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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Byzantine Coins ▸ Byzantine RaritiesView Options:  |  |  |   

Rare Byzantine Coins

Byzantine Empire, Revolt of the Heraclii, 608 - 5 Oct 610 A.D.

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Heraclius the Elder, possibly of Armenian origin, was a Byzantine general and the father of Byzantine emperor Heraclius. He distinguished himself in the war against the Sassanid Persians in the 580s, was a subordinate general under Philippicus during the Battle of Solachon, and possibly served under Comentiolus during the Battle of Sisarbanon. About 595, Heraclius the Elder is mentioned as a magister militum per Armeniam sent by Emperor Maurice to quell an Armenian rebellion led by Samuel Vahewuni and Atat Khorkhoruni. About 600, he was appointed as the Exarch of Africa and in 608, Heraclius the Elder rebelled with his son against the usurper Phocas. Using North Africa as a base, the younger Heraclius managed to overthrow Phocas, beginning the Heraclian dynasty, which would rule Byzantium for a century. Heraclius the Elder died soon after receiving news of his son's accession to the Byzantine throne.
BZ86356. Bronze follis, DOC II-2 16, Morrison BnF 9/Ax/AE/01, Hahn MIBEC 16a, Grierson 164, Tolstoi 279, SBCV 722, Sommer -, Ratto -, VF, rev. a little off center cutting off part of mintmark, scratches, overstruck, weight 11.035 g, maximum diameter 30.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Alexandria or Alexandretta mint, Sep - Oct 610 A.D.; obverse dm N ERACLIO CONSULII, facing busts of Heraclius and his father, both bearded, bareheaded and wearing consular robes, cross above center; reverse large M (40 nummi), cross above, ANNO left, X/IIII (year 14) on right, A (1st officina) below, AΛEZAN∆ in exergue; rare; $950.00 SALE PRICE $855.00
 


Byzantine Empire, Justin II, 15 November 565 - 5 October 578 A.D.

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Similar types were struck with a short beard, SBCV 344, and without a beard, SBCV 345. This type with a beard is believed to have have been struck only before 1 January 566 A.D. and is very scarce. Bellinger wrote in DOC I, "These bearded coins were presumably struck for the emperor’s consulship on 1 January following his accession." Justin II was normally clean shaven but this issue was struck when he was bearded in mourning for the death of Justinian I. Berk Gold (1986) lists this bearded type at $800 and Sommer (2010) lists it at €1200 in EF condition. The type without a beard is common and Berk prices it at $400 and Sommer at €550 in EF.
SH86352. Gold solidus, DOC I 2, Berk Gold 59, Hahn MIB II 4, Sommer 5.1, SBCV 344, Morrisson BnF - (p. 127, note 1), Wroth BMC -, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, EF, nearly as struck, reverse slightly off center on a broad flan, some legend weak, a few small light scratches, weight 4.489 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, 8th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, December 566 A.D.(?); obverse D N IVSTINVS P P AVG, bearded, helmeted, and cuirassed bust facing, helmet with crest, trefoil ornament and pendilia, Victory on globe offering wreath in right hand, shield ornamented with horseman in left hand; reverse VICTORIA AVGGG H (victory of the three emperors, 8th officina), Constantinopolis enthroned facing, head right, wearing crested helmet, aegis on right shoulder, spear in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, CONOB in exergue; ex MPO - Munten En Postzegel Organisatie (IJsselstein, Netherlands) auction, Nov 2013, lot 226 (misattributed as SBCV 345); very scarce; $700.00 SALE PRICE $630.00 ON RESERVE


Byzantine Empire, Revolt of the Heraclii, 608 - 5 Oct 610 A.D.

