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

Rare Byzantine Coins

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

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Leontius' success as a general forced the Arab Caliph Abd al-Malik to make concessions and pay tribute to Emperor Justinian II; but when war was renewed, Leontius was defeated. Furious over the loss, Justinian imprisoned him for two years. When he was freed, Leontius and his former prison comrades organized a revolt, and he took the throne. Justinian was deposed, his nose and tongue were slit and he was exiled to a monastery. After the Arabs took Carthage, the fleet Leontius sent to retake the city failed. Rather than report defeat to the emperor, the army overthrew their admiral and named Apsimar, a Germanic sailor, as their leader. Apsimar changed his name to Tiberius, returned to Constantinople, seized the thrown, cut off Leontius' nose and ears and exiled him to a monastery. In 705, Justinian II returned to Constantinople with an army of Bulgars and Slavs. Both Leontius and Tiberius were dragged through the streets in chains and beheaded.
SH83907. Gold tremissis, DOC II 4, SBCV 1333, Hahn MIB III 5, Sommer 15.3, Ratto 1731, Berk Gold 191, Morrisson BnF - (p. 417), VF, uneven strike, tight flan, graffiti obverse right field, weight 1.330 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople mint, 695 - 698 A.D.; obverse D LEO-N PE AV, bearded facing bust, wearing loros and crown with cross, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVSY S, cross potent on base, CONOB in exergue; from the Robert Watcher Collection, ex Heritage auction 3002 (Long Beach, Sep 2008), lot 2013 (sold for $747.50 plus fees); rare; $720.00 (€612.00)
 


Byzantine Empire, Theophilus, 12 May 821 - 20 January 842 A.D.

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Most references date this type to the joint reign of Michael II and his son Theophilus II (12 May 821 - 2 Oct 829 A.D.) Anastasi identified it as Theophilus' first issue after Michael's death (2 Oct 829 - 830 A.D.).

Theophilus was an accomplished scholar and highly cultured. Although he admired Arab art and civilization, he was obliged to expend much effort defending his eastern frontier against Mutasim, the Caliph of Baghdad. He died of dysentery.
SH83908. Gold solidus, DOC III, part 1, 15a; Anastasi 515c; Wroth BMC 11; Tolstoi 13; SBCV 1646; Sommer 30.6; Morrisson BnF -; Ratto -, VF, slightly irregular tight flan, weight 3.794 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 829 - 830 A.D.; obverse MI-XAHL bA, bearded facing bust of Michael, wearing chlamys and crown with cross, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse ΘE-OFILO bA, beardless facing bust of Theophilus, wearing loros and crown with cross, cross potent in right hand; from the Robert Watcher Collection; very rare; $640.00 (€544.00)
 


Byzantine Empire, Michael II and Theophilus, 12 May 821 - 2 October 829 A.D.

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Michael II started his career as a humble soldier. Leo V's assassination while trying to impose iconoclasm probably taught Michael a lesson, as he chose to remain religiously neutral. With Bulgarian help, he defeated the usurper Thomas, who with his Arab allies even besieged Constantinople for one year. Even after the rebellion was crushed, the Arabs still occupied Crete and initiated an invasion of Sicily.
SH83906. Gold tremissis, Morrisson BnF 31/Cp/AV/2 corr. (solidi); Anastasi 511; DOC III 18 (not in collection, refs BnF); SBCV 1650; BMC -; Sommer -; Tolstoi -; Ratto -, EF, tight flan, weight 1.275 g, maximum diameter 12.8 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 821 - 829 A.D.; obverse MI-XAHL bA, bearded facing bust of Michael, wearing chlamys and crown with cross, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse ΘE-OFILO b, bearded facing bust of Theophilus, wearing chlamys and crown with cross, cross potent in right hand, cross in right field; from the Robert Watcher Collection, ex Savoca Numismatik; very rare; $570.00 (€484.50)
 


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; $540.00 (€459.00)
 


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; $400.00 (€340.00)
 


Byzantine Empire, Heraclius & Heraclius Constantine, 23 January 613 - 11 January 641 A.D.

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This coin is unusual and possibly unique because it was struck with small dies on a larger older coin, resulting in an appearance similar to countermarking. Other coins were struck in Sicily for Heraclius with countermark-like dies, but not with these types. This coin may have been struck under Constans II vice Heraclius.
SH68126. Bronze half follis, for Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine: cf. DOC II, part 1, 124; for Constans II and Constantine IV: cf. DOC II, part 2, 94, F, overstruck, obverse off-center, weight 3.329 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Syracuse (or Constantinopolis?) mint, obverse Heraclius (or Constans II?), on left, wearing military dress, long cross in right and akakia in left; Heraclius Constantine (or Constantine IV), on right (mostly off flan), wearing chlamys, globus cruciger in right; reverse large K (20 nummi), ANNO left, X[?] right, A below; unique(?); $200.00 (€170.00)
 


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; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


Byzantine Empire, Constans II and Constantine IV, 13 April 654 - 15 July 668 A.D.

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In 665 the Arabs began a new invasion of North Africa. Resupplied by sea, the Byzantine were able to hold the coast and well-fortified Carthage for decades. In the spring of 698, however, the Arabs launched an assault by sea and land, forcing the Byzantines and their allies to evacuate Carthage. The Arabs burned the city to the ground, leaving the area desolate for the next two centuries. The Arab conquest of North Africa was then nearly complete.
BZ76424. Bronze follis, DOC II part 2, 147; Sommer 12.74; Wroth BMC 302; Tolstoi 372; Ratto 1632; Morrisson BnF 53; SBCV 1055, nice F, overstruck, slightly ragged flan, weight 6.849 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 45o, Carthage mint, 662 - 667 A.D.; obverse Constans (left) with long cross in right, and Constantine (right), both crowned and stand facing, cross between, trace of legend from undertype; reverse large M flanked by Heraclius (left) and Tiberius, both stand facing in crown and chlamys, monogram above, KTς below; scarce; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


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 (€93.50)
 


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; $90.00 (€76.50)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Saturday, November 18, 2017.
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Byzantine Rarities