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Philip II,   King of Spain 1556-1598
- son of Emperor Charles V (King Charles I of Spain)   and   founder of the Spanish line of Habsburg -
*1527 Valladolid, †1598 Escorial near Madrid. Philip II received from his father the following countries: the Duchy of Milan in 1540, the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily in 1554 and in 1555/56 the Netherlands, the Franche-Comté and Spain with its colonies. In 1580 Philip also claimed and took over Portugal. He strove for Spanish world supremacy and fought for the counter-reformation. He was married four times: Maria of Portugal (*1526, †1545 following the birth of Don Carlos), Queen Mary Tudor of England (1554, †1558), Elizabeth of Valois, daughter of King Henry II of France (1559, †1568) and finally, in 1570, Anna of Austria, daughter of Emperor Maximilian II.
King Philip II fought successfully against France (1557-1559), against the Turks (Juan d'Austria's victory near Lepanto in 1571) and against Mediterranean pirates. However, his attempt to conquer England failed (destruction of the Armada in 1588, sea-battle of Cádiz in 1596), as did his efforts to subdue the revolting Netherlands (secession of the northern provinces). Philip's ongoing war efforts overstrained his financial and economic resources and eventually led to the decline of Spanish supremacy.
Philip II minted coins with his effigy in Milan, Naples, Sicily, Sardinia and in the Spanish Netherlands, while in Spain large coins only showed heraldic symbols, as in his father's time.



Philipsdaalder 1557, Antwerp.     Ø 40 mm, 34,8 g.   Delmonte 12; Dav.8625.
Obv.:   PHilippuS·Dei·Gratia·HISPanae·ANGliae·Z(etc)·REX·DVX·BRABantiae 1557
"Philip by the grace of God King of Spain, England etc., Duke of Brabant"
Rev.:   ·DOMINVS·MIC - HI·ADIVTOR·(mm. hand)·
crowned arms between fire irons with flames, St.Andrew's Cross in the background,
underneath a flintstone with flames and the Golden Fleece     hand, Antwerp's mintmark
Antwerp: In the 14th century Antwerp prospered under Burgundian dominion. Wealth declined for more than two centuries because of the inquisition (since 1567), Spanish looting (1576) and Alexander Farnese's siege and conquest of the city in 1585. The coat of the city "Hand werpen" ("throw hand") shows the hands of a giant, chopped off and thrown into the river Schelde.


Double Schautaler, n. d. (1586/98), Brabant.     Ø 46 mm, 62 g.   Delmonte 88; Dav.-.
Obv.:   +·PHILIPPVS·D:G·HISP·3·REX·DVX·BRA
"Philip by the grace of God King of Spain, Duke of Brabant"   -   crowned bust in armor.
Rev.:   ·DOMINVS·MI - HI·ADIVTOR·   "The Lord is my helper"
arms, upper part :   Castile & León | Aragón & Sicily   in between : Granada (pomegranate)
upper center :   Portugal
lower part :   Austria (band) & Old-Burgundy (oblique stripes) | New-Burgundy (fleur-de-lis) & Brabant (lion)
lower center :   Flanders | Tirol
(lion | eagle)


Doppia 1578, Milan.   (double ducat)     Ø 26 mm, 6,56 g.   Crippa 4/A; Friedb.716.
Obv.:   PHILIppus·REX·HISPANIarum·ETC   "Philip King of Spain, etc."
crowned head, date below.

Rev.:   MEDIOL - ANI·DVX     "Duke of Milan"
arms of Milan under a crown with a palm and a laurel branch.

Mezzo Ducato, n. d. (1554-6), Naples.     Ø 34 mm, 14,9 g.   Pannuti Riccio 3.
Obv.:   PHILIP·R·ANG·FR·NEAP·PRI·HISPA· "Philip, King of England, France, Naples, Prince of Spain"
crowned bust, to the left the monogram IBR (Juan Bautista Rabaschiero)

Rev.:   POSVIMVS·DEVM·ADIVTOREM·NOSTrum   "We have made God our helper"
crowned arms, half Spanish, half English (lions and fleur-de-lis interchanged).
Compare the English shilling 1554 with a similar reverse side.
Philip was King of Naples at this time and married to Mary Tudor, but he was not yet King of Spain. Later the 1/2-ducato carries the title "King of Aragón, Sicily and Jerusalem" and the arms of Jerusalem and Hungary traditionally used in Naples.


