Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies 1830-1859
Pagani 142; Pannuti-Riccio 12; MIR 4871, PCGS-graded MS-61
Beautifully engraved and boldly struck, very choice and quite rare.
King of the Two Sicilies from 1830 until his early death in 1859, Ferdinand built the first railway in Italy, reduced taxation and lived relatively simply. His reign was peaceful until 1837, when he violently suppressed Sicilian demonstrators who demanded a constitution, a harbinger of coming events that would finally end monarchy. Riots became increasingly violent, leading to the European revolutions of 1848, when his opponents declared him deposed. He reacted swiftly, and savagely put down the rebellion, which earned him the nickname “Re Bomba” (“King Bomb”). A soldier attempted to assassinate him in 1856, and the infection he received from the soldier’s bayonet seems to have led to his death on 22 May 1859. Two years later came the invasion of Sicily by Giuseppe Garibaldi and Italian unification in 1861, the birth of modern Italy.