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    Description

    1581 West Indies Commerce Medal
    Cast Silver, Gilt, With Ornate Frame
    Betts-12 Variant

    Betts-12 Variant. 1581 (1560) West Indies Commerce. Silver, gilt, cast with frame. VF. 42.0 mm, 51.8 mm with frame, 18.9 gm. Medal turn. The obverse of this medal is something of a mystery, showing a cherub holding scales in clouds over an unidentified seaport city, Latin legend NICA NILA, Nothing will Conquer Us. The reverse is that of the preceding RELIQVVM DATURA medals, but in less dramatic relief. The outer border is composed of linked heart-shaped figures, perhaps the stylized fire-steels of Burgundy that are still to be seen in the Order of the Golden Fleece that originated in that dukedom, later part of the Spanish Netherlands. See "A Medal Mystery," MCA Advisory, January 2004, for Adams' findings on these medals. No example with this obverse appeared in the Ford sales.

    John W. Adams Commentary
    "Cast with an ornate filigreed frame (an identical frame can be seen on the Charles V medal, 1577, in the collection of the ANS; the design is a symbol of the house of Burgundy). Unlisted obverse: cherub holding the scales of justice flies over a city (The Hague?). It is wholly unclear to what this scene and legend alludes, our best guess being the Peace of Cambrai, 1560. Reverse of Betts-12. In the words of Baldwin's cataloguer: 'An excellent and contemporary example with original gilding'; the medal fetched $3,775 in 2003."
    Ex: A.H. Baldwin (10/2003), lot 2441.
    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: 11
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