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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Byzantine Coins| ▸ |Byzantine Mints| ▸ |Thessalonica||View Options:  |  |  |   

Byzantine Thessalonica, Greece

When Anastasius became emperor the once vast number of Roman mints had been reduced to only two: Constantinople and Thessalonica. Thessalonica did not strike Byzantine copper coinage until the reign of Justin I. The mint closed about 630 but opened again under Alexius I (1081 - 1118) and operated until the 14th century for various despotates, kingdoms and empires that took the city as their capital. In 1423, Despot Andronicus, ceded Thessalonic to the Republic of Venice to protect it from the Ottomans who were besieging the city. The Venetians held Thessaloniki until it was captured by the Ottoman Sultan Murad II on 29 March 1430.

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

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Hahn and Berk attribute this style variation to Thessalonica. Other reference fail to distinguish the type from similar Constantinople issues. Hahn identifies the Greek number following the reverse legend as the regnal year.
SH86280. Gold solidus, MIBEC p. 181 and pl. 31, N3; Berk Gold 109; other references do not distinguish this type from Constantinople issues, Choice EF, well centered and struck, graffiti on reverse, weight 4.362 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica(?) mint, c. 607 A.D.(?); obverse o N FOCAS PERP AVC, bust facing, bearded, wearing cuirass, paludamentum, and crown with cross on circlet and without pendilia, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVCC E (victory of the two emperors, 5th officina? or regnal year 5?), angel standing facing, staurogram staff in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, CONOB in exergue; graffiti reading ƆMΘ (retrograde, Greek additive number 249?) or less likely ΘEC (Thessalonica?); ex Numismatik Naumann auction 58, lot 626; very rare; SOLD

Byzantine Empire, Alexius I Comnenus, 4 April 1081 - 15 August 1118 A.D.

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In the Dumbarton Oaks catalog, Michael Hendy identifies this as a transitional coinage. David Sear lists it as extremely rare.
SH76239. Electrum histamenon nomisma, DOC IIII 4; Wroth BMC 14 (Alexius III); Hendy pl. 1, 9; SBCV 1904; Sommer 59.7; Morrisson BnF -; Ratto -, aEF, well centered, nice portrait of Christ, hairline crack, some strike slip, weight 4.313 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 1081 - 1082 A.D.; obverse + KE RΘ AΛEZ (or similar), bust of Christ Pantokrator facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, holding books of Gospel, Greeks IC - XC across field; reverse St. Demetrius, on left, standing right, nimbate, holding parazonium and presenting labarum to Alexius, standing facing, wearing loros and crown with cross and pendilia, ∆I/MI/TI in three lines on left, ∆/EC/Π/T/H in five lines on left; ex Rudnik Numismatics; very rare; SOLD

Byzantine Empire, Nicephorus Basilacius, Usurper, Summer 1078 A.D. (Anonymous Class N Follis)

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Until 1976 this type was regarded as anonymous (Class N) because neither of the two known specimens had a visible legend. In 1976, Grierson published a new specimen with a legend naming the ruler, Nicephorus (Grierson, P. "Nicephorus Bryennius or Nicephorus Basilacius?" in NumCirc LXXXIV.1 (January 1976), type a). There were two candidates, Nicephorus Bryennius and Nicephorus Basilacius, both usurpers, Bryennius in 1077 - 1078, and Basilacius in Thessalonica for a few months during 1078. In 1992, Roger Bland published an example with the legend on the obverse right side reading POCBAC, which has been accepted as proving this type was struck by Basilacius (Bland, R. "A Follis of Nicephorus Basilacius?" NC 1992, p. 175 ff. and pl. 36, B). Our coin has a different more complete but blundered and obscure inscription on the obverse right side.
SH76553. Bronze follis, DOC III part 2, p. 706, N.1 (anonymous class N follis); Grierson 1976, type a; Bland Basilacius pl. 36, B; SBCV 1903A; Sommer 58.1, VF, uneven strike as always for the type, overstruck (some of the type are overstruck on class D and E anonymous folles), weight 5.047 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, summer 1078 A.D.; obverse [+NIKHΦW-PO]C BACI(ΛK?)E (a new legend variation!), facing bust of Christ, nimbus cross with plain arms, wearing tunic and himation, right hand raised in blessing, Gospels in left, IC-XC flanking across field; reverse patriarchal cross on base; IC-XC / NI-KA (Jesus Christ conquers) in the quarters; extremely rare; SOLD

Byzantine Empire, John V Palaeologus, 15 June 1341 - 16 February 1391 A.D.

