Italy, Duchy of Milan, Ludovico Maria Sforza, Duke 1494-1499, Silver Testone (9.56g), struck at Milan. Obverse: Armoured Bust of Duke Ludovico facing right, cuirass penetrates the legend, head of Saint Ambrose above, “LVDOVICVS· M· SF· ANGLVS· DVX· MLI” (“Ludovico Maria Sforza, Viscount, 7th Duke of Milan”). Reverse: Crowned, square topped shield of arms of Milan, olive and palm branch extend out from the ducal crown, fire and buckets ‘impresa’ either side, head of Saint Ambrose above, “PP·ANGLE· Q3· CO· AC· IANVE· D· 7C” = Papiae Angleriae Queӡ Comes Ac Ianvae Dominus 7C” (“Count of Pavia and Angara, also Lord of Genoa”). An imposing, lovely portrait, however with a flan flaw to the left of the shield of arms and some minor graffiti on reverse. Very Fine / Good Very Fine and Scarce.
An ‘Impresa’ was a two part symbol used on coins that incorporated a ‘figure’ and a corresponding motto; in this case, the ‘tizzone ardente coi secchi’, ‘burning embers with buckets’ in Corsican, act as the figure or physical symbol, with a motto “Humentia siccis” in Latin, which means ‘moist things to dry’, likely of French origin (?).