Zecca: The Mint of Venice in the Middle Ages

Front Cover

Within a few months of assuming the position of curator of medieval coins at the American Numismatic Society in 1980, Alan M. Stahl was presented with a plastic bag containing a hoard of 5,000 recently discovered coins, most of which turned out to be from medieval Venice. The course of study of that hoard (and a later one containing more than 14,000 coins) led him to the Venetian archives, where he examined thousands of unpublished manuscripts. To provide an even more accurate account of how the Zecca mint operated in Venice in the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries, Stahl commissioned scientific analyses of the coins using a variety of modern techniques, uncovering information about their content and how they had been manufactured. The resulting book, Zecca: The Mint of Venice in the Middle Ages, is the first to examine the workings of a premodern mint using extensive research in original documents as well as detailed study of the coins themselves.

The first of the book's three sections traces the coinage of Venice from its origins in the ninth century as a minor, and unofficial, regional Italian coinage to its position at the dawn of the Renaissance as the dominant currency of Mediterranean trade. The second section, entitled "The Mint in the Life of Medieval Venice," illustrates the mechanisms of the control of bullion and the strategies for mint profit and explores the mint's role in Venetian trade and the emergence of a bureaucratized government. The third section, "Within the Mint," examines the physical operations that transformed raw bullion into coins and identifies the personnel of the mint, situating the holders of each position in the context of their social and professional backgrounds.

Illustrated with photos of Venetian coinage from the world's major collections, Zecca also includes a listing of all holders of offices related to the medieval Venetian mint and summaries of all major finds of medieval Venetian coins.

 

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Contents

THE AGE OF THE PENNY 8001200
3
A CLOSING OF THE MINT?
8
THE DUCAL PENNY
13
THE AGE OF THE GROSSO C 12001285
16
THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY UP TO 1284
22
THE REINTRODUCTION OF THE VENETIAN PENNY
24
THE AGE OF THE DUCAT 12851330
28
THE REORGANIZATION OF MINTING
33
THE DUCAT
212
THE SOLDINO AND MEZZANINO
217
THE TORNESELLO
223
CULLERS CLIPPERS AND COUNTERFEITERS
226
CLIPPING
229
COUNTERFEITING
235
WITHIN THE MINT
243
THE MINTMASTERS
245

A PERIOD OF UNEASY TRIMETALLISM
34
THE AGE OF THE SOLDINO 13301379
41
THE GLUT OF GOLD
47
ANOTHER TRY AT THE MEZZANINO
51
THE PLAGUE YEARS
55
THE NEW SOLDINO AND THE TORNESELLO
60
FROM MIDCENTURY TO THE PEACE OF TURIN 1381
63
THE AGE OF CRISIS AND REFORM 13791423
69
THE POSTWAR YEARS
70
CRISES OF CLIPPING AND CULLING
75
PROSPECTS FOR THE NEW CENTURY
78
NEW COLONIAL COINAGES
81
THE REFORM OF THE GOLD MINT
86
THE REFORM OF THE SILVER MINT
91
THE ZECCA IN THE LIFE OF MEDIEVAL VENICE
97
THE SETTING OF MINT POLICY
99
THE LEGISLATIVE BODIES OF MEDIEVAL VENICE AND THEIR RECORDS
102
MEDIEVAL LEGISLATION GOVERNING THE MINT AND BULLION
105
POLITICS AND MONETARY POLICY
112
GOVERNMENT CONTROL OF THE BULLION MARKET
126
THE SOURCES OF SILVER AND GOLD
127
SILVER SPECULATION WITHIN VENICE
131
THE FONDACO DEI TEDESCHI AND THE BULLION TRADE
133
THE SILVER BROKERS
134
THE CONTROL OF THE GOLD AND SILVER MARKETS IN THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY
136
THE EARLY FOURTEENTH CENTURY
139
THE CREATION OF THE SILVER OFFICE AT THE RIALTO
145
THE GOLD ESTIMATORS AND THE MARKET FOR GOLD IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY
147
THE SILVER MARKET AFTER 1340
152
THE DE BORA AFFAIR
154
THE SALE OF SILVER 13661423
157
THE SILVER OFFICIALS AND COINAGE CIRCULATION
161
THE ECONOMICS OF THE ZECCA
168
THE ECONOMICS OF THE MINTING OF GOLD
190
MINTING STRATEGIES OF MEDIEVAL VENICE
196
THE CIRCULATION OF VENETIAN COINAGES
201
THE VENETIAN PENNY THE DENARO PICCOLO
202
THE GROSSO
207
THE QUINDENA
246
THE ACQUISITION OF BULLION
249
THE SUPERVISION OF MANUFACTURE
251
THE DISTRIBUTION OF NEWLY MINTED COINS
254
A CASE OF INNOVATIVE INITIATIVE BY A MINTMASTER
256
CONTROLS AND CHECKS ON THE MASTERS WITHIN THE MINT
257
THE ACCOUNTS OF THE MINTMASTERS
258
THE NUMBER AND ELECTION OF MASTERS
261
THE REMUNERATION OF THE MINTMASTERS
264
ILLGOTTEN GAINS
269
THE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC BACKGROUND OF MINTMASTERS
273
THE CAREERS OF MINTMASTERS
277
THE MINT BUILDING AND STAFF
281
THE PERMANENT STAFF
286
COIN DESIGN AND DIE ENGRAVING
302
THE IMAGES AND STYLE OF THE COINS
304
THE TECHNOLOGY OF DIE ENGRAVING
313
THE ENGRAVERS OF THE MEDIEVAL ZECCA
315
FROM BULLION TO COIN
320
THE REFINING OF BULLION
321
FROM INGOT TO BLANK
336
THE MONEYERS
344
THE STANDARDS OF MEDIEVAL VENETIAN COINS
354
CONTROL OF WEIGHT STANDARDS
361
THE STANDARDS OF THE FIRST SOLDINO AND MEZZANINO ISSUES
364
THE VOLUME OF PRODUCTION AT THE VENETIAN ZECCA
369
DOCUMENTARY SOURCES FOR PRODUCTION NUMBERS
372
NUMISMATIC INDICES FOR PRODUCTION AT THE ZECCA
385
INFERENCES FROM FIND STATISTICS
390
EXCAVATION FINDS
391
HOARD FINDS
396
THE ZECCA AT THE DEATH OF DOGE MOCENIGO
406
OFFICES RELATING TO BULLION AND THE ZECCA
407
FINDS OF MEDIEVAL VENETIAN COINS
425
BIBLIOGRAPHY
465
INDEX
481
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About the author (2000)

Alan M. Stahl served for twenty years as the curator of medieval coins for the American Numismatic Society, and is currently a visiting professor in the department of history at the University of Michigan. His previous books include The Merovingian Coinage of the Region of Metz and The Venetian Tornesello: A Medieval Colonial Coinage.

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