The Silver Duet

The Silver Duet

Florence (Italy) — Last quarter of the 15th century

Finest silver and medieval book illumination: The unique duet consisting of a collector coin made of 999.9 fine silver and ten miniature pages of a splendid Renaissance codex

  1. The limited collector coin in 999.9-fine silver is dedicated to the "Song of the Germans"

  2. The miniature pages under passepartout are taken from a splendid manuscript belonging to Lorenzo de' Medici

  3. The set consisting of silver coin and miniature collection is limited to 999 copies worldwide

The Silver Duet

  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
The Silver Duet

The finest silver and medieval book illumination – this combination was extremely attractive even in medieval and Renaissance times. In the 15th century, none other than Lorenzo de' Medici, known as "the Magnificent", had an impressive codex made for himself that combined the filigree art of book illumination with knowledge of arithmetic and trade. The possession and trade of silver has always been considered a sign of special prosperity and was highly valued not only by the Medici. Even today, the precious metal silver occupies a special position and is similarly coveted as the book illumination of the Middle Ages.

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Codicology

Alternative Titles
Das silberne Duett
Size / Format
10 pages / 17.0 × 12.0 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
Last quarter of the 15th century
Language
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Lorenzo's son Giovanni (Pope Leo X)

Available facsimile editions:
The Silver Duet
ArtCodex – Modena, 2021
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Detail Picture

The Silver Duet

Wool and Cloth

Although famous above all for its early banking industry, Florence's wealth was actually based primarily on its textile industry. Florentine fabrics were highly sought after and were among the finest produced in late medieval Europe. The raw material, wool, came from the green pastures of the British Isles to the weavers of Florence via Dutch trading centers. In the bas-de-page miniature, the two merchants advertise their high-quality products: soft wool and the finest cloth.

Das silberne Duett
Single Page

The Silver Duet

Gaining Wealth through Games of Chance

Here we see two young noblemen dressed in expensive, red-dyed clothes playing dice in a loggia bearing the coat of arms of the Dell'Antella family in one of the pendentives. It has wonderfully vaulted ceilings and columns, to which one of them has tied up their horse who waits patiently outside. In this game, one player rolls the dice while the other guesses the outcome.

Archaeologists have found dice that predate recorded history, and the Roman legionaries were infamously fond of the game even though it was illegal. In the Late Middle Ages, gambling was a beloved pastime of the upper classes that, like astrology, was officially banned by the Catholic Church. Then, just as today, great sums could be won – and lost – by playing games of chance.

Das silberne Duett
Facsimile Editions

#1 Das silberne Duett

ArtCodex – Modena, 2021
Regular price (used)4,499 
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