Niccolini 1728 by Martin Folkes

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Giuseppe Niccolini, London, 1728

Niccolini 1728 by Martin Folkes
FINA IDUnique ID of the page  16551
TitleTitel of the book. Imperatorum romanorum regum populorum et urbium numismatum aureorum quæ Florerentiae in musæo Philippi Niccolini marchionis Ponti Sacci
AuthorAuthor of the document. Giuseppe Niccolini
Printer or PublisherPrinter or Publisher of the publication. 
Publication dateDate when the publication was issued: day - month - year . 1728
InstitutionName of Institution. London, British Museum
InventoryInventory number. Department of Coins and Medals, G&R Ant NIC
PlacePlace of publication of the book, composition of the document or institution. London 51° 31' 9.44" N, 0° 7' 40.87" W
AnnotatorName of Person who annotated. Martin Folkes
Associated personsNames of Persons who are mentioned in the annotation. Philipp von Stosch, Filippo Niccolini, Antonio Cocchi
LiteratureReference to literature. Burnett 2020b, pp. 1107-101
External LinkLink to external information, e.g. Wikpedia 
KeywordNumismatic Keywords  Roman , Gift , Metrology , Coin Denominations , Weighing Coins , English , Florin
Grand documentOriginal passage from the "Grand document".

'The book has an elaborate hand-written dedication by its author to Folkes on its title page:

Martino Folkes Anglo-Britanno, R.S. Londoni V.P.
Nobilissimus Josephus Niccolini \olim/Eques Hierosolymitanus. nunc Sacri Ordinis Sancti Stephani, Florentiae, postridie Calendas Novembris 1734.

The text of the book has been annotated with a series of numbers, explained by Folkes on p. 43:

The written numbers following many of the medals express their weight, as taken by Cavalier Nicholini for his own use, in Deniers and Grains of the fflorence ounce, which I take to be the same as the Roman and equal to 438 Troy Grains.
I have since reduced them to Troy Grains for more ready use.
The numbers of the 1 margin of some of the pages are the weights of some gold medals I weighd of the Great Dukes.

Both sets of annotations are in the same (Folkes’s) hand so he must have copied out the weights taken by Niccolini from some other source, perhaps a series of tickets, or perhaps a notebook. As a result, Folkes had the weights of a total of 183 gold coins available to him (169 Roman imperial, and 15 Greek). To them he had added the weights of another 69 coins from the Medici collection, concentrating mainly on the coinage of the Severans and the third and early fourth centuries, together with coins not listed by Niccolini (Republican gold, and more Greek). The Medici collection was far richer, so it is clear that Folkes had weighed only the coins where he was specially interested, or where he was lacking information from the Niccolini collection.

There are also further notes by Folkes at the beginning and the end of the book. It is simplest to describe them in order. The pages at the beginning of the book contain:

  1. a list of ancient denominations and their ancient equivalents; the Roman and Florentine pound the same as the English; a list of Roman denominations;
  2. a metrological passage on the Roman pound from Lucas Paetus; quotations from Celsus and Fannius on values of ancient coins;
  3. notes on Roman monetary history and coins, with two references to Venetian coin history;
  4. quotations from Vitruvius, Vaillant, Plautus, and Suetonius; remarks on a Republican coin in Vaillant;
  5. a diagram of a ‘Curva Asymptot.’;
  6. Chronologia Romanorum Monetaria.

At the end of the book are more pages of annotations:

Bar. Stosch
AV. Cap Cereris. R. Equus in epigr. 116gr. = 2 x 56
AV. Cap. Hieronis in Epig. R. Currus cum Triquetra. ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΩΝ. 66
AR. Cap. Foem. cum piscibus. R.Cap. Equi cum Arbore Palmifero, et literis Punicis 264gr= 4 x 66
AR Cap ΟΡΑ...R. Victoria cum Tropaeo ΑΓΑΘΟΚΛ.... 261 gr = 4 x 66 – 3
Drs Cocchii.
D.N.MAURICI.P.P.AU. Cap. 23 gr 70/3
R. Angelus
R. Victoria VICTORIA AVGVSTORVM 23 + Phocas 22
D.N.BASILISCUS P F AU 22 + R. [drawing of cross in wreath] COMOB
3. Extensive notes of the history of the coinage of Florence, taken from several authors, with some comments
4. ‘Values of the Florin’, from 1252 to 1500.
5. Quotations from Varro and Vitruvius on the names of Roman coins; reference to Livy, Epitome on the first Roman coins
6. abbreviated list of English Kings with accession dates, from WC 1066 to G.2 [17]27; and various arithmetical calculations

The annotations in the book show that, as well as the Niccolini and Medici collections, Folkes had also consulted two other collections: [Philipp von Stosch and Antonio Cocchi].'

(Burnett 2020b, pp. 1107-9)


  1. ^  Burnett, Andrew M. (2020), The Hidden Treasures of this Happy Land. A History of Numismatics in Britain from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, BNS Special Publ. No 14 = RNS Special Publ. No 58, London, Spink & Son.