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1863, Kingdom of Spain, Isabel II. Large Silver 20 Reales Coin. (VF-) Key-Date!

Mint Year: 1863 Reference: KM-609.2. ($140 in Fine!) Denomination: 20 Reales (1st decimal coinage)  Condition: Scratches, deposits, otherwise VF- Mint Place: Madrid (privy mark: six-pointed stars) Material: Silver (.900) Weight: 25.54gm Diameter: 37mm

Obverse: Draped laureate bust of Isabel II of Spain left. Legend: ISABEL 2a. OR LA G. DE DIOSY LA CONST . 1863 .

Reverse: Crowned oval coat-of-arms with spanish shield and Order of the Golden Fleece above palm-sprays in saltire. Value (20 REALES), flanked by privy marks below. Legend: REINA DE LAS ESPANAS * 20 REALES *

Isabella II (Spanish: Isabel II; 10 October 1830 – 10 April 1904) was Queen regnant of Spain ("Queen of the Spains" officially from 13 August 1836, Isabella II the  "Queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon,...") She was Spain's first and so far  only queen regnant, although she is sometimes considered the third  Queen Regnant of Spain, as previous monarchs of Leon and Castile were counted as kings and queens of Spain. Counting the monarchs of Aragon as well, she is the fourth Queen regnant of Spain.

Isabella was born in Madrid in 1830, the eldest daughter of Ferdinand VII, King of Spain, and of his fourth wife and niece, Maria Cristina, who was a Neapolitan Bourbon and also a grandniece of Marie Antoinette.  Maria Cristina became regent on 29 September 1833, when her daughter  Isabella, at the age of three years, was proclaimed queen-regent on the  death of the king.

Isabella succeeded to the throne because Ferdinand VII induced the Cortes Generales to help him set aside the Salic law introduced by the Bourbons in the early 18th century, and to  re-establish the older succession law of Spain. The first pretender,  Ferdinand's brother Carlos, fought seven years, during the minority of Isabella, to dispute her title. His supporters and descendants were known as Carlists and the fight over the succession was the subject of a number of Carlist Wars in the 19th century.

Isabella's throne was only maintained through the support of the army. The Cortes and the Liberals and Progressives, who at the same time established  constitutional and parliamentary government, dissolved the religious  orders, confiscated their property (including that of Jesuits), and tried to restore order in finances. After the Carlist war the queen-regent, Maria Cristina, resigned to make way for Baldomero Espartero, Prince of Vergara, the most successful and most popular Isabelline general, who remained regent for only two years.

He was turned out in 1843 by a military and political pronunciamiento led by Generals O'Donnell and Narvaez, who formed a cabinet, presided over by Joaquin Maria Lopez, and this government induced the Cortes to declare Isabella of age at 13. Three years later the Moderado party  or Castilian Conservatives made their sixteen-year-old queen marry her  double-first cousin Francisco de Asís de Borbón (1822–1902), the same day (10 October 1846) that her younger sister, Infanta Luisa Fernanda, married Antoine d'Orléans, Duke of Montpensier.

hese marriages suited France and Louis Philippe, King of the French, who nearly quarrelled in consequence with Britain.  But the marriages were not happy; persistent rumor had it that few if  any of the Spanish Queen Regnant's children were conceived by her king-consort, remoured to be an homosexual.  For instance, the heir to the throne, who later became Alfonso XII, the  Carlist party asserted had been conceived by a captain of the guard, Enrique Puig y Moltó.

Isabella reigned from 1843 to 1868, a period of palace intrigues, back-stairs and antechamber influences, barracks conspiracies, military pronunciamientos to further the ends of the political parties — Moderados who ruled from  1846 to 1854, Progressives from 1854 to 1856, Unión Liberal from 1856  to 1863. At this time, Queen Isabella was otherwise occupied achieving  a monarchical revenge against Mexico, supporting, jointly with France, the Habsburg-Orleans Empire using the royal figures of Maximilian of Habsburg and Charlotte of Belgium, as Maximilian I and Carlota of Mexico. Moderados and Unión Liberals quickly succeeded each other and kept out the Progressives, thus sowing the seeds for the revolution of 1868.

Isabella often interfered in politics in a wayward, unscrupulous way  that made her very unpopular. She showed most favor to her reactionary  generals and statesmen and to the Church and religious orders, and was  constantly the tool of corrupt and profligate courtiers and favourites  who gave her court a bad name. She went into exile at the end of  September 1868, after her Moderado generals had made a slight show of  resistance that was crushed at the battle of Alcolea by Marshals Serrano and Prim. Other events of her reign were a war against Morocco (1859), which ended in a treaty advantageous for Spain and cession of some Moroccan territory; the fruitless Chincha Islands War against Peru and Chile; tensions with the United States; independence revolts in Cuba and Puerto Rico; and some progress in public works, especially railways, and a slight improvement in commerce and finance.

Her exile helped cause the Franco-Prussian War, as Napoleon III could not accept the possibility that a German, Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, might replace Isabella, a dynast of the Spanish Borbons and two generations removed from her French-born grandfather Philip V of Spain.

Isabella was induced to abdicate in Paris on 25 June 1870, in favour of her son, Alfonso XII,  and the cause of the restoration was furthered. She had left her  husband the previous March and continued to live in France after the  restoration in 1874. On the occasion of one of her visits to Madrid  during Alfonso XII's reign, she began to intrigue with the politicians  of the capital, and was peremptorily requested to go abroad again. She  resided in Paris for the rest of her life, seldom traveling abroad  except for a few visits to Spain. During her exile she grew closer to  her husband, with whom she maintained an ambiguous friendship until his  death in 1902. Her last days were marked by the matrimonial problems of  her youngest daughter. She died on 10 April 1904, and is entombed in El Escorial.

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