Holy Roman Empire, Duchy of Savoy, Charles I, Testone

Challenges either make one fail or learn – and that applies not only to individual people, but also to families and even states. The House of Savoy, whose roots reached back to the 11th century, produced strong personalities once and again. One of them was Duke Charles I, who ruled over Savoy from 1482 to 1490. At a very early age, the young duke already showed much energy to strengthen his realm, which in previous years had lost a lot of power over struggles with Burgundy, Milan and the Swiss – despite of the fact that Charles was still a minor when he became duke of Savoy, and died at the early age of only twenty-two. The portrait on this testone shows the young duke. Influenced by the portraiture coins of Milan and Venice, Charles had testoni struck in the duchy in 1485. This made him a real trendsetter, because in France and on the north side of the Alps, it would take another 20 years until a prince would have his portrait minted on coins.