10 Reali n. d., Cagliari, Sardinia.     Ø 41 mm, 28,47 g.   Varesi 40; Dav.8366.
Obv.:   +PHILIPPVS·:REX·ARAGONVM·ET·SARDINIÆ   crowned bust, marks C / X – A.
Rev.:   ¤INIMICOS·EIVS·INDVAM·CONFVSIONE
"His enemies I shall clothe with shame." (so about David in Psalm 132, 18 and here about the king)
This denomination of 10 reali is the first large silver coinage in Sardinia. It looks similar to the 1 Reale and the 2 and 3 Reali minted by Charles V.


billon Carolus 1562, Dole.     Ø 18 mm, 1,05 g.   P.A. 5285.
Obv.:   PHS·D·G·R·HISP·COM·BVRG   -   crowned bust.
Rev.:   MON·COMITAtus·BVRGUNDIE   -   Coat of Arms of the County of Burgundy, above the date 156Z.


1/2 Real 1596, Barcelona.     Ø 18 mm, 1,50 g.   Cal-700.
·PHILIPPVS·D·G·R·HISPANIAR   //   BARC - INOC·I- VITAS - 1596
Probably the only Spanish coin type carrying Philip's II effigy.



Philips four mariages
Philip's first wife Maria of Portugal died in 1545 after the birth of Don Carlos. On the proposal of Charles V, Philip married Queen Mary Tudor in 1554, who died childless in 1558. On the occasion of peace with King Henry II of France, the marriage with Henry's daughter Elizabeth of Valois came about, but she died after exhausting births of daughters only. At long last, the fourth wife, his niece Anna of Austria, daughter of Philip's sister Mary, gave birth to the eagerly awaited successor, Philip III of Spain.

Philip and Queen Mary Tudor (1516-1558)


shilling 1554.     Ø 30 mm, 5,84 g.   North 1967; Seaby 2500.
Obv.:   Busts of Philip II and Mary facing each other, a crown divides the date on top.
PHILIPpus·ET·MARIA·Dei·Gratia·Rex·ANGliae·FRanciae·NEAPolis·PRinceps·HISPaniarum
Rev.:   Crowned arms (half Spanish, half English), above X - II (worth 12 pence)
POSVIMVS·DEVM·ADIVTOREM·NOSTRVM     "We have made God our helper"


Silver cast medal c. 1555-58   by Jacques Jonghelinck after Jacopo da Trezzo.
Ø 35 mm, 35,08 g.     Attwood p.89, fig.26; Smolderen p.421, F8.
Obv.:   ·PHILIP·D·G· - HISP·REX·Z·
Bare-headed bust of Philip II to the right, with high collar, order of the Golden Fleece and cuirass.
Rev.:   MARIA I REG·ANGL·FRA - NC·ET·HIB·Z·  -   Bust of Mary to the left, elaborately dressed with cap, diadem, kerchief, and a jewelled turtleneck gown.

Philip and Elisabeth (Isabella) of Valois


Bronze medal n. d. (1559), model by Gianpaolo Poggini.    Ø 39 mm.   Armand I p.239 no.7.
Obv.:   ·PHILIPPVS·II·HISPAN·ET·NOVI·ORBIS OCCIDVI REX·   -   effigy of Philip to the left.
Rev.:   ·ISABELLA REGINA PHILIPPI·II·HISPAN·REGIS·   -   effigy of Isabella to the right.
Signature on both sides under the busts: ·I·PAVL·POG·F·

Philip and Anna of Austria (1549-1580)


Silver medal 1570, model by Jacques Jonghelinck.     Ø 39 mm, 21,45 g.
on Philip's marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Austria.
Smolderen 74; van Loon I p.131,1; Armand I p.240 no.13.

Obv.:  ·PHILIPPVS HISPANIAR·ET NOVI ORBIS OCCIDVT REX
Bare-headed bust of Philip II to the left, with high collar.
Rev.:   ·ANNA AVSTRIACA·PHILYPPI CATHOL·
Draped bust of Anna to the right, with high collar and necklace. Truncation on the shoulder: ÆT·ZI
Compare the medal on Anna alone.



