Charles VIII of France, King of Naples 1495

MIR 97/1; Pannuti-Riccio 2, PCGS-graded AU-50

Rare; dark patina accentuates the sharp details; well centered on a large flan.

Known as “the Affable,” this French aristocrat acquired the Italian peninsula in 1489 as a gift of Pope Innocent VIII and to secure the land he invaded Italy with a huge force of more than 25,000 soldiers in 1494 but faced no opposition. He reached Naples early in 1495 and again faced no Italian forces. He crowned himself King of Naples. Nearby Italian rulers were not so easily subdued. They formed the League of Venice and with Aragonese troops sent by Ferdinand II of Aragon forced Charles to surrender his power only 5 months into his reign. Unable to rebuild his army, he lived a quiet life until dying of an accident in 1498.