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Feb 25, 2017
Byzantine Coins

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Byzantine Lead Bulla Seal, Sergios Mesopotamites, Late 11th - Early 12th Century

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The first part of the legend reads 'Graphas sphragizo kai logous' - 'I seal the writings and words of...' (S abbreviates KAI and the OU's are ligate). The last lines read the well-known family name 'Mesopotamites', with eta for iota. The personal name is most likely Sergios, with the C missing from either logous or Sergios.

The Mesopotamitai were a prominent Byzantine family in the late 12th and early 13th century. They originated either from Mesopotamos (in modern Albania) or some place called Mesopotamia. Sergios was likely related to Constantine Mesopotamite, the de facto chief minister under emperors Isaac II Angelos and Alexius III Angelos (1193 - summer 1197) and the archbishop of Thessalonica (c. 1197 - 1227, but in exile 1204 - 1224, when the city was occupied by Latin Crusaders).
AS63897. Lead bulla (tag seal), unpublished in references examined by Forum; DOCBS -, Zacos BLS -, Zacos -, Jordanov -, gVF, high relief, attractive patina, weight 4.861 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 0o, obverse nimbate facing bust of the Virgin Orans, MP - OV across fields; reverse ΓPA(phas) / CΦPAΓI(zo) / S ΛOΓOU(c) CE[R]/ΓIOTOU M[E]/COΠOTA/MHTOU; $240.00 (€213.60)


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D.

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This ironic reverse utterly failed to foresee Valerian's fate. In 260 A.D., after four years of great losses in battle and to plague, Valerian arranged for talks. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sasanian (Parthian) Emperor Shapur but was never seen again. The date of his death is unknown. In Rome, it was rumored that Shapur used his stuffed body as a footstool.
RS64721. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1685l (Samosata), RSC IV 189 (Antioch), RIC V 287 (Antioch), SRCV III 9967 (uncertain Syrian mint), VF, excellent reverse, obverse porous, weight 3.321 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Syrian mint, 255 - 256 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVT ORIENTIS (to the restorer of the East), turreted female (Oriens) standing right, presenting wreath to Valerian, standing left, wearing military attire, spear vertical in left hand; $40.00 SALE PRICE $36.00


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D.

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This ironic reverse utterly failed to foresee Valerian's fate. In 260 A.D., after four years of great losses in battle and to plague, Valerian arranged for talks. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sasanian (Parthian) Emperor Shapur but was never seen again. The date of his death is unknown. In Rome, it was rumored that Shapur used his stuffed body as a footstool.
RS64742. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1685l (Samosata), RSC IV 189 (Antioch), RIC V 287 (Antioch), SRCV III 9967 (uncertain Syrian mint), Choice gVF, excellent centering, good metal, weight 4.307 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 315o, uncertain Syrian mint, 255 - 256 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVT ORIENTIS (to the restorer of the East), turreted female (Oriens) standing right, presenting wreath to Valerian, standing left, wearing military attire, spear vertical in left hand; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D.

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This ironic reverse utterly failed to foresee Valerian's fate. In 260 A.D., after four years of great losses in battle and to plague, Valerian arranged for talks. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sasanian (Parthian) Emperor Shapur but was never seen again. The date of his death is unknown. In Rome, it was rumored that Shapur used his stuffed body as a footstool.

RIC assigns this issue to Antioch but MIR gives the issue to a second Eastern mint located at Samosata.
RS90000. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1700q (Samosata), RSC IV 190 (Antioch), RIC V 287 (Antioch), SRCV III 9967 (uncertain Syrian mint), VF, well centered on a tight flan, porous, weight 4.068 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Syrian mint, 255 - 256 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVT ORIENTIS (to the restorer of the East), Valerian (on right) and turreted female (the Orient) standing confronted, female presenting wreath, Valerian holding spear vertical in left, wreath above; $30.00 SALE PRICE $27.00


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
This ironic reverse utterly failed to foresee Valerian's fate. In 260 A.D., after four years of great losses in battle and to plague, Valerian arranged for talks. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sasanian (Parthian) Emperor Shapur but was never seen again. The date of his death is unknown. In Rome, it was rumored that Shapur used his stuffed body as a footstool.
RS90053. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1685l (Samosata), RSC IV 189 (Antioch), RIC V 287 (Antioch), SRCV III 9967 (uncertain Syrian mint), Choice VF, well centered, toned, porous, weight 3.080 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Syrian mint, 255 - 256 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVT ORIENTIS (to the restorer of the East), turreted female (Oriens) standing right, presenting wreath to Valerian, standing left, wearing military attire, spear vertical in left hand; $35.00 SALE PRICE $31.50


Crispus, Caesar, 1 March 317 - 326 A.D.

