ITALY, SICILY, Roger II, count, 1105-30, double follaro


ITALY, SICILY, Roger II, count, 1105-30, double follaro, no date (1127-30), Palermo mint, Obverse: Roger standing facing, R II on left, Reverse: Jesus enthroned facing, copper, 15-17mm, 4.69g, Spahr-53, F-VF

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In 24 years of reign Roger united the Normans in a single state that spread into southern Italy and Africa. The economy grew. Roger tried a coinage reform, introducing the gold ducat to facilitate wholesale trade, but the minor coinage was debased, meaning retail trade suffered. No matter, the rich got richer, the reign was considered to be a success.

The long political view of Sicily is prehistoric inhabitants invaded by Phoenicians from Carthage and Greeks, who fought with each other, then came the Romans, who became the Byzantines. The Arabs came from North Africa and ruled for several centuries. Then came the Normans, who were Vikings who had conquered northern France and become Frenchified. Then came the German Hohenstaufens, the Angevins, the Spanish Habsburgs, and relatives of the French Bourbon kings. Joined the Kingdom of Italy following the successful efforts of Garibaldi.

After the devolution of the Western Roman Empire into a German kingdom the Italian peninsula went through about 1800 years of disunity and foreign conquest before the War of Unification in the 1860s.

The political arrangements that resulted in the nations of modern Europe began to emerge out of anarchy starting in the 7th century AD or so. Europe, for our purposes stretches from Greenland to somewhere in Russia. Collectors of Europe would likely include Russia. Collectors of Asia, even though about 2/3 of Russia is in Asia, probably not.

By “Modern World Coins” we mean here, generally, the round, flat, shiny metal objects that people have used for money and still do. “Modern,” though, varies by location. There was some other way they were doing their economies, and then they switched over to “modern coins,” then they went toward paper money, now we’re all going toward digital, a future in which kids look at a coin and say “What’s that?” We’ll say: “We used to use those to buy things.” Kids will ask “How?” The main catalog reference is the Standard Catalog of World Coins, to which the KM numbers refer.