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Heraclius the Elder, possibly of Armenian origin, was a Byzantine general and the father of Byzantine emperor Heraclius. He distinguished himself in the war against the Sassanid Persians in the 580s, was a subordinate general under Philippicus during the Battle of Solachon, and possibly served under Comentiolus during the Battle of Sisarbanon. About 595, Heraclius the Elder is mentioned as a magister militum per Armeniam sent by Emperor Maurice to quell an Armenian rebellion led by Samuel Vahewuni and Atat Khorkhoruni. About 600, he was appointed as the Exarch of Africa and in 608, Heraclius the Elder rebelled with his son against the usurper Phocas. Using North Africa as a base, the younger Heraclius managed to overthrow Phocas, beginning the Heraclian dynasty, which would rule Byzantium for a century. Heraclius the Elder died soon after receiving news of his son's accession to the Byzantine throne.
BZ86357. Bronze follis, DOC II 16, Morrison BnF 9/Ax/AE/02, Hahn MIBEC 16a, Grierson 164, Tolstoi 279, SBCV 722, Sommer -, Ratto -, aF, uneven strike, a little off center, scratches, overstruck, edge cracks, weight 5.587 g, maximum diameter 29.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Alexandria or Alexandretta mint, Sep - Oct 610 A.D.; obverse dm N ERACLIO CONSULII, facing busts of Heraclius and his father, both bearded, bareheaded and wearing consular robes, cross above center; reverse Large M (40 nummi), cross above, ANNO left, X/IIII (year 14) on right, A (1st officina) below, AΛEZAN∆ in exergue; rare; $500.00 SALE PRICE $450.00
 


Byzantine Empire, Leontius, 695 - 698 A.D.

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This half-follis of Leontius was first identified and published by S. J. Mansfield, in "A New Coin of the Byzantine Emperor Leontius" in Numismatic Circular, Nov 1999. It is otherwise unpublished and this is the second known specimen.
BZ73337. Bronze half follis, Mansfield, S. J., A New Coin of the Byzantine Emperor Leontius in Num. Circ., Nov 1999; DOC II part 2 -; Anastasi -, SBCV -, Hahn MIB III -, et al. -, F, rough green patina, weight 2.806 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 695 - 696 A.D.; obverse half length bust facing with short beard, wearing crown with cross and loros with pelleted lozenge pattern, akakia in right, globus cruciger in left; reverse large K (40 nummi), cruciform Leontius monogram (Anastasi monogram 5) above, cross left, I (year 1) right, SCL in exergue; great rarity, 2nd known; $480.00 SALE PRICE $432.00
 


Constantine IV Pogonatus, 15 July 668 - 10 July 685 A.D.

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Constantine IV Pogonatus should be credited with saving Europe from Muslim conquest. Beginning in 674, the great siege of Constantinople, by the caliph Muawiyah I, lasted four years. The newly invented famous "Greek Fire" made the city impregnable and the Arabs were forced to retreat. In 681 he deposed his two brothers. He was succeeded by his 16-year-old son Justinian II.
BZ84239. Bronze half follis, Anastasi 245, DOC II 67, Spahr 186, Hahn MIB III 112, SBCV 1214, Berk -, VF, green patina, rough, weight 2.566 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 679 - 681 A.D.; obverse helmeted and cuirassed bust facing slightly right, holding spear over shoulder; reverse large K, cross above, +AN-NO ∆ (year 4) flanking left and right; very rare; $360.00 SALE PRICE $324.00
 


Byzantine Empire, Constantine X Ducas, 25 December 1059 - 21 May 1067 A.D.

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Constantine X seems to have been a weak, ineffective leader. His wife, Eudocia, had great power within the empire, and was thought by some to be "the power behind the throne." Upon the death of Constantine X, his eldest son, Michael VII was still a child, so Eudocia took over as regent.
BZ86363. Silver 2/3 miliaresion, DOC III-2 6a, Morrisson BnF , Wroth BMC 9, Ratto 2013, Sommer 52.5.1, SBCV 1851, Grierson 962 var. (sigla), VF, dark toning, holed (3), chipped, broken and repaired (typical for this rare issue), weight 1.317 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 25 Dec 1059 - 21 May 1067; obverse + ΘKE ROHΘ (Greek abbreviation for God-bearer), Virgin Mary standing facing, nimbate, orans, wearing tunic and maphorion, cross of five dots to left and right of head, MHP (ligature) - ΘV (Greek abbreviation for Mother of God) across field; reverse +ΘKE RO/HΘEI KWN/CTANTINW / ∆ECWOTH / TW ∆OUKA (OU ligate, God-bearer, aid Constantine Ducas the Despot) in five lines, ornaments above and below; very rare; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00
 


Byzantine Empire, Maurice Tiberius, 13 August 582 - 22 November 602 A.D.

