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    Maternal grandparents    

Ferdinand and Isabel, the Catholics (Reyes Católicos)
Ferdinand, born 1452, since 1468 King of Sicily, married Isabel, who became Queen of Castile in 1474. In 1479 Ferdinand became King of Aragón. In 1503 he obtained Naples and in 1512 he conquered Navarra. Since 1479 Ferdinand and Isabel ruled the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragón jointly. They unified Spain by strengthening the central power. They supported Columbus's expedition to America and terminated the 400-year-old "Reconquista" by conquering Granada. Pope Alexander VI awarded them the title "Catholic Kings". Isabel died in 1504 and her daughter Joanna, later "the Mad", became queen of Castile. Ferdinand died in 1516 and his grandson Charles became King Carlos I of Spain.
Castile-León and Aragón were independent countries so that after unification in 1479 their currencies had to be adjusted. Ferdinand introduced the Venetian type of the ducat (3,5g gold) in 1483.
In 1497 the monetary reform "Real pragmática de Medina del Campo" was implemented in Castile: Only seven mints remained operating (Burgos, Cuenca, Granada, Sevilla, Toledo, Coruña, Segovia). No seigniorage was intended. For the first time, mintmarks and an assayer's marks on coins were prescribed. The Real in silver (3,24g) and the Excelente in gold (3,5g) as well as their multiples and partitions were introduced. The mintage of the renowned thaler-like 8-Reales-pieces (~27g) began later but perfectly fitted into this monetary system. They were used for trade throughout the world for several centuries.


Castile issued gold coins with the effigies of the royal couple:


Doble Castellano n.d. (1475-97), Sevilla.     Ø 34 mm, 9.18 g.   Cayón 2757; Friedb.147.
Obv.:   FERnAnDVS:EԾ+ELiISABEԾh¤DEI:GRACIA-REX:EԾ REgina   in gothic letters (Ծ=T).
Crowned King and Queen sitting on a throne and holding sword and sceptre.

Rev.:   SVB:VnBRA:ALARVn¤ԾVAVUn+PROԾEGE×nOS+   in gothic letters.
"sub umbra alarum tuarum protege nos" = "In the shadow of the wings take us under your protection"
Arms of Castile-León and Aragón-Sicily side by side under a shared crown,
in the background the haloed eagle of the evangelist John, on its tail the mintmark S for Sevilla.


Castellano n.d. (1475-97), Burgos.     Ø 27 mm, ~ 4,6 g.   Cy -.
Obv.:   + CLOS:DEVS:COnSVnSIT:OmO:nOn:S   in gothic letters
"quod Deus coniunxit homo non separet" = "Those who were copulated by God shall not be separated by man"
Crowned busts of Ferdinand and Isabel, face to face.
The eyecatching central dot between the faces is not a mintmark!
You can also find a central dot on the reverse if you look closely.

Rev.:   F - ERnAnDVS:ET:ELISABET - DEi Gratia
Arms of Castile and León with mintmark B for Burgos under a crown.
Husband Ferdinand appears as co-regent of Castile. His arms are missing on the revers.

The gold Castellano weighing 4,6g had been introduced in Castile by Enrique IV. It was minted since 1475 and showed the busts of the catholic Kings facing each other. The coin was highly valued and therefore called "excelente". In Barcelona and Valencia, however, the gold ducat of 3,5g was introduced in 1483. A coinage act was passed in 1497 in order to unify gold coin standards within Spain and the Excelente of 3,5 g and 23,75 carat replaced the Castellano in Castile.


Doble excelente (after 1497), Toledo.     Ø 28 mm, 7,01 g.   C.C.T.77 (type 74); Friedb.130.
+FERNANDVS:ET:ELISABET:DEI:GRATIA:REX:ET:  //  SVB VnBRA:ALARVM:TVARVM:PROTE:NOS:SV:


Doble excelente (post.1497), Sevilla.     Ø 28 mm, 6,8 g.   Cy.2783.
Obv.:   + FERNANDVS·ET·ELISABET·DEI·GRATIA·:
Ferdinand and Isabel, crowned and face to face.     Star and "S" are mintmarks.
Rev.:   SVB·VN(m)BRA·ALARVN(m)·TVARVM·PROTege·
"sub umbra alarum tuarum protege nos" = "In the shadow of the wings take us under your protection"
haloed eagle of the evangelist John behind the crowned arms
here the eagle does not hold the arms in its claws, as on other doble excelentes
arms :   Castile - León | Aragón - Sicily ,   below: Granada (pomegranate)
Aragón: vertical stripes.     Sicily: two eagles and stripes separated by diagonals.
The well-known image of the royal couple facing each other and the united coats of arms on the reverse indicated the firm intention to unite the kingdoms of Castile and Aragón. Special coinages of values up to 50 excelentes were equally programmatic. The image of the obverse became very popular and was copied by other royal couples: by Philip II & Mary Tudor (shilling 1554), by Francis II & Maria Stuart and by Albert & Isabel, governors of the Spanish Netherlands.

Compare the wedding portrait of Ferdinand and Isabella of 1469 [at the Palacio del Convento de las MM. Agustinas, Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Spain] with a choice of facing busts on their undated gold coins from Castile. The busts on the coins are no longer dimly, as in the Middle Ages. The engraver tried for an individual representation, but did not achieve recognizability.


