on the day after Christmas. The Sforza court was among the most sumptuous in Europe, and Leonardo da Vinci would arrive in Milan around 1482, though his works of the period are not the typical profile portraits preferred by the court. Instead, da Vinci’s two extant paintings from the period depict a musician and one of the duke’s mistresses.

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