Ancient Venetian - AR Grosso Coin - Circa (1289 - 1310) CE

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Denomination: AR Grosso                                                          

Mint: Venice

Date: 1289-1310 CE                                                                   

Mount: Sterling ring with 18K gold bezel

Description: Obverse: PEGRADONICO D / V / X SMVENETI; Nimbate St. Mark, to right, presents royal standard to robed and bearded Doge. Reverse: Christ with a granulated nimbus encircling his head in robe (hiton) and mantle (himation) is seated on a throne. Holds on his left knee the Gospels ornamented with five precious stones. Initials “IC-XC” (Greek abbreviation for Jesus Christ) written at the height of his head.

History: Introduced around 1202 (to fund preparations for the grand and infamous Fourth Crusade that eventually sacked Constantinople) by the mighty Doge Enrico Dandolo and backed by the Republic's thriving economic power, this type of coin remained for well over a century the dollar of Southeastern European economy.

Although almost all of its design elements are of Byzantine origin - including the iconic image of a facing enthroned Christ with the Greek inscription "IC XC" (for Jesus Christ) on its reverse -

the particular combination in this silver coin of stable and strictly controlled weight and purity lasted for over 150 years (with variations in doge only) and became associated strictly with Venice. As such, through imitations and forgeries, it influenced many Eastern Mediterranean coinages, including the first systematic series of Serbian medieval coins.