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    Description

    Betts-12 1581 West Indies Commerce Medal
    Cast Silver, Likely Circa 1560

    Betts-12. 1581 (1560) West Indies Commerce. Silver, cast. XF. 39.1 mm, 2.3 mm thick, 24.3 gm. Medal turn, broad outer rim. Almost certainly the work of medalist Gianpaolo Poggini, this obverse bears that artist's armored bust of Philip II with title II · HISPAN. The reverse bears the Latin legend RELIQVVM DATURA, with INDIA in exergue. Researcher John W. Adams believes that this is a personal commemoration of Philip II, and possibly related to the Treaty of Cambrai (Cateau-Cambrecis). C. Wyllys Betts and Gerard Van Loon both linked it to the Spanish takeover of the Portuguese possessions in America. The usage INDIA would seem to celebrate the "other India," Portugal's Indian coastal possessions including Goa joining the Spanish empire, but the scene is of the Americas, with 11 oddly hollow-eyed figures following goddess of Commerce holding globe with a nearly blank Southern hemisphere toward three ships. The clincher is the well-drawn llama, described by Betts as a camel. In fact, the llama, vicuña, and guanaco are all New World members of the camel family, though Betts may not have been aware of this.

    John W. Adams Commentary
    "Cast on an oversized flan, with the fields chased. Wide rims and edges filed flat. Superbly executed but unsigned. Betts dates this medal to 1581 but Philip Attwood, citing Poggini's correspondence, places the work in 1560 and confirms that the design is indeed that of the master. We note variations in diameter for this variety from 37.4 mm to 40.6 mm; both Attwood and Dutch numismatist Dim Verschoor believe that some of the versions are 'Nederlandish,' quite possibly the work of Jonghelinck."
    Ex: H.H. Kricheldorf (11/1981), lot 1177.
    From The John W. Adams Collection.


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

    View all of [The John W. Adams Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2013
    9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
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