Austria 1479 7 ducats

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Goldberg sale 85, lot 3177
photo courtesy Goldberg Coins and Collectibles
This specimen was lot 3177 in Goldberg sale 85 (Los Angeles, June 2015), where it did not sell. The catalog description[1] noted,

"Austria. Holy Roman Empire. Gold 7 Ducats, ND (struck 1511) (Hall Mint), all silver Guldiners. Maximilian I, 1490-1519. Laureate youthful bust of Maximilian right, draped and mantled, with shoulder-length hair; Latin titles around, across field, "ETA - TIS - 19 -." Reverse: Draped bust right of young Mary; Latin titles around, across field, "ETA - TIS - 20 -," 1479 below bust. Very slight doubling to portion of obverse inscription; with only a hint of doubling at parts of the portraits. Carefully handled and preserved over the years, with only a few trifling marks. Especially choice for issue in general. The nicest of three known. NGC graded MS-63.

Maximilian was able to consolidate the Habsburg holdings through marriage and outright purchase. He married Mary "The Rich", who was the only daughter of Charles the Bold (1433-1477), Duke of Burgundy, in 1477, and thus obtained control of the Burgundian Netherlands. In 1490, he bought Tyrol and Further Austria from his cousin Sigismund. In 1493, the death of his father Friedrich III, gave Maximilian control of all the Habsburg lands. This consolidation led to the modern power of the Holy Roman Emperors. A most historic issue that also bridges the gap from medieval Europe to the Renaissance.

As an aesthetic masterpiece, this coin illustrates a royal love story unusual for that or any other time. Mary was the wealthiest young lady of her time and therefore a most desirable marriage candidate, with at least a dozen important rulers wanted to marry her. Her father died a few months before she was married, bequeathing her Burgundy, one of the wealthiest Duchies in Europe at that time. Maximilian, on the other hand, as the only surviving son of Emperor Frederic III of Habsburg, grew up in a simple court that always in need of money, which made his marriage to Mary a perfect match. He was a handsome and intelligent young man and fell in love with her at first sight. Tragically, after only five years, Mary died when she was crushed by her horse in a riding accident, leaving Maximilian and their son Philip the Beau in mourning.

Maximilian likely had these issues struck as a gentle remembrance of his first wife, the late Mary of Burgundy, some time after the death of his second wife, Maria Bianca Sforza, perhaps around 1511. A silver medal (of perhaps 1479), commemorating the marriage, would have served as the prototype for these issues; cf. Lobbecke 404. Maximilian was 19 years old at the time of their marriage; Mary was 20. From the collection of Count Arthur Enzenberg, Gilhofer & Ranschberg & a. Hess, A.G., Sale, Vienna 1936, Lot 142 (where it fetched 2,700, the highest price of the entire auction); Ex Galler[ie]s des Monnaies & Spink, October 1973, realized 185,000 Sfr; Illustrated in Money of The World, coin 79; Ex Millennia Collection Lot 477."

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 24.5 g, .986 fine gold, this specimen 24.18 grams.

Catalog reference: FR--. Cf.: Dav --; Egg. 15; Voglh. 3.

Source:

  • [1]Goldberg, Ira, Larry Goldberg, Aleeza Brown, Yifu Che, Jason Villareal and Stephen Harvey, Goldberg Sale 85: the Pre-Long Beach Auction, Los Angeles: Goldberg Coins and Collectibles, 2015.
  • Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 7th ed., Clifton, NJ: Coin and Currency Institute, 2003.

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