Details for denomination: Soldino

During the early 15th and early 16th centuries the English economy experienced so serious a shortage of English-struck halfpennies that people began using foreign coinage to fill the gap. The coin they used was the Venetian soldino.

The Venetians were notorious traders in the late medieval period with trade networks covering the Mediterranean and Europe. The Venetian fleet of galleys set out for England during May and stayed there until late August or early September, During these summer months soldini entered the English economy through trade with Venetian merchants and quickly became widespread across England. The soldino, meaning ‘little shilling’ became nicknamed the ‘galyhalpens’, or Galley-halfpence, after the ‘Galley-men’ who imported them. While the general population was enjoying these new exotic coins, the government was grappling with two major problems. The first was that the soldino was an illegally imported coin, and the second was that it weighed slightly less than an English halfpenny but mimicked it nonetheless. Soldini therefore became a particular source of irritation for the English government. During the early 15th century port-officials were charged with confiscating any soldini they came across and were later given the powers to forcibly search the galleys. Contemporary documents show large quantities of soldini being seized at London, Dover and Southampton. By the 1420s the English government eventually persuaded the Venetian senate to forbid the export of soldini, which effectively stemmed the flow of the coins into England. This success was short lived however, as large quantities of coins were imported once more by Venetian merchants in the early 16th century.

Venetian soldini span the period c.1382-1526. The dates of these coins show that the majority entered England in two substantial incursions: the first 1400- c.1415 under Doge Michele Steno, and the second c.1501-21 under Doge Leonardo Loredan. Table 1 provides a list of the Doges in office during the main period of circulation in England and the number of coins that can be attributed to them recorded on the PAS database.

There are three main types of soldino, termed here for simplicities sake as Type 1, 2 and 3. The designs on the coins will tell you which of the three types it is and consequently which date and doges it could be. Coins of type 1 arrived in England during first incursion (c.1400-1423) and coins of type 2 and 3 came arrived in England during the second incursion (c.1501-1525).


Type 1 c. 1365-1423 – diameter circa 14mm
Doges – Contarini, Venier, Steno, Mocenigo,

Obverse description: Doge kneeling left holding banner. Often mint control marks to right (a star/letters).
Obverse inscription: [Name of Doge] D.V.X.
Reverse description: Winged and nimbate lion of St Mark facing within a circle, holding book of gospels.
Reverse inscription: S MARCVS VENETI

Tip: If the Lion has wings it dates between 1367 and 1486. If it doesn’t it is earlier than 1367.

A Soldino of Atonio Venier marked up for the inscription

Soldino of Antonio Venier (ANTO.VEN-ERIO.DVX.)


Type 2 c. 1466-74 – diameter circa 14mm
Doges – Tron, Marcello.

Obverse description: Doge kneeling left holding banner. Often mint control marks to right (a star/letters).
Obverse inscription: [Name of Doge] D.V.X.
Reverse description: Winged and nimbate lion of St Mark facing within a quadrilobe, holding book of gospels.
Reverse inscription: No legend.

A soldino of Nicolo Tron marked up for the inscription
Soldino of Nicolo Tron (NI.TRONVS.DVX.)

Type 3 c. 1486-1538 – diameter circa 12mm
Doges – Barbarigo, Lorendan, Gritti.

Obverse description: Doge, as standard bearer of Venice, kneeling left, receiving the banner of St. Mark from the patron-saint standing right.
Obverse inscription: [Name of Doge] D.V.X. S.M.V.
Reverse description: Standing figure of Christ with halo, holding a cross right. Below IC or XC (IC for Jesus and XC for Christ)
Reverse inscription: LAVS.TIBI.SOLI (Thee alone be praised).

A marked up soldino of Leonardo Loredan
Soldino of Leonardo Loredan (LE.LAVS.DVX.SMV)


Further reading
Daubney, A. 2009. ‘The Circulation and Prohibition of Venetian Soldini in Late Medieval England. British Numismatic Journal, Vol. 79.
 

Frequently found

Diameter: 12 mm
Metal: Silver

Latest examples recorded with images

We have recorded 632 examples.

Record: SUR-02AA9B
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
Description: An incomplete silver Medieval Venetia…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Record: SUR-6C9669
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
Description: A silver hammered Venetian Soldino, of Dog…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Record: SOM-05F32F
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
Description: A complete Medieval silver venetian soldin…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Record: LEIC-2962D0
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
Description: A medieval silver soldino (or 'ga…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

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Statistics for coins recorded

This will possibly highlight a lot of mistakes in data entry.

Diameter

  • Records: 659.00
  • Mean: 13.68
  • Maxima: 22.00
  • Minima: 0.30

Weight

  • Records: 697.00
  • Mean: 0.37
  • Maxima: 14.50
  • Minima: 0.10

Thickness

  • Records: 245.00
  • Mean: 0.46
  • Maxima: 7.23
  • Minima: 0.05

Quantity

  • Total: 832.00
  • Records: 828.00
  • Mean: 1.00
  • Maxima: 2.00
  • Minima: 1.00

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