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Venice. Anonymous silver Ingot of 156 troy oz ND (c. 14th-15th Century)


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Esemplare certamente degno di essere evidenziato, postato e commentato.

Dall’Asta HERITAGE del 19-20 agosto 2021 Auction #3094

Prezzo partenza 4.000 usd - stima 8.000 usd

Lot 33252. Lot 33252. Venice. Anonymous silver Ingot of 156 troy oz ND (c. 14th-15th Century) XF, Kürkman, Ottoman Silver Marks, pg. 69, Fig. 144 and 145 (this piece illustrated). 150x127x45mm. 5098gm. With round stamp (about 15mm in diameter) displaying the Lion of St. Mark within a beaded inner border, surrounded by the legend • + • VЄNЄCIЄ. An absolutely intriguing silver ingot, and a remarkable window into the operations of the internal regulation of silver at this famous trading center of the High Middle Ages and the early Renaissance. As recorded by Alan Stahl, Venetian law stipulated that all silver bullion imported into the city, whether by citizens or by foreigners, was to be presented to the Silver Officials at the Rialto Bridge before being taken across town for assaying and recasting at the mint at San Marco (the Latin legend seen here indeed translating to "of Venice"). Standards of the time suggest that the silver was refined to a fineness of around 95%. Prior to 1407, state regulations governing the export of such refined silver forbade its shipment except in galleys going east, undoubtedly for trade with the bourgeoning Ottoman Empire, whose trading relations with Venice have been well-documented. After that date, however, the Senate revised the regulations, permitting its citizens to export silver in any direction, by land as well as by sea. Despite earlier scholarship that suggested this trade faded out in the second half of the 14th century, Stahl ("Ingots and the Venetian Mint in the Later Middle Ages: The Accounts of Guglielmo Condulmer") has more recently demonstrated that such silver ingots continued to constitute a significant component of long-distance Venetian trade well into the 15th century (see especially pg. 83). What is perhaps most interesting about Stahl's article, however, is that he records such ingots "were stamped with the die containing the image of Christ" (pg. 82). Though the die employed on this piece is slightly worn, it undoubtedly contains the image of the Lion of St. Mark, employed for centuries on the seal of the city. Likely even more telling, Stahl admits knowing of "[n]o such ingots [in] public collections or from sales catalogues," though he is somewhat ambiguous on whether this refers to ingots with the image of Christ, or merely Venetian ingots more broadly. We have indeed been able to locate no other examples in our research, and the purpose of such pieces as ready sources of bulk refined silver certainly speaks against their long-term retention in their original ingot forms. Visually, the piece has toned to a dark slate-gray with hints of a slightly more golden hue (as often encountered on Chinese sycee) in the planing-like ridges along the face and sides. A few small scratches are noted on the face for the sake of completeness, though these may be test marks of some sort, as they reveal the same patina as the remainder of the surfaces. Undoubtedly of the highest rarity, and a unique opportunity for the Italian specialist.


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Nella mia totale ignoranza in materia, non ho problemi a dire che un cin mi sorprende la stima fatta. Ma proprio perchè ben poco ne so, essa mi sembra alta.

Bene è che ci siano altre persone che sappiano valutare e apprezzare al meglio anche questo tipo di lingotto in argento.

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