Trebizond was founded about 1204 A.D., probably following the Crusader takeover of Constantinople. It was surrounded by Muslim states and constantly paid tribute to them. Trebizond did not fall to the Ottomans until 1461, nearly a decade after Constantinople, but its emperor was little more than a puppet for the Sultan.
Trebizond, John IV, 1446 - 1458
In 1979 an American coin dealer bought a coin scale from a California collector who has acquired it from a dealer in Austria. In the scale the dealer found a secret drawer which contained 167 coins, of which 164 were aspers of Trebizond. The hoard was purchased, analyzed and offered for sale by Alex Malloy in 1980. This coin was not offered in his sale.
The coin comes with a copy of Alex Malloy's catalog, Medieval Coins XVII, 1980, which includes Malloy's analysis of the Austrian Scale Hoard of Late Trebizond Aspers.
Prior to distribution of this hoard, the only published specimens of this type were from the Hermitage in Leningrad and there were none in the British Museum.
ME46264. Silver asper, Austrian Scale Hoard of Late Trebizond Aspers, p. 8, class II, #143 in Malloy Medival Coins XVII, 1980; (this coin), VF, weight 0.833 g, maximum diameter 13.6 mm, die axis 315o, obverse John on horseback right, head facing; reverse Saint Eugenius on horseback right, head facing; very rare; SOLD
Empire of Trebizond, John II, 1280 - 1297 A.D.
Marco Pollo passed through Trebizond in 1295. John's government confiscated 1000 gold hyperpyra, robbing Pollo's party of a significant portion of the fortune they had spent decades abroad risking their lives to acquire. Marco omitted the episode from his account, so not to detract from his successful image. It was revealed only years later in his uncle's will.
ME47139. Silver asper, SBCV 2611, aVF, weight 2.915 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 180o, obverseA within circle over EV/GE (on left), NI/O/v (on right), St. Eugenios standing facing, long cross in right; reverse IW/OK/N and monogram (on left), N/O/v (on right), John standing facing, labarum headed scepter in left, globus cruciger in right, Manus Dei upper right; ex Harmer Rooke Numismatists Ltd., NYC, Auction 7/6/88, lot 1207; SOLD
Empire of Trebizond, Alexius IV, 1417 - c. 1447 A.D.
ME03134. Silver half asper, SBCV 2641 variation, Retowski 24, VF, weight 0.8 g, maximum diameter 13.8 mm, die axis 135o, obverse St Eugenius seated on horse walking right star below, monograms left and right; reverse Alexius IV seated on horse right, star below, monograms left and right; ex Wayne Sayles, ex Woolslayer collection; rare; SOLD
Retowski, O. Die Münzen der Komnenen von Trapezunt. (Braunschweig, 1974). Sear, D.R. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987). Sommer, A.U. Die Münzen des Byzantinischen Reiches 491-1453. Mit einem Anhang: Die Münzen des Kaiserreichs von Trapezunt. (Regenstauf, 2010).
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