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Information about mint: Papal Mint, Avignon

Mint namePapal Mint, Avignon
CountryPapal States
Dates1309 - 1377

The right to coin money being one of the regalia (sovereign prerogatives), there can be no papal coins of earlier date than that of the temporal power of the popes. Nevertheless, there are coins of Pope Zacharias (741-52), of Gregory III (Ficoroni, "Museo Kircheriano"), and possibly of Gregory II (715-741). There is no doubt that these pieces, two of which are of silver, are true coins - and not medals like those distributed as "presbyterium" at the coronation of the popes since the time of Valentine (827). Their stamp resembles the Byzantine and Merovingian coins of the seventh and eighth centuries, and their square shape is also found in Byzantine pieces.

There is no pontifical money of a date between the last-named year and 1305; this is explained, in part, by the fact that the Senate of Rome, which sought to replace the papacy in the temporal government of the city, took over the mint in 1143. On the other hand, Prince Alberic had already coined money in his own name. The coins of the Senate of Rome usually bear the inscription "ROMA CAPUT MUNDI", or, S. P. Q. R., or both, with or without emblems. In 1188 the mint was restored to pope Clement III, with the agreement that half of its profits should be assigned to the sindaco, or mayor. The Senate, meanwhile, continued to coin money, and there is no reference on the coins of that time to the papal authority. In the thirteenth century the Sindaco caused his own name to be stamped upon the coins, and, consequently, we have coins of Brancaleone, of Charles I of Anjou, of Francesco Anguillara, viceroy of Robert of Naples, etc.; so did King Ladislao. Cola di Rienzi, during his brief tribunate, likewise struck coins, with the inscription: N. TRIBUN. AUGUST.: ROMA CAPU. MU.

Papal coins reappeared with the removal of the pontifical Court to Avignon, although there exists a single coin that is referred to Benedict XI (1303-4), with the legend COITAT. VENASIN; as, however, this pope never resided in Venaissin, which had belonged to the Holy See since 1274, the coin should be referred to Benedict XII. There are coins of all the popes from John XXII to Pius IX.