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25 May 2021

Coin of Famagusta 1570

Copper coin, struck in Famagusta during the siege of the city in 1570 to pay soldiers and to purchase provisions. To pass as a besant. It was issued by Marc Antonio Bragadin. Obverse: Winged lion of St. Mark seated left, supporting the gospel with front legs. Obverse legend: 'PRO REGNI CYPRI PRESSIDIO' (=on behalf of the garrison of the kingdom of Cyprus), below is the date 1570. Reverse: Above the reverse legend there is a small cubit that refers to the island as the mythological birthplace of Aphrodite. Reverse legend: 'VENETORY FIDES INVI OLABILIS BISANTE IF (=the loyalty of the Venetians is unshakable). This coin was the last coin of any sort to be struck on the island during the Venetian period and the last coin appertaining to Cyprus until the appearance of the modern coinage of Queen Victoria in 1879. Another similar coin is attributed to the mint of Nicosia but without the letter F. The Famagusta coin is exhibited in a display cabinet on the second floor of CVAR.

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