The Silver Coinage of Cyprus 1285-1382
Metcalf, D. M. The Silver Coinage of Cyprus 1285-1382. Corpus of Lusignan Coinage Volume II. Nicosia, 1996. Quarto, pp. xv, 314, 48 b/w plates. Casebound with jacket. During the reign of Henry II (1285-1324) a new, large silver coin, inspired by the French Gros Tournois, was introduced in Cyprus, and became the standard currency of the island, replacing the white bezants. The silver gros was worth half a bezants (henceforth merely the name of a money of account), or 24 deniers. It’s half, the gros petit, was worth 12 deniers. Based on a prolonged study of about 3500 specimens world wide, this volume records every known obverse die, and is the definitive work. Anyone who wishes to identify a gros or gros petit of the reigns of Henry II, Amaury, Hugh IV, Peter I, or Peter II has a 95 per cent chance of matching the self-same obverse die in the 48 high-quality plates on which over 700 chosen specimens are illustrated, in sylloge style. The survival rate of the fourteenth century coinage has been exceptionally high, because Genoese hostilities in the 1470’s caused the concealment and non-recovery of many coin hoards. The 100 page text gives a very detailed analysis of the dies, and cumulatively offers proof that there were not one but two major mints in fourteenth century Cyprus, at Nicosia and Famagusta.