Gold saluto of Charles I of Anjou, king of Naples and Sicily
Sicily, AD 1266-85
An angelic coinage
The French prince, Charles of Anjou took power in the kingdom of Naples and Sicily from the Hohenstaufen dynasty, as the pope's nominee. This transfer of power followed a long struggle between the papacy and the Hohenstaufen emperors. During his reign (1266-85) Charles introduced a new coinage made of virtually pure gold, bringing the Sicilian coinage into line with contemporary western developments.
The king was personally involved in the design of the new coinage, with its elegant depiction of the Annunciation: the archangel Gabriel visiting the Virgin Mary. Perhaps surprisingly, this is one of only a very few depictions of a biblical scene on medieval coinage. The other side of the coin shows the arms of the kingdoms of Sicily and Jerusalem, as a claim to the latter had been purchased by Charles in rivalry to the kings of Cyprus.
M. Cagiati, LemMonete dei Reama delle Due (Naples, 1911)
J. Williams (ed.), Money: a history (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)