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    Description

    Betts-11 1580 Spanish Conquest of Portugal
    Extremely Rare Silver Medal
    Cast Shells

    Betts-11. 1580 Spanish Conquest of Portugal. Silver, cast shells, chased. XF. 53.4 mm, 3.5 mm thick, 51.3 gm. Medal turn. Distinctive bearded bust of an aging Philip nearly facing in tall hat and ruff, PHILIPP°II HISP ET NOVI ORBIS REX, King of Spain and the New World.
    The reverse is inscribed RELIQVVM DATVR, the Remainder is Given, union of Spanish and Portuguese possessions. The globe at center is divided at the equator, the Northern hemisphere bearing lines of latitude and longitude with a diagonal zodiacal band ending at the middle. Betts and subsequent writers interpreted this global north-south division as symbolizing the union of Spanish and Portuguese possessions, though the division sanctioned by Pope Alexander VI in the Treaty of Tordesillas divided the New World on a north-south line. Medal is clearly dated 1580, but Betts mistakenly listed it as 1581. No other example of this medal is likely to appear for decades.

    John W. Adams Commentary
    "Cast shells, elaborately chased, with a very substantial rim added. Obverse features bust of Philip II, mostly facing, with high hat and ruffle. Reverse shows a globe, the Southern hemisphere blank and the Northern hemisphere thatched with the usual lines separating Spanish and Portuguese interests. The obverse design is the same as Van Loon I, 282, but the reverse has the date added and markings on the Southern hemisphere removed. The manufacturing technique employed suggests an 18th century date of origin, but this carefully crafted medal is no casual copy. Why and for whom the piece was made must remain conjectural; per Laurens Schulman, the House of Schulman has never handled this medal, so it is undoubtedly rare. It fetched 2400 pounds ($4,200) when auction by Bonham's on 12.5.99. No example appeared in Ford or any other auction in modern times."
    Ex: Bonham's (12/1999), lot 181A.
    From The John W. Adams Collection.


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2013
    9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
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