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John V was made emperor three days short of his ninth birthday. Anna of Savoy was appointed regent for her son. After Anna was defeated in a civil war, John V was made junior emperor to his former advisor John VI Kantakouzenos and he married John VI's daughter. John VI ignored his young colleague and in time even replaced him with his own son Matthew. John V Palaeologus obtained Genoese help, overthrew his rivals, took sole rule and banished John Kantakouzenos to a monastery. John V converted to Catholicism in an attempt to obtain aid from the West against the Turks, but even this failed. Without allies, the Byzantine state was forced to become a vassal of the Ottoman Empire, permitted to exist only by the grace of the mighty Sultan.
BZ84652. Bronze stamenon, Lianta 887; Bendall PCPC 317; B-D LPC p. 238, 8 (Andronicus III); SBCV 2525 (assarion); DOC V -; Sommer -; Grierson -, aVF, full flan, edge cracks, excellent for the type, weight 0.956 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 1365 - 1369 A.D.; obverse Saint Demetrius standing facing, nimbate, wearing tunic, breastplate, and sagion, inverted spear vertical in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield at side, flanked on each side by a long cross with three bars, anepigraphic; reverse emperor standing facing, wearing crown with pendilia, stemma, divitision, collar-piece and loros, staff topped with a cross in circle in right hand, Manus Dei (the hand of God) above left, model of city (wall with gate and towers) in left hand, star with eight rays lower right; very rare; SOLD

Byzantine Empire, Manuel I Comnenus, 8 April 1143 - 24 September 1180 A.D.

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Saint George (d. April 23, 303) was a Roman soldier from Anatolia, who was venerated as a Christian martyr. Immortalized in the tale of George and the Dragon, he is the |patron| saint of England, Greece, Portugal, Russia, and many other countries, cities and organizations. --
SH56037. Bronze half tetarteron, Morrisson BnF 61/Th/AE/09; DOC IV-1 18 var. (legend arrangement); CLBC I 4.4.5; Grierson 1101; SBCV 1975; Sommer 61.19, Choice gVF, weight 6.603 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 1152 - c. 1160 A.D.; obverse Θ / Γ/ε−ωP/ΓI/Oς (WR ligate), nimbate bust of St. George facing, beardless, wearing tunic, cuirass, and sagion, spear in right hand, shield on left arm; reverse MANYH−Λ ∆εC, Manuel, bust facing, wearing crown and loros, labarum headed scepter in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand; oversized flan (normally 4.0 - 4.5 grams), fantastic for the type; SOLD

Byzantine Empire, Andronicus II Palaeologus, 1282 - 24 May 1328 A.D.

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BZ80376. Billon tornese, DOC V 551 - 557; Grierson 1313; B-D LPC p. 36, 4; Bendall PCPC 94A; Sommer 79.2; SBCV 2327, gF, weight 0.647 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, sole reign, 1282 - 1295; obverse Andronicus standing facing, cruciform scepter in right, akakia in left; reverse KOHMHNOC O ΠAΛEΛOΓOC, cross within circle of dots; rare; SOLD

Byzantine Empire, Andronicus II Palaeologus, 1282 - 24 May 1328 A.D.

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Under Andronicus II the empire permanently declined. His grandson, Andronicus III, rebelled and defeated him. He was forced to abdicate, retired as a monk and died 13 Feb 1332.
BZ14455. Bronze trachy, DOC V 789, B-D LPC p. 224, 32; Bendall PCPC 239; Grierson 1454; SBCV 2393; Sommer 79.31, nice VF, weight 1.446 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 1282 - 1328 A.D.; obverse large six-petal flower; reverse Andronicus standing facing, holding a large B in each hand, one reversed; scarce; SOLD

Byzantine Empire, John II Comnenus, 15 August 1118 - 8 April 1143 A.D.

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In 1122, John II Komnenos defeated the Pechenegs in the Battle of Beroia (in modern Bulgaria). The Pechenegs later fought as mercenaries for the Manuel I Komnenos in southern Italy against the Norman king of Sicily, William the Bad. A group was also present at the battle of Andria in 1155. For some time, significant communities of Pechenegs still remained in the Kingdom of Hungary. With time the Balkan Pechenegs lost their national identity and were fully assimilated, mostly with Magyars and Bulgarians.
BZ83484. Bronze half tetarteron, DOC IV-1 16b; Hendin pl 11, 13; Morrisson BnF 60/Th/AE/08; Wroth BMC 67; Ratto 2108; SBCV 1954, VF, green patina, obverse slightly off center, weight 1.986 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, c. 1137 - 1143 A.D.; obverse Christ standing facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, holding Gospels in left hand, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Iisoķs Xristůs - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse + Iω ∆ECΠOT, bust of John facing, wearing crown and jeweled chlamys, labarum in right, globus cruciger in left; SOLD

Byzantine Empire, Alexius I, 4 April 1081 - 15 August 1118 A.D.

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This type was the last Byzantine follis.
BZ37080. Bronze follis, SBCV 1911, VF, weight 4.747 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, obverse Patriarchal cross on two steps, IC - XC / NI-KA across fields; reverse CEP CVN/EPΓEI BA/CIΛEI AΛ/EΞIW in four lines, cross above; scarce; SOLD

Byzantine Empire, Justinian I, 4 April 527 - 14 November 565 A.D.

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BZ66859. Bronze 8 nummi, cf. SBCV 189, DOC I 100a, Morrisson BnF I 10, Hahn MIB I 174, Tolstoi 493, Ratto -, VF, weight 3.559 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, obverse D N IVSTINI-ANVS P P AVG, diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse large H between smaller A and P, cross(?) above; rare; SOLD


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Catalog current as of Wednesday, October 23, 2019.
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Byzantine Thessalonica