Item #2518 Renouatione sopra li scudi ducali fiorentini. Publicato a di 24. de Settembre, 1558. CURRENCY.
Renouatione sopra li scudi ducali fiorentini. Publicato a di 24. de Settembre, 1558.
Renouatione sopra li scudi ducali fiorentini. Publicato a di 24. de Settembre, 1558.
Currency Rate Manipulation
Dire Fiscal Straits in Cosimo's Florence
One U.S. Copy: Harvard Law
Florence, Appresso i Giunti, 1558.

Renouatione sopra li scudi ducali fiorentini. Publicato a di 24. de Settembre, 1558.

4to [20 x 14 cm], (2) ff., with woodcut cartouche of Medici arms on title-page. Colophon: Bandito per me Tommaso di Bernardo Cortecci, questo di 24. di Settembre. 1558 (“Proclaimed by me, Tommaso di Bernardo Cortecci, this 24th day of September, 1558”). Bound in patterned paper over boards. Light foxing to leaves, otherwise good.

Rare first edition of a public proclamation fixing currency rates in the FlorentineRepublic, in the face of an influx of cheap silver from the New World. The notice threatens fines and legal action against merchants who attempt to abuse these rates or demand higher ones.

Under the reign of Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici (r. 1537-1574), Florence endured a barrage of official ‘innovations’ in economic policy and fiscal organization, in response to both the influx of silver from the Americas and the massive public funding Cosimo required to maintain the Duchy’s endless war against Siena. The first scudo d'argento (silver shield) was issued in 1551 by  Charles V  (1519-1556) in Milan. The scudo had held steady at a rate of 1:7 against the lira and 1:10 against the soldi until 1556, when the constant flood of New World silver finally forced the rate up to 1:12.

The present public proclamation, issued by the “Maestri di Zecca” of the Duchy, commands bankers, merchants and money-changers to abide by the current exchange rate. It also prohibits the circulation of gold coins other than the official Ducal scudi, on pain of a hefty fine.  Ironically, the Ducal Mint’s attempt to stabilize its currency was to drive Florence into deflation, and the last decades of the 16th C saw Florence levying heavy taxes in order to pay down its mushrooming debts to its military allies.

OCLC lists one copy, at Harvard Law. ICCU adds only one further copy in Italy, at the BN in Florence. Another edition is also noted on ICCU published by Giorgio Marescotti and dated [after 1558]; no US copies of this edition have been located.

Price: $1,950.00

See all items in Rare Books
See all items by