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Lordship of Asti
Louis of Orléans, King Louis XII of France, Lord of Asti 1465-1498-1515
Francis I, King of France 1515-1547, Lord of Asti 1515-1529
Emperor Charles V, Lord of Asti 1529-1531
Asti became an archbishopry in the 5th century. Its location in Piemont, NW of Italy, facilitated and promoted trade and finances. The town flourished in the middle ages. Apart from inner conflicts, Asti had to withstand aggression from neighbour principalities and from Charles I of Anjou (King of Napels, 1227-1285). Asti switched alliances a number of times: it was leagued to its neighbour margraviate Montferrat (1356-77) but later chose the Visconti as protectors.
Asti was entitled to mint since 1140.

Map of Italy in 1499

Louis of Orléans, Lord of Asti 1465-1515
- also King Louis XII of France 1498-1515, King of Naples 1501-04 and Duke of Milan 1500-12 -
In 1389, Valentina Visconti (daughter of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, 1st Duke of Milan) married Louis I, Duke of Orléans, a younger brother of King Charles VI of France. Asti was Valentina's dowry and thus came into the possession of the House Valois-Orleans. Valentina's grandson Louis of Orléans inherited the Dominion Asti from his father Charles, Duke of Orléans (1394-1465) and became King Louis XII of France in 1498.

    Louis as Duke of Orléans, 1465-98    


Testone n. d., Asti (before 1498).     Ø 28 mm, ca. 9 g.   CNI p.31/n.34; MIR 60.
Obv.:   (lily) LVDOVICVS·DVX·AVRELIANESIS   -   bust with cap to the left.
Rev.:   ·.Z[et cetera]. - ·MEDIOLANI·AC·ASTensis·DomiNu - S·
crowned quartered shield Orléans/Milan between two lilies.
The legend on both sides: "Louis, Duke of Orleans / and Milan and also Lord of Asti"
The father of Louis XII, Charles, Duke of Orléans, had claimed Milan when the last Visconti duke died in 1447. He demonstrated his rights via legend and shield on coins minted in Asti. Louis continued to do so, adding his portrait to the Asti coins. This had become the custom for the Italian "testone" since 1474, when Galeazzo Maria Sforza had first minted a Milan testone with his portrait.
King Charles VIII of France (Valois) died in 1498 without descendants. Louis d'Orléans (Valois-Orléans), his next of kin, became King Louis XII of France and began to mint royal coins for Asti:

    Louis as King of France, 1498-1515    


Testone, Asti (after 1508).     Ø 30 mm, 9,28 g.   CNI p.36/n.34; MIR 77.
Obv.:   (lily) LVDOVIC·D:G·REX·FRANCOrum:SICILiae·IHerosoLymorum*   -   crowned bust to the left.
Rev.:   (lily) MedioLanensIs·DVX·ASTENSISque·QVE·DOMINus   -   crowned shield of France.
legend on both sides:
"Louis by the grace of God King of France, Sicily and Jerusalem / Duke of Milan, Lord of Asti"
At the time of this coinage, King Louis's claim to Milan had already been enforced.

For more coins with his portrait, check Milan, Naples and France.
Compare with the painting in Windsor Castle (ca. 1500) .

Francis I, King of France 1515-1547 and Lord of Asti 1515-1529
- also Duke of Milan 1515-1521 -
Francis I of the Valois-Angoulême line followed Louis XII as king of France and Lord of Asti. After the second war against emperor Charles V, he had to forfeit Asti in the "Women's Peace of Cambrai" 1529.


Testone, Asti.     Ø 28 mm, 8,36 g.   CNI 42/3(Obv.)+5(Rev.); MIR 97.
Obv.:   (lily) ·FRAN·FRAN - ·REX·AC·AST·DNS:
Half-length effigy in armor to the left, a sword in his left and a shield in his right hand.
Rev.:   (crown) ·SOLI·DEO·TRINO·E·VNI·GLORIA·   "Honor alone God Trinity and Unity" (?)
crowned arms of France between lilies.

See more coins with his effigy under Milan and France.

Emperor Charles V, Lord of Asti 1529-1531
Francis I had to cede Asti to Emperor Charles V in the "Paix des Dames of Cambrai" 1529. Finally, in 1531, the emperor vested Savoy with Asti.


Testone, Asti.     Ø 30 mm, 9,37 g.   CNI 43/2.   location: Ermitage, Petersburg.
Obv.:   ·CAROLVS·V·IMPERATOR  -  bust in armor with crown to the left.
Rev.:  In laurel wreath: two crowned pillars, water waves and letters A - S - T.
This coin is very similar to a coronation coin from Bologna 1530.

Ref.:
• Corpus Nummorum Italicorum [CNI], vol. II.   -   Indice vol. II       [Page & No. eg.: 87/6 = p.87 n.6]
• Varesi, Alberto [MIR]: Monete Italiane Regionali (MIR-2) - Piemonte, Sardegna, Liguria, Corsica,
    Ed. Varesi, 1996

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