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

Rare Byzantine Coins

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; $510.00 (€433.50)
 


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 It is otherwise unpublished and this is the second known specimen.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; $480.00 (€408.00)
 


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, 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 (€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, 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, 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 (€51.00)
 


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 (€42.50)
 


Byzantine Empire, Leo V the Armenian and Constantine, 25 December 813 - 25 December 820 A.D.

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In 815, Leo concluded a 30-year peace treaty with Khan Omurtag of Bulgaria. The treaty was honored by both sides and renewed after the accession of Michael II in 820. In 821, Thomas the Slav rebelled and laid siege to Constantinople to seize the Imperial throne. Omurtag sent an army to help Michael II put down the rebellion. Byzantine accounts report that Thomas' army was routed at the Battle of Kedouktos (winter 822 or spring 823), however, modern scholars consider the battle a victory, albeit costly, for the rebel.
BZ67004. Bronze follis, Anastasi 493; DOC III, part 1, 18; Wroth BMC 35; Morrisson BnF 30/Sy/AE/10; Ratto 1808; SBCV 1637; Sommer 29.9; Tolstoi -, VF, weight 2.387 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 815 - 817 A.D.; obverse Λ-EOh, facing bust of Leo with short beard, wearing crown and loros, Λ right; reverse COhST, facing bust of Constantine, beardless, wearing crown and chlamys, globus cruciger in right, K left, cross right; scarce; $45.00 (€38.25)
 


Byzantine Empire, Focas, 23 November 602 - 5 October 610 A.D.

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In 603, the senate acclaimed the statues of emperor Phocas and empress Leontia. This trivial event was the last ever mention of the Roman Senate in the Gregorian Register. The institution must have vanished by 630 when the Curia was transformed into a church by Pope Honorius I. The Senate at Constantinople continued to exist in the Eastern Roman Empire's capital until at least the mid-14th century when the ancient institution finally vanished from history.
BZ77960. Bronze half follis, DOC II, part 1, 36a (also with obv. leg. d N N...); Tolstoi 149 (same); cf. Hahn MIB 65; SBCV 643; Sommer 9.28; Morrisson BnF -; Ratto -; Wroth BMC -, aVF, overstruck, crude, ragged flan, some corrosion, weight 2.983 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 229o, 1st officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 603 - 610 A.D.; obverse d N N FOCA PER AVC (or similar), crowned bust facing, bearded, wearing consular robes, mappa in right hand, cross in left hand; reverse large XX (20 nummi), cross above, CONA in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; rare legend variety; $40.00 (€34.00)
 







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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Tuesday, January 16, 2018.
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Byzantine Rarities