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A scarce denier tournois of Charles I d'Anjou, just prior to his claim as King of Jerusalem


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Charles d'Anjou is a rather controversial figure. He is often considered as one of the main lords who used the Crusades and his personal relations to the Papacy to advance his own imperial ambitions and Jerusalem as a pretext for his often ruthless and self-serving interests. At the height of of his career in 1278, he was:

- Count of Anjou, Maine, Provence and Forcalquier

- King of Southern Italy, Naples and Sicily

- King of Durazzo in Albania

- Prince of Achaea in the Frankokratia

- King claimant of Jerusalem

- Senator of Rome

Which should showcase more than his rapacity as a Capetian feudal at a time when the conflict between Capetians and Plantagenets was at one of its highs, because by the time of the Eighth Crusade he was friends and allies with Edward Longshanks (the future Plantagenet King Edward I), brought him together with Gascogne barons and knights and an English retinue to Tunis and then to Messina to help the prince's Crusade to the Holy Land in 1271. He was also a benefactor to Frankish and Provencal lords (both friends and former foes) -- one famous example being the magnanimity shown to Barral des Baux who had revolted against him in Avignon in 1247, but whom we meet again in 1266 as grand justicier of Sicily (and the head of the Italian branch of des Baux/del Balzo family) -- as he was a bloodthirsty tyrant towards the Hohenstaufer, cold-bloodedly having Conradin of Sicily executed in 1268, after a kangaroo court trial and completely disregarding the young knight's rights and privileges.

Charles was also an apt manager and reformer. He was especially good with finances and patient enough to give his own reforms time to catch on. The Registri Angioini show a glimpse of how involved he actually was in the financial well-being of his domains, especially the newly-acquired ones, like for instance was the case with Morea in 1278.

Now for the coin:


AR19mm 1.01g billon denier tournois, ca. 300-250/1000, Tarascon or more likely Avignon(?) mint, cca. 1275-6.
+ KAR0LVS ❀ SCL' RЄX; Cross pattee
COMES ❀ PVNCIE; Chateau tournois with fleur-de-lys
Boudeau 817 (Boudeau II féodales, catalogue général illustré de monnaies provinciales),
Poey d'Avant 3944v, Roland 34 (Monnaies des comtes de Provence, XIIe-XVe siècles); Blancard Pl. III no. 4


These coins were imitations of the denier tournois minted by Louis IX of France, Charles's brother. Apart from the earlier type, this new type was minted after Charles conquered the Kingdom of Sicily and was recognized as king by the Holy See, to replace the old provencal of Tarascon, that had been losing weight and likely popular acceptance starting with the beginning of the 1260s (not to mention that it had been opposed to by Louis IX in 1263). As a result, the older provencal coinage was pushed eastward to Outremer and the Frankokratia, where it would become the prototype for the Greek denier tournois after the Treaty of Viterbo in 1267.

The legends and design are very similar to the gros tournois minted at Avignon, so very likely the denier tournois of this type was minted at the same time with the gros. The rarity of both denominations allows for a dating around 1275 or soon after, but before 1277 when Charles starts his claim as King of Jerusalem. It is also possible that the two denominations were minted at the same mint -- very likely Avignon -- but the primary sources are missing for any monetary issue for Charles after 1274 and neither is modern research very clear about this aspect.

Blancard (Essai sur les monnaies de Charles Ier, Comte de Provence p. 11) proposed a dating for this type after the death of Louis IX of France, which likely would not have had approved a series of deniers and gros tournois so similar to the French royal coinage, considering the precedent interdict of 1263.

This particular specimen comes from an old french collection with a handwritten tag, which was completed in red ink: "Villaret Mars 2012 50E" -- I got it for 40EUR and I consider it a lucky break.

Edited by seth77
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Freaking brilliant, @seth77!!!  Hats off!!!

Watch this.  Pasted from the thread I just did, mainly on the preceding generation in Provence.  ...Just watch!


Meanwhile, the only representation I have of Charles is his initial issue as Count of Anjou, from his marriage to Beatrice in 1246 to his conquest of Naples /Sicily in 1266.  …During the same interval, he did issue deniers of Provence (Duplessy, Féodales 1616-24), but I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention.


County of Anjou.  Charles I.  Denier, issued prior to his acquisition of the Kingdom of Naples /Sicily, 1246-1266.  Riffing off of earlier Angevin issues, effectively immobilized in the 12th century.

Obv. Cross, fleur de lis (in place of an Alpha) in lower left angle; omega in lower right.  (From 6 o’clock:) +CAROLVS.COMES.

Rev. Altered ‘FVLCO’ monogram.  (From 3 o’clock:) +ANDEGAVENSIS.

Duplessy, Féodales 380.

Edited by JeandAcre
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Now for Charles’ inveterate foes: Michael and Andronikos Palaeologus!

Entire books have been written on this legendary conflict! The story of Michael’s reign is almost the story of exclusive conflict with Charles. Neglecting the turks, Papal appeasement, balkan proxy wars…you name the late 13th century Byzantine event and Charles is behind it somehow. Thankfully Michael pulled off a true piece of Realpolitik with the Sicilian Vespers and that was the end of serious Anjou involvement with Byzantium 


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  • 3 months later...
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County of Provence , Charles I of Anjou 1246-1285 . BI  denier tournois

+ K: CO: P FI. RE. F.   Cross pattee

+ PVINCIALIS   Chateau tournois with fleur-de-lys

1.1 g. 

Roberts 5206  ; Poey d'Avant 1189

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