Philip's son Infante Don Carlos

Don Carlos (1545-68), son of Philip II and Maria of Portugal, was mentally retarded and physically handicapped because of frequent intermarriages of his ancestors. After an attempt to escape to the Netherlands, he was imprisoned and died in prison.


silver cast medal 1557, model by Pompeo Leoni.     Ø 66 mm.
Attwood 118; Armand I p.249 no.3; Teylers Museum Obj. TMNK 198.

Obv.:   CAROLVS P·F·HISP·PRINCEPS ÆT AN·XII·   -   Bareheaded bust to the left, in armor and with command staff in the right hand. Signature on the arm section: F.POMP.1557
Rev.:   CONSOCIATIO RERVM DOMINA   "Union, mistress of things"
A draped figure of Union, with three branches in her right hand and a crown in her left,
walks over war trophies at her feet.
Compare the medal by Jacopo da Trezzo dedicated to Charles' V daughter Maria with a similar obvers.


oval uniface medal (1559), model by Pompeo Leoni.    39,7 x 33,6 mm.
CAROLVS PHI F ET S ANN XIIII   -   bust left, aged 14, in armour and mantle.
This forms the reverse of a medal depicting Philip II on the obverse (as Toderi/Vannel 125).




on Philip's accession to the throne 1557 in Spain


Silver medal 1557, model by Gianpaolo Poggini.    42,9 mm; 32,55 g.
Börner 684; Armand I p.238 n.1; v. Loon I p.8/9 n.2 (there with date 1555).

Obv.:   ·PHILIPPVS·Dei·Gratia·ET·CARoli·V·AVGusti·PATris·BENIGNITate·HISPaniarum·REX·
armored bust to the left, below date 1557 and signature ·I·PAUL·POG·F·.
Rev.:   ·VT QVIESCAT· - ·ATLAS·   "Rest on this Atlas"
Atlas supporting the Celestial Globe with stars and zodiac signs.
Compare with the statue Farnese Atlas at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.
Giampaolo Poggini (*1518), goldsmith, die and medal cutter, is the elder brother of Domenico Poggini and his coworker at the court of Cosimo I Medici. He worked for the court of Philipp II of Spain, first in Brussels (1555-1559) and from 1559 to his death in 1582 in Madrid.

Spain comes into possession of the East Indies


Gilded silver medal n. d., model by Gianpaolo Poggini (1518-82).     Ø 39 mm.
Scher 58; Armand I p.239 no.10; Teylers Museum Obj. TMNK 255.

Obv.:   ·PHILIPPVS·II·HISPAN·ET NOVI ORBIS OCCIDVI REX
"Philip II, king of the Spains and of the New World in the West"
Rev.:   RELIQVVM DATVRA / INDIA   "She will provide the rest / India"
A female figure in cuirass holds a globe in both hands and moves to the left towards three Spanish sailing ships. To the right, a group of figures from the New World follow her. They are accompanied by a llama carrying silver ingots. The northern hemisphere has lines of latitude and longitude, the southern hemisphere is left blank.
In 1562, the medaillist Giampaolo Poggini wrote to Cosimo de Medici giving interesting information on this medal. According to the artist, he discussed and elaborated the details of the medal with his patron Gonzalo Perez. The letter states that Philipp's portrait was made specifically for the "India" medal. The woman on the reverse carrying half the globe as offering represents India. Poggini was able to copy the lama from a live animal in Madrid and the native women's clothes from samples from Peru. The legends on the medal were the result of the patron's consultations with scholars at the Spanish court.   [Scher, p.166]
upgraded 6.2018.
Ref. about medals
• Gerard van Loon :  Beschryving der Nederlandsche Historipenningen.   1st part (Charles V - Philip II),
    The Hague 1723   online available.

• Alfred Armand :  Les Médailleurs Italiens des quinzième et seizième siècles.  3 vol., Paris 1883-87   online available.
• Philip Attwood :  Italian Medals c.1530-1600 in British Public Collections.   840 p., London 2003.
• Lore Börner :  Die italienischen Medaillen der Renaissance und des Barock (1450-1750).   458 p., Berlin 1997.
• Stephen K. Scher [Ed.] :  The Currency of Fame: Portrait Medals of the Renaissance.   424 p., NY 1994.

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