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In 323, Constantine the Great defeated invading Goths and Sarmatians north of the Danube in Dacia, and claimed the title Sarmaticus Maximus.
RL84249. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII London 229 (S), SRCV IV 16727A, Cohen VII 12, gVF, some silvering, reverse slightly off center, pitting, weight 3.384 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Londinium (London, England) mint, 321 - 322 A.D.; obverse CRISPVS NOBIL C, helmeted and cuirassed bust right; reverse BEATA TRANQVILLITAS (blessed tranquility), globe on altar inscribed VOT/IS / XX in three lines, three stars above, PLON in exergue; scarce; $55.00 SALE PRICE $49.50


Crispus, Caesar, 1 March 317 - 326 A.D.

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On 3 July 324, at Adrianople, Constantine defeated Licinius forcing him to retreat to Byzantium. Crispus destroyed Licinius' fleet at the Battle of Hellespont in the Dardanelles, allowing his father to cross over the Bosporus and besiege Licinius. On 18 September, Constantine I decisively defeated Licinius at the Battle of Chrysopolis and became sole emperor.
RL84255. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII London 295, LRBC I 4, SRCV IV 16791, Cohen VII 124, VF, well centered on a tight flan, traces of silvering, weight 3.262 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Londinium (London, England) mint, 324 - 325 A.D.; obverse FL IVL CRISPVS NOB CAES, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PROVIDENTIAE CAESS (to the foresight of the two princes), campgate with two turrets, star above, pellet in doorway, PLON in exergue; $95.00 SALE PRICE $85.50


Crispus, Caesar, 1 March 317 - 326 A.D.

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RIC VII Lyons 223, with a laureate, draped and cuirassed bust, and a •PLGC• mintmark notes a transitional variant with dots appearing at the ends of wreath ties similar to our coin. It also notes a variant with a laureate head right in Paris (no. 15630) but then says it is wrongly described. It seems the dots are, most likely, only the ends of the wreath ties and not part of the mintmark.
RL84262. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Lyons 215, Bastien Lyon 182, SRCV IV 16762, Cohen VII 44, EF, well centered, nice portrait, some silvering, flan crack, weight 3.125 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 323 - 324 A.D.; obverse IVL CRISPVS NOB CAES, laureate head right; reverse CAESARVM NOSTRORVM (our prince), VOT / X in two lines within wreath tied at the bottom and closed at the top with a jewel, PLGC in exergue, dots at the end of wreath ties flanking mintmark; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00


Crispus, Caesar, 1 March 317 - 326 A.D.

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Crispus established his residence in Augusta Treverorum (modern Trier), the capital of Germania.
RL84268. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 347, SRCV IV 16730, Cohen VII 21, Choice gVF, light marks, areas of slight porosity, weight 3.314 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 322 A.D.; obverse IVL CRISPVS NOB CAES, laureate and cuirassed bust left, spear in right hand, shield on left arm; reverse BEATA TRANQVILLITAS (blessed tranquility), altar inscribed VOT/IS / XX in three lines, surmounted by globe, three stars above, PTR• in exergue; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00


Crispus, Caesar, 1 March 317 - 326 A.D.

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VOT X abbreviates Votis Decennalibus, which means Crispus has completed vows (prayers and sacrifices) for ten years of rule. In a religious context, votum, plural vota, is a vow or promise made to a deity. The word comes from the past participle of voveo, vovere; as the result of the verbal action, a vow, or promise. It may refer also to the fulfillment of this vow, that is, the thing promised. The votum is thus an aspect of the contractual nature of Roman religion and sacrifice, a bargaining expressed by "do ut des" (I give that you might give).
RL84278. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 431, SRCV IV 16760, Cohen VII 44, Choice aEF, well centered, traces of silvering, die damage (at eyebrow), light marks, areas of slight porosity, weight 3.545 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 323 - 324 A.D.; obverse IVL CRISPVS NOB C, laureate head right; reverse CAESARVM NOSTRORVM (our prince), VOT / X in two lines within wreath, wreath tied at the bottom and closed at the top with a jewel, PTR in exergue; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00




  







Catalog current as of Sunday, February 26, 2017.
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