Translation of part of an article published in Spanish: “Numismática Medieval de Navarra I. Gaceta Numismática 185; Junio 2013: pp. 25-56”
According to traditional hypothesis, the Aragonese coins of Sancho Ramírez, derive from the previous emissions of the Pamplonese kingdom. If we consider the historical facts, it is more logic to propose the opposite idea, that is, the Navarrese coins were an heritage of the Aragonese ones, which were minted by the Aragonese-Pamplonese kings.
The first Navarrese emissions, began about 1134 simultaneously to the restauration of the Navarrese dinasty with the king García IV (we follow the traditional numerals for the Navarrese kings, as Garcia III of Najera; García IV, the restorer...). At that moment the controversial items with legend NAIARA (Fig. 1; Pl. Ia) (Ibáñez, 1992, 1993, 1994), were minted, as well as the ones that have the legend ARAGON (Fig. 2; Pl. Ib). Apparently, it is not logic that the name Aragon appears in a coin of García IV, but it is equally illogic that García IV was named "Rex Garsia Aragonensis" in a document of Alfonso VII (Ibáñez, 1994) dated on 4th July 1144, this document was written due to the marriage between the Navarrese king and the Emperor's illegitimate daughter. The name
one coin of García IV could be understood as an inercial effect of the first emissions,
as it also happened with the first royal diplomas of Ramiro II of Aragon, who
was called "King of Aragon and ".
This title, previously mentioned, appears in a document from 1144 and it can be
a mistake of the clerk or it could have an unknown intention. We have to bear
in mind that sometimes the documents and the coins reflect the aims (sometimes
circunstancial facts) and not the historical reality. It is significant the similarity between the
face in a coin (Pl. Ie2) and the one that appears in the problematic coin with
legend IMPERATOR/NAIARA (Ibañez, 1993). The dies in both coins must have been
opened by the same monetary master, who found inspiration in coins of Alfonso I
"the Fighter". The other types of García IV (Pl. Ic-f) are also very
unusual pieces, this fact can make us think that the emissions of Garcia IV
were local and scarce. Moret (1665) described the first type (Pl.
1d), and he reproduced a drawing sent by Lastanosa who attributed it to
García IV; Yanguas y Miranda (1840) shared this opinion, rerpoducing this
figure. On the other hand, the French authors (Poey d'Avant, 1860, Heiss, 1869,
...) dident know this monetary type, and in fact it doesn't appear in the
numismatic manuals (Álvarez Burgos et al.,
1980; Crusafont, 1992; Jusué & Ramírez, 1987, …). Pamplona
Figure 1.- Coins with legend “NAIARA”.
Figure 2.- Coin with legend “Aragon”, and a document of Alfonso VII, where García IV was named "Rex Garsia Aragonensis".
Type of Pl. 1f, (Fig. 3) shows in its reverse a big cross standing on five triangles, geometrical figure that appears between two opposite faces in the obverse of a coin of Alfonso VII of Castillia-Leon, the legend in the reverse is IMPERATOR (Fig. 4). So this way similarities among several emission of Garcia IV of Navarre and the emperor arose again (it hapens with the coins with legend NAIARA). This type was already known by Poey d'Avant (1860), Heiss (1869) and Caron (1882/84) who attibute them to Garcia IV, as many latter authors did (Mateu y Llopis, 1946, Beltrán, 1951, Amorós, 1954, Gil Farrés, 1955, 1976, Ubieto, 1956, Thomsen, 1956, Álvarez Burgos et al., 1980, Jusué & Ramirez, 1987, Ibáñez, 1990, 1993/94, Bergua et al., 1991, Crusafont, 1992).
Figure 3.- Coin with a big cross standing on five triangles.
Figure 4.- Coins of Alfonso VII of Castillia-Leon with legend in the reverse “IMPERATOR”.
A photograph of a coin type with the legend “Aragon” (Fig. 2) from the monetary of the Museum of Navarra, was published by Beltran (1951) and Lacarra (1972) and this is the picture this that appears in many latter publications (Amorós, 1954; Gil Farrés, 1955; Thomsen, 1956; Ubieto, 1956; Álvarez Burgos et al., 1980). Ibáñez et al., 1991 describes the type of Pl. Ie (Fig. 5) and several variants, classified in detail later works (Ibáñez, 1993, 1994).
Figure 5.- Coin of Garcia IV of Navarre.
