Italy - Doppio Fiorino di camera n.d. (1534-1549), Gold, PAOLO III 1534–1549, MONETE PAPALI / PAPAL STATES Bust of pope Paul III left. Rev. St. Peter casting a fishing net from his ship.Berman 900; CNI 38; Fr. 62.Tied for finest known at PCGS.
Whoever was responsible for the dies for the doppio fiorino di Camera remains hotly debated. For a while, the coin was attributed to pictorial medalist Benvenutto Cellini (1500-1571), but nowadays they are ascribed to his archrival Leone Leoni (1509-1590). Leoni presumably prepared the dies of the doppio fiorino in 1537, a period in which Cellini was imprisoned for old transgressions towards pope Paul III.
Due to the splendid conservation of the doppio fiorino di Camera that is currently on offer, we can truly appreciate the most striking aspect of Leoni's work, his high relief style of portraiture, evidenced by the bust of Paul III and the likeness of St. Peter in a fishing boat. Leoni excelled in rendering a sense of movement and perspective in his subjects, taking a page out of the book of his medalist' friend Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) by skillfully experimenting with different kinds of dies and reliefs.
Arrested in 1540 for assaulting a papal jeweler, Leoni was sentenced to forced labor and never returned to the Papal mint in Rome. This abrupt interruption in Leoni's otherwise illustrious tenure is the primary reason why almost no papal coins of his own making remain.
6.77 g. PCGS MS62