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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Byzantine Coins| ▸ |Byzantine Silver||View Options:  |  |  | 

Byzantine Silver Coins

The Byzantine Empire issued more gold, billion, and bronze coins than silver.


Empire of Trebizond, Manuel I Comnenus, 1238 - 1263 A.D.

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Manuel I Megas Komnenos (died March 1263) was an Emperor of Trebizond, from 1238 until his death. At the time Manuel reigned, the Empire of Trebizond comprised a band of territory stretching along the southern coast of the Black Sea. Although Michael Panaretos, a 14th-century Greek chronicler, calls Manuel "the greatest general and the most fortunate" and states he ruled "virtuously in the eyes of God", the only event he documents for Manuel's reign is a catastrophic fire striking the city of Trebizond in January 1253. The major events of his reign are known from external sources, most important of which is the recovery of Sinope in 1254, which had been lost to the Sultanate of Rum forty years before.
BZ89548. Silver asper, Sommer T3.20 (same dies), Retowski 217 (same dies), SBCV 2602, aEF, crude style usual for the type, toned, uneven strike, die wear, weight 2.807 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 180o, Trebizond (Trabzon, Turkey) mint, 1238 - 1263 A.D.; obverse A (with circle) /EV/Γ - O / TPA/ΠC/TI/d (C blundered), Saint Eugenius standing facing, long cross in right hand; reverse MH/N/HΛ/o - K/MH/N (MH's ligate), Manuel standing facing, labarum in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, Manus Dei (hand of God) upper right; nicer than the referenced two plate coins, which are from the same dies; very rare; $400.00 (352.00)


Byzantine Empire, Manuel II Palaeologus, 25 September 1373 - 1423 A.D.

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Manuel's half stavrata with this reverse legend (which translates: "Manuel who is faithful to Christ the Lord") comprise the "Pistos" (Faithful) series. The "Pistos" series, numbers about half the quantity of half stavrata of the "Imperial" series, with the normal basileus legend (which translates: "King Manuel Palaeologus"). In A Private Collection of Palaeologan Coins, Simon Bendall asserts, "Evidence suggests there were two mints in Constantinople -- the imperial mint producing coinage for the emperor's needs and a public mint where the members of the public could bring in bullion or plate to be turned into money. The "Pistos" coins were probably the production of this public mint at Constantinople."
BZ89546. Silver half stavraton (Pistos series), quarter hyperpyron, sigla 71; DOC V 1480 (same dies); Bendall PCPC 343.5 (same dies); B-D LPC p. 160, 2; Grierson 1518; Sommer 88.3; SBCV 2552, gVF, toned, uneven strike, typical tight flan, weight 3.427 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 180o, Public Mint, Constantinople mint, c. 1405 - 1415; obverse bust of Christ facing, cross nimbus, tunic and himation, right raised in benediction, Gospels in left, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Jesus Christ) divided across field, no sigla, double border with pellets between; reverse I MAVOHΛ E XO TO ΘEV ΠHCTOC BA (Manuel who is faithful to Christ the Lord, blundered, incomplete cross at start), bust of John VII facing, bearded, nimbate, crown with pendilia, pellet in both left and right fields (sigla); from the Robert Wachter Collection; rare; $320.00 (281.60)


Byzantine Empire, Manuel II Palaeologus, 25 September 1373 - 1423 A.D.

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After his older brother Andronikos IV tried to usurp their father's throne, Manuel II was made co-emperor and heir. In 1376 - 1379 and again in 1390 Andronikos IV and then his son John VII seized rule. Manuel defeated his nephew and restored his father's throne. He was then sent as a hostage to the court of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, where he was forced to participate in the Ottoman campaign that reduced Philadelphia, the last Byzantine enclave in Anatolia. After a five year Ottoman siege, in 1399 Manuel left for the European courts to seek aid. Relations between John VII and Manuel had improved and John VII was left as regent. The siege was lifted after the Mongols defeated the Ottomans at