Navarrese coins of García IV, show again the most characteristic types of the previous and prestigeous Aragonese emissions of Sancho V Ramírez, the face in the obverse and the called "cruciferous tree" in the reverse, which also appears in some rare coins of the first independent Portuguese monarch Alfonso I (1128-1185). There is a great similarity between
and Castillia, the rarity and great diversity of pieces during the first reign
(Garcia IV in
and Alfonso VII in Castillia-Leon) versus the relative abundance and
homogeneity in latter reigns. Navarre
First emissions of Sancho VI (1150-1194) are the types Pl. IIa and Pl. IIb (Figs. 6 & 7). The first one preserves the main characteristics of the Aragonese issues, but with a similar bust of his predecessor, Garcia IV (Fig. 8). This monetary kind has been attributed to several monarchs (such as Sancho IV and Sancho V) as it was previously remarked. With reference to the second piece, described by Amoros (1954), who attributed it to Sancho VI, the coin (of the Numismatic Cabinet of Catalunia) is damaged and this fact difficulted the right interpretation of the obverse legend. A recent discovery of a second piece of this type in the Museum of Navarre (Ibáñez, 1992) enabled a correct interpretation: SANCIVREX. Athough Beltran (1951) attributed this piece to Sancho VI, it has generaly been attributed to Sancho V Ramírez (Gil Farrés, 1955, 1976; Crusafont & Balaguer, 1986; Crusafont, 1991; Balaguer & Puig, 1995) and even to the Navarrese earl Sancho Sánchez, because Amoros' interpretation didn’t include the word "REX" in the obverse (Ibáñez et al., 1991). Due to the previously mentioned reasons, the items that appears the term "Navarra" must be from 1134 onwards.
Figure 6.- First emission of Sancho VI (1150-1194) with horizontal legend on the reverse.
Figure 7.- Emission of Sancho VI.
Figure 8.- Similarities between the busts of García IV (a) and the first issues of Sancho VI, with horizontal legend on the reverse (b).
After these first and scarce emissions, Sancho VI (1150-1194) minted massively a new type of deniers and obols, first with a bust with a tear shaped eye, and in the reverse six-pointed stars in both sides of the cross (Pl. IIc1 & c2, Fig. 9c1 & c2), later, a more rough face, with a rounded eye and five-pointed stars (Pl. IId1 & d2, Fig. 9d1 & d2). Athough the first issues (Fig. 6) have a silver content "cuaternal" (33.3% of silver), the following ones (Fig. 9c & d) have a lower silver amount, at about 30% (Ibáñez, 1998). As it happened at the age of Sancho V Ramírez, it occurred again during Sancho VI's reign; the boost given to the founding of new villages, which were repopulated by Franc burgoises, required the massive use of coins, important amount of this currency were minted, using an only type. The political and monetary stability, linked to the royal authority favours the existence of a only monetary type, which was under the royal control, on the other hand, many minting concessions and the proliferation of monetary types reflect a royal weakness. In such cases, the monetary types can be very rare because they are consequence of puntual and short emissions.
Figure 9.- Coins of Sancho VI of Navarre.
These coins were attributed by Poey d'Avant (1860) to Sancho VI and later by Heiss (1869) to Sancho IV. Whereas Boudeau (1913), Beltrán (1951) and Amorós (1954) stuck to the Poey d'Avant's opinion, other Hispanic authors (Vidal Quadras, 1892; Gil Farrés, 1955; Mateu y Llopis, 1955 & Ubieto, 1956) followed Heiss' (op. cit.). Recently (Crusafont & Balaguer, 1986; Crusafont, 1992; Ibáñez et al., 1991 & Ibáñez, 1993) the attribution to Sancho VI has been accepted, even in some works and general catalogues (Álvarez Burgos et al., 1980; Jusué & Ramírez, 1987) Heiss' oppinion prevails.
With regards to the coins of Sancho VII (Pl. III; Fig. 10), already drawn by Moret (1665) and Yanguas y Miranda (1840), attributed to Sancho VII, a wider agreement has been reached. Pieces with legends NAVARRE (Pl. IIIa & Fig. 10a) and NAVARRORVM (Pl. IIIb & Fig. 10b) have been attributed by Poey d'Avant (1860, Heiss (1869), Caron (1882/84), Boudeau (1913), Mateu y Llopis (1946, 1955), and the latter authors to Sancho VII. These coins keep a silver proportion around the 30% even if they are a bit smaller in size and weight, so between Sancho VI and VII's coins a loss of 9% in the real silver content by coin takes place (Ibáñez, 1998).
Figure 10.- Coins of Sancho VII of Navarre and document dated 1198, where "70,000 sueldos de sanchetes" are mentioned.
Plate I: Coins of Garcia IV of Navarre.
Plate II: Coins of Sancho VI of Navarre.
Plate III: Coins of Sancho VII of Navarre (a & b).
r1 and r2: Deniers of Raymond V & VI, Counts of Toulouse (1148-1194-1222); r3: English medieval jetton.