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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Collectible Coins - Francesco Gnecchi And Roman Medallions

Gnecchi Francesco was born in 1847 in the heart of a wealthy family of textile manufacturers specialized in the production of silk. He studied law at the University of Pavia, but after getting his degree, began to address the family business, an activity that combined with painting, producing mainly works of a landscape. Gnecchi began collecting Roman coins from 1870 and in a few years, his collection grew to become a basis for his studies, a series of pamphlets published in conjunction with his brother Ercole Gnecchi. Along with the latter and other enthusiasts, Francesco 1888 participated in the founding of the Rivista Italiana di Numismatica, initially led by Solon Ambrosoli and, later, by him and his brother. In its pages published important contributions to many fields of Roman numismatics. This magazine keeps appearing on continuously since that year and is now one of the most prestigious in this field. In 1892, Gnecchi was also one of the founders of the Italian Numismatic Society which still has its headquarters in Milan and carries forward the issue of the magazine.

 The rigor and quality of the work of Francesco earned him rapid international recognition and in 1906 was awarded the medal of the Royal Numismatic Society of London. His great contribution is the study of Roman medallions. Early on, Gnecchi became interested in particularly Roman medallions which concentrated its efforts as a collector and numismatist. Result of this interest, appeared in 1912 his most important work,

I Medaglioni Romani, in three volumes (the second and third with two parts each). Despite having already served a century, this work remains a source of reference and essential reference for these pieces.

Unfortunately, although it is in the public domain for decades, it is not available online in full as its only two parts have been digitized at the site including Francesco died in 1919 and he continued to buy collectible coins ( his last days coming to gather some 20,000 pieces in total of all periods of Roman history, but especially rich in medallions. One of his most notable was the magnificent ‘Senigallia Medallion’ which was discovered in 1894 and bought by Gnecchi. Fortunately, the unique value of the collection was recognized and the Italian state purchased it to their heirs in 1923.

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