Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


SOLDANI-BENZI, Massimiliano: Italy,  c.1681,  Bronze,  63 mm
Obv: Bust of Cardinal Azzolino DECIVS CARD AZZOLINVS
Rev: Eagle with outstretched wings grasping a serpent on a rock INVIDIAM . VIRTVTE
Signed: Unsigned
Ref: Vannel and Toderi 81/32;  Weiss BW790

Decio Azzolino (1623-1689) was born in Fermo in 1623 and was created cardinal in 1654 by Pope Innocent X. By order of Alexander VII he was assigned to improve the crumbling finances of Queen Christina of Sweden who, after abdicating the throne and having converted to Catholicism, had established herself in Rome in 1655. At her death, the Queen appointed Azzolino heir to all her property, but the cardinal died a few months after her.

The reverse of the medal alludes to the intellectual qualities and business skills of the cardinal, earning him the nickname of an eagle.