start page Charles V TOUR :   Naples & Sicily


Kingdom of Spain
Charles first came to Spain in 1517 to become King Carlos I of Spain, after his grandfather Ferdinand the Catholic had died. Charles arrived as a foreigner, but he tried hard to integrate and he soon learned to speak Spanish. The behaviour of his Burgundian advisers, however, provoked the "comuneros"-revolt of the Spanish cities. Charles was wise enough to appoint Spanish advisors during his second stay in Spain (1522-29). Charles relied on Spain as an indispensable source to finance and manpower his European wars.
Charles introduced the pillars of Hercules, symbolizing the Strait of Gibraltar, together with his motto "Plus Ultra" ("always forward, even further").

Crowned pillars standing in water
4 reales from Mexico
The chronicler of Charles's first trip to Spain reports: Charles attached to the sails of his ship an image of the columns of Hercules embraced by a band with his motto "Plus oultre".
The source for "Plus oultre" seems to have been the Burgundian novel "Roman du fort Hercules" (about 1464) which says about the Strait of Gibraltar "Ne passe oultre pour quérir terre, ... Plus en occiddent t'en yras, Et moins de terre trouveras." (Don't look any further to conquer lands. The further west you go, the less you will find.)
Charles reversed the words to form his motto: ever further, ever onwards. It was immediately translated into universal Latin and, eventually, came true for Spain in the aquisition of America.

Charles issued most of the Spanish coinage either in the name of his Spanish grandparents or in his own name and that of his mother Joanna. Charles was governor in her place as Joanna was mentally handicapped. She died two years before Charles's abdication. This is why Charles's effigy is not found on coins from Castile or from overseas.
Coins minted in countries which Charles had inherited form his grandfather Ferdinand the Catholic are either imprinted with Charles's title or with both his and his mother's title. Occasionally, coins form Valencia and Mallorca also show Charles's bust.


Doble ducado (double ducat), n. d., Valencia.     Ø 28mm   7,0g
Obv.:  +CAROLVS·DEI·GRACIA·REX·ARAGO  -  crowned bust surrounded by gothic ornament.
Rev.:   +VALENCIE·MAI - ORICARVM·SA   -   crowned arms of Valencia surrounded by ornament.
Compare the Valencian ducat, n.d. (after 1504) of Ferdinand the Catholic with similar bust.


Doble ducado (double ducat), n. d. (before 1539), Valencia.     Ø 27 mm, 6,98 g.   unique
Obv.:  +CAROLVS·DEI·GRACIA·RE·  -  crowned bust without gothic ornament.
A restrike displaced RE in the upper left onto the X of REX and opened the inner circle to a spiral.
Also the front prong of the crown was lost (flattened) by the restrike.
Note the strange disturbing dot in the emperor's eye in the center of the coin.
This lamentable central dot is not part of the designed picture !

Rev.:   +VALENCIE·MAIORICARVM·   -   crowned arms of Valencia without side-ornaments.


Doble real, n. d., Valencia.     Ø 28 mm.   Cy.3218.
Obv.:   +CAROLVS·DEI·GRACIA·REX   -   crowned bust en face.
This medieval effigy was used in Valencia from the 14th to the 17th century.

Rev.:   +VALINCIA·M (shield with lion) AIORICA·RV   -   crowned arms of Valencia.


Ducado n. d., Palma de Mallorca.   Ø 21 mm, 3,36 g.  Cayón 3241; Calicó/Trigo 35; Friedb.54.
Obv.:   +CAROLVS·REX·ARAGONVM·   -   crowned bust between two stars.
Rev.:   ‡MAIORICARV3 (arms) CATOLICVS   -   shield: Castile|León, Aragón|Sicily and Granada.


Ducado n. d., Palma de Mallorca.   Ø 21 mm, 3,47 g.  C.C.T. 33; Friedb.54.
Obs.:   +CAROLVS·REX·ARAGONVM (G & N mirror image)   -   crowned bust to the left.
Rev.:   MAIORICA (mm.) CATOLICVS   -   Wappen wie vor.


Doble ducado (double ducat), n. d., Zaragoza.     Ø 26 mm.  Friedb.22.
Obv.: + IOANA:ET:KARLOS:D:GRACIA:RA:BAR  -  Legend in gothic letters (die from about 1520).
Crowned busts of Joanna and Charles facing each other,   between them: C (mint Zaragosa).

Rev.:  + IOANA:ET KAROLVS:RXS:ARAGON.  -  Legend in Latin antiqua letters (die after 1525),
crowned arms of Aragón between L - S (mint master Luis Sánchez de Calatayud).


2 Principats (double ducat), 1521, Barcelona.   Ø 28 mm, 6,9 g.   Cayón 1459; Friedb.35.
Obv.:   +IOANA ET CARLOLVS REGES ARAGONVM  
Crowned busts of Charles and Joanna, between them a scepter,
above them a firesteel on a St. Andrew's Cross, unusual symbol in Spain.

Rev.:   COMITES BARCINONE·P·V·1521   "Earls of Barcelona"
Crown in the legend above the divided arms of Aragón and Naples (Jerusalem|Hungary|Sicily).
The arms of pretension of Jerusalem originate with Charles I of Anjou, King of Naples 1266-1285.

Realize the Burgundian Golden-Fleece-Symbol
- St. Andrew's Cross with enlaced firesteel -
on different specimens of the double ducats
1521 and 1532 from Barcelona.

Compare the double ducat 1521 from Barcelona of the coin cabinet of the Bode-Museum in Berlin.

On four of the coins presented here a so-called 'central dot' shows up. On the last of these coins, scepter and Jerusalem cross cover the central dot. The central dot precedes the engraving. On the Berlin specimen, the central dot remains visible on the left side of the scepter because the die cutter's engraving did not hit it exactly.

The Bibliothèque nationale de France, Dép. des Monnaies, is in possession of an unique show piece:
100 ducats 1528, Zaragoza LS (Ø 84 mm, 349,32 g).

start page Charles V   /   Karl V. TOUR :   Naples & Sicily