Cardinal Ippolito d'Este

Abraham Kneeling Before Three Angels

Bronze, 46.0 mm Ø, 32.2 g
By Gianfederico Bonzagni, c. 1547/1572.
Obverse:  Bust of Ippolito d'Este facing left with beard and wearing hooded cassock. Around, HIPPOLYTVS · ESTEN · S · R · E · PRESB · CARD · FERRAR · (Ippolito d'Este, Priest of the Holy Roman Church, Cardinal of Ferrara). Under the bust, · FED · PARM · (Federico the Parmense).
Reverse:  Abraham kneeling before three draped men. Behind Abraham are a building a tree. Above and around, · NE TRANSEAS · SERVVM · TVVM · (Pass Not Away From Thy Servant).

Ippolito d'Este (1509-1572) was the second son of Alfonso I d'Este, duke of Ferrara, and Lucrezia Borgia. He was created cardinal by Pope Paul III in 1538 by and was appointed papal legate in France in 1561. A cultivated and wealthy man, Ippolito was a patron of the arts and of medalists, with six different medals of him known.

The reverse scene and legend are taken from Genesis 18:2-4 (And when he had lifted up his eyes, there appeared to him three men standing near him: and as soon as he saw them he ran to meet them from the door of his tent, and adored down to the ground. And he said: Lord, if I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away from thy servant: But I will fetch a little water, and wash ye your feet, and rest ye under the tree.). The three are later revealed to be angels, and Abraham's aged wife Sarah is told that she will bear a son.


ArtCoins Roma 7, 20-21 May 2013, lot 1642.

Numismatica Ars Classica 53, 7 November 2009, lot 581.


Johnson and Martini 1988, no. 907

Johnson 1990, no. 44

Börner 1997, no. 492

Toderi and Vannel 2000, no. 2189

Attwood 2003, no. 962

cf. Pollard 2007, no. 429