Aragón also issued coins with the effigy of the royal couple:


Ducat, n.d., Valencia.     Ø 23 mm, 3,48 g.   C./C./T.135 ; Friedb.82.
Obv. with crown (mintmark for Valencia) between the effegies and S|S in the exergue (assayer's mark).
Rev. without the evangelist John's eagle.


Ducato, n.d. (1503-4), Naples.    Ø 22,5 mm, 3,48 g.   CNI 6; Pannuti Riccio 1; Friedb.827.
+ QVOS – DEVS CONIVNGIT◦OMO NO◦SEP   //   FERNANDVS◦ET◦ELISAB◦D:G
Rev. with arms of Naples (Aragón | Jerusalem | Hungary) top right
and mintmaster's mark I-T (Giancarlo Tramontano)


Carlino n.d. (1503-4), Naples.     Ø 22 mm, 3,00 g.   Pannuti-Riccio 2.
Obv.:   +FERNANDVS◦ET◦HELISABET:D:G:     bust of Ferdinand
behind: T ( mintmaster Giancarlo Tramontano)

Rev.:   +REGES◦ISPANIE◦ET◦VTRIVSQVE◦SICiliae     bust of Isabel
utriusque Siciliae = "both Sicilies" (Naples and Sicily)
The title "Spanish King and Queen" (Reges Hispanie) appears for the first time.

Ferdinand reigned alone after Isabel's death in 1504.
He coined in both their names as well as in his own name only.


Carlino, n.d. (1504-16), Naples.     Ø 25 mm, 3,59 g.   Pannuti Riccio 4.
Obv.:     +FERNANDVS:ET◦ELISABET◦D G
bust of Ferdinand ,   at the back: G (mark from mint master Marcello Gazzella)
Rev.:   +Rex:ARAGONVM:Et - (pomegranate) - VTRIVSQue◦SIciliae:Et   arms
Top right quarter: Naples (Aragón, Jerusalem {cross}, Hungary).  Bottom left: Aragón and Sicily.
Bottom within the legend: Granada (pomegranate with two leaves).

The following two coins may have been isued either by the King or by the the local principality.


Principat (ducat), n.d., Barcelona.     Ø 22 mm, 3,49 g.   Friedb.32.
Obv.: FERDINANDVS:D:G:REX:     lion in a small shield behind the crowed bust.
This nice effigy was modelled on a Renaissance coin: Naples, Ferdinand I, 1458-94, ducat.

Rev.:   CASTELLE:ARAgon:COME:Barcelona     crowned arms: Castile-León | Aragón-Sicily.
The county of Barcelona tried to retain its independency, until now.


1/4 Croat, n. d., Barcelona.     Ø c.13 mm, 0,82 g.   Cy.2261.
B hinter dem Kopf   //   BAR - CA - nO - nA


Croat, n. d., Barcelona.     Ø ca.25 mm, 3,22 g.   Crusafont 1137.4.
Obv.:   FERDInAnDU:D:G:R     crowned head to left.
Rev.:   CIVI - TAS B - RCIN - ONAT     Long cross, in the angles two rings and 2x three bullets.


Ducat, n.d. (after 1504), Valencia.     Ø 22 mm, 3,44 g.   Friedb.86.
Obv.:   + FERDINANDVS × DEI GRACIA ×   -  crowned bust to the left.
Rev.:  + VALENCIE × MA [shield with lion] IORICARVM × SE(a)rdinia  -  crowned arms of Valencia.
The Kingdom of Valencia, though a part of Aragón, coined in its own name and used its own shield.
Compare the Valencian double ducat of Charles V.


Doble real de oro, n.d. (after 1512), Navarra.     Ø 28 mm, 7,00 g.
Obv.:   FERNANDVS:D:G:Rex:NAVArra - crowned bust.
Rev.:   SIT:NOMEN DOMINI:BENedictum   "The name of the Lord be praised"
crowned arms of Navarra.
After the death of his wife Isabella in 1504 Ferdinand came into conflict with his son-in-law Philip I the Handsome. Therefore, Ferdinand married in 1506 the French princess Germaine de Foix, in oder to protect his Aragonese possessions from Habsburg heirs. Germaine's father had claimed Navarra without succes. Ferdinand now repeated the claim, annexed the largest part of it and took the title King of Navarre.


Ducat n.d., Perpignan.     Ø 22 mm, 3,42 g.   C./C./T.40; Friedb.32.
Legend over both sides: FERDINANDVS·D·G·REX·CAST // ELE·ET·ARAGONVM·COMES·
crowned bust to the right, crescent moon  //  crowned arms, between P - P (Perpignan).
Roussillon with its capital Perpignan war a Catalan County on the northeast edge of
the Pyrenees up to 1659 and belonged to the Crown of Aragon since 1172.


10 Ducats n. d., Zaragoza.     Ø 36 mm, 36,60 g.  
Obv.:  FERDINANDVS:R:DEI:GRACIA:ARAGON:VAlencia   - in gothic script
crowned bust between C-A (mintmark for Zaragoza).

Rev.:  TRIVNFATOR:ET:CATOLICVS:CRIISTIANIS   - in Antiqua:
"Triumphator and Catholic Christian",
crowned arms of Aragón between L - S (ensayador Luis Sánchez).
Zaragoza is the Capital of Ferdinands homeland, the Kingdom of Aragón.


1/2 Real, Aragón.     Ø ca.15 mm.   CA-138.
+FERDINANDVS: DEI:GR:R.  //  ARAGONVM: ET. CASTEL:
upgraded: 9.2015

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