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Maurice Tiberius achieved peace with Persia and stemmed losses in Italy and Africa, but lost much of the Balkans. When Focas, a junior officer, revolted Maurice and his son Theodosius were murdered.
BZ79566. Bronze half follis, Wroth BMC 231, DOC I 244 (not in the collection, refs. Wroth), Hahn MIB 118B, SBCV 559, Sommer 7.77, Morrisson BnF -, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, aVF, uneven strike left side of obverse weak, weight 12.083 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 180o, Carthage mint, c. 582 - 583 A.D.; obverse D N TIb mAVRIC P P AVC, helmeted and cuirassed facing bust, globus cruciger in right hand, shield on left shoulder ornamented with a horseman riding right; reverse round shield containing star, surmounted by cross; K/R-T/G (Carthage) flanking, XX between NM (20 nummi) in exergue; ex CGB; very rare; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00
 


Byzantine Empire, Justin I and Justinian I, 4 April - 1 August 527 A.D.

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During Justin's reign (518–527), Justinian was the emperor's close confidant and was probably acting as a regent long before Justin made him co-emperor on 1 April 527. Justinian was appointed consul in 521 and later commander of the army of the east. As Justin became senile near the end of his reign, Justinian became the de facto ruler. Upon Justin's death on 1 August 527, Justinian became the sole sovereign.
BZ83458. Bronze follis, DOC I 10b, Morrisson BnF 3/Cp/AE/1, Berk 112, SBCV 125, Hahn MIB I 4, Sommer 3.5, Wroth BMC 7 var. (P vice PP), Tolstoi 144 var. (same), Ratto -, F, irregular flan, large flan crack/flaw, weight 14.590 g, maximum diameter 34.4 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Constantinople mint, 4 Apr - 1 Aug 527 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTIN ET IVSTINIAN P P AVΓ, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Justin right; reverse large M (40 nummi), cross above, six-pointed star left, cross right, B (2nd officina) below, CON (Constantinope) in exergue; rare; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00
 


Byzantine Empire, Alexius I and John II, Autumn 1092 - 15 August 1118 A.D., John II Coronation Issue

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Issued for celebrations throughout the Empire to honor the coronation of John II as co-emperor in 1092. This scarce type and two rare types issued for the coronation, are traditionally identified as the earliest tetarteron. They may actually be sphragidia that were distributed only to a select group of people who participated in the celebrations, or for charitable purposes.
BZ53332. Lead tetarteron, DOC IV, part 1, 42.2 ff.; Grierson 1046 (Constantinople, half tetarteron), SBCV -, aF, weight 4.317 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain mint, c. 1092 - 1093 A.D.; obverse IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Jesus Christ), bust of Christ facing, nimbate, bearded, wearing tunic and colobium, open Gospels in left; reverse AΛCE ∆EC, bust of Alexius facing, wearing stemma, divitision, and jeweled loros, cruciform scepter in right, globus cruciger in left; ex Alex G. Malloy; scarce; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00
 


Byzantine Empire, Tiberius II Constantine, 26 September 578 - 14 August 582 A.D.

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Dumbarton Oaks notes of its single specimen of this type without the officina letter at the end of the mintmark, "This is a new denomination and it seems likely that this coin with broad flan and no officina mark, was an experiment later corrected to show the officina.
BZ77958. Bronze 3/4 follis, DOC I 15a, SBCV 431, Hahn MIB 26, Wroth BMC -, Morrisson BnF -, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, Sommer -, F, well centered, potentially active corrosion, pitting, holed, weight 12.377 g, maximum diameter 30.1 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 579 - 580 A.D.; obverse dM TIb CONS-TANT P P AVI, crowned (with cross & pendilia), draped, and cuirassed bust facing; reverse large XXX (30 nummi), cross above, CON in exergue, no officina indicated; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; very rare; $50.00 SALE PRICE $45.00
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Wednesday, February 21, 2018.
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Byzantine Rarities