102126 | ITALY. Pope Pius IX/Renovation of the Galleria Piana silver Medal.
102126 | ITALY. Pope Pius IX/Renovation of the Galleria Piana silver Medal. Issued 1868/Year XXIII (44mm, 35.18 g, 12h). By G. Bianchi.
PIVS IX PONT MAX AN XXIII, bust left, wearing zucchetto, mantum, and pallium / Interior view of the Galleria Piana in the Vatican Palace, from a vantage point just left of center; in two lines in exergue, PORTICVS DOM PONT / IN VAT EXCVLTA. Edge: Plain.
Bartolotti E 868; Rinaldi 62. Choice Mint State. Extremely brilliant and argent, with an enticing prooflike nature. Compare to a similar example that realized a total of $900 in Heritage's January 2019 NYINC sale (and for which its current owner wants over $1,300).
An excellent architectural type, this specimen rivals the famous works of the brothers Wiener, with its intricate interior view within the Vatican Palace. Architecture in general plays a heavy role in the medallic art of Pius IX, given the number of restorations done to religious edifices during his rather lengthy reign. He presided over the longest verified papal reign in history, serving as pope from 1846 to 1878, and also saw the loss of papal dominion over the states (parts of central mainland Italy) to which it laid claim for centuries. Following Italian unification under the King of Sardegna (Sardinia), Vittorio Emanuele II, the peninsula began to coalesce under a single regnum, leaving the rule of Pius in question. When Rome fell, then taking a new role as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, Pius became trapped, literally and figuratively, and considered himself a prisoner in the Vatican—a standoff between the papacy and the kingdom that would last for nearly 60 years. In 1929, brokered by then-Pope Pius XI and leader of the Fascist Party, Benito Mussolini, the Lateran Treaty ended the longstanding feud between the two factions over the sovereignty of the papacy within the kingdom. The treaty gave the Vatican City to the papacy—a separate city-state headed by the pope within the city of Rome itself—as well as compensation to the papacy by the Italian government for the loss of the territory within the papal states.
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