Sede Vacante, 1769

Muntoni 1; Berman 2924, PCGS graded MS-62

Rome. SEDE VA-CANTE, canopy and crossed keys over shield; radiant dove above. Reverse: VENI SANCTE SPI-RITVS 1769, the Church seated facing on cloud, holding keys and temple.

The sudden death of Pope Clement XIII caused the Throne of St. Peter to fall vacant from February 15 to May 19, 1769, as the College of Cardinals met in conclave to elect his successor. The politics of the conclave were heavily colored by the strong pressures that had been placed on Pope Clement XIII by the House of Bourbon and the Kingdom of Portugal to repress the Jesuit order. He had died the day before a consistory was to convene to deal with the Jesuit question, and Papal possessions in Avignon, Benevento, and Pontecorvo had been seized in order to compel a decision favorable to the kings. Further pressure was placed on the conclave by an incognito visit by the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, who freely debated with the cardinals and expressed his desire for a pope who would respect the decisions of secular rulers. To satisfy the demands of the secular powers, the conclave elected Lorenzo Ganganelli as Pope Clement XIV after he promised to repress the Jesuits.