Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis of XII–XIV Century Italian Gold Coins


Affiliations
1 Civic Museum of Montopoli Val d’Arno, Via Guicciardini 55, 56020 Montopoli V/A, Italy
2 Institute of Physics, Federal University Fluminense, Avenida Gal. Milton Tavares de Souza, s/n" Campus da Praia Vermelha, 24210-346 Niteroi, Ri, Brazil
3 Institute for Technologies Applied to Cultural Heritage, Area della Ricerca Roma 1, Montelibretti, Via Salaria Km. 29.300, CP 10, Monterotondo Street, 00016 Rome, Italy
4 National Institute of Nuclear Physics, National Laboratories of Frascati (INFN-LNF), Via Enrico Fermi 40, Frascati, 00044 Rome, Italy
5 Art-Test s.a.s, Via del Martello 14, 56121 Pisa, Italy
6 Institute of Chemistry of Organometallic Compounds, CNR, Area della Ricerca del CNR di Pisa, Via Galvani 1, 56126 Pisa, Italy
7 Department of Earth Sciences, University of Pisa, Via Santa Maria 53, 56126 Pisa, Italy
 

An extensive analytical study has been performed on a large number of gold coins (Norman-Swabian Augustale and Tarı, Grosso of Lucca , Florin of Florence) minted in Italy from the end of XII century to XIV century.The X-ray fluorescence (XRF) technique was used for verifying the composition of the coins. XRF is a nondestructive technique particularly suited for in situ quantitative analysis of gold and minor elements in the precious alloy.The Florins turned out to have a gold content very close to 24 carats (pure gold) although in a couple of cases we observed relatively high concentrations of iron (around 2%) or lead (around 1%).The Grosso of Lucca has a similar composition, with a measured gold content around 97% due to a higher silver percentage (about 2%), with respect to the average Florin. The Augustale analyzed showed, on average, a gold content around 89%. The average gold content of the Tar`ı analysed is around 72%, with a relatively large variability.The analysis revealed the use of native gold for the coinage of the Florins, excluding the possibility of recycling gold coming from other sources. On the other hand, the variability observed in the compositions of the Tarı and Augustale could suggest the reuse of Islamic and North African gold. The study could shed some light on the sudden diffusion of gold coins in Italy around the first half of XIII century, allowing hypotheses on the provenience of the gold used for a coinage that dominated the economic trades from then on.
User
Notifications
Font Size

Abstract Views: 59

PDF Views: 1




  • X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis of XII–XIV Century Italian Gold Coins

Abstract Views: 59  |  PDF Views: 1

Authors

Monica Baldassarri
Civic Museum of Montopoli Val d’Arno, Via Guicciardini 55, 56020 Montopoli V/A, Italy
Gildo de Holanda Cavalcanti
Institute of Physics, Federal University Fluminense, Avenida Gal. Milton Tavares de Souza, s/n" Campus da Praia Vermelha, 24210-346 Niteroi, Ri, Brazil
Marco Ferretti
Institute for Technologies Applied to Cultural Heritage, Area della Ricerca Roma 1, Montelibretti, Via Salaria Km. 29.300, CP 10, Monterotondo Street, 00016 Rome, Italy
Astrik Gorghinian
National Institute of Nuclear Physics, National Laboratories of Frascati (INFN-LNF), Via Enrico Fermi 40, Frascati, 00044 Rome, Italy
Emanuela Grifoni
Art-Test s.a.s, Via del Martello 14, 56121 Pisa, Italy
Stefano Legnaioli
Institute of Chemistry of Organometallic Compounds, CNR, Area della Ricerca del CNR di Pisa, Via Galvani 1, 56126 Pisa, Italy
Giulia Lorenzetti
Institute of Chemistry of Organometallic Compounds, CNR, Area della Ricerca del CNR di Pisa, Via Galvani 1, 56126 Pisa, Italy
Stefano Pagnotta
Institute of Chemistry of Organometallic Compounds, CNR, Area della Ricerca del CNR di Pisa, Via Galvani 1, 56126 Pisa, Italy
Luciano Marras
Art-Test s.a.s, Via del Martello 14, 56121 Pisa, Italy
Eleonora Violano
Institute of Chemistry of Organometallic Compounds, CNR, Area della Ricerca del CNR di Pisa, Via Galvani 1, 56126 Pisa, Italy
Marco Lezzerini
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Pisa, Via Santa Maria 53, 56126 Pisa, Italy
Vincenzo Palleschi
Institute of Chemistry of Organometallic Compounds, CNR, Area della Ricerca del CNR di Pisa, Via Galvani 1, 56126 Pisa, Italy

Abstract


An extensive analytical study has been performed on a large number of gold coins (Norman-Swabian Augustale and Tarı, Grosso of Lucca , Florin of Florence) minted in Italy from the end of XII century to XIV century.The X-ray fluorescence (XRF) technique was used for verifying the composition of the coins. XRF is a nondestructive technique particularly suited for in situ quantitative analysis of gold and minor elements in the precious alloy.The Florins turned out to have a gold content very close to 24 carats (pure gold) although in a couple of cases we observed relatively high concentrations of iron (around 2%) or lead (around 1%).The Grosso of Lucca has a similar composition, with a measured gold content around 97% due to a higher silver percentage (about 2%), with respect to the average Florin. The Augustale analyzed showed, on average, a gold content around 89%. The average gold content of the Tar`ı analysed is around 72%, with a relatively large variability.The analysis revealed the use of native gold for the coinage of the Florins, excluding the possibility of recycling gold coming from other sources. On the other hand, the variability observed in the compositions of the Tarı and Augustale could suggest the reuse of Islamic and North African gold. The study could shed some light on the sudden diffusion of gold coins in Italy around the first half of XIII century, allowing hypotheses on the provenience of the gold used for a coinage that dominated the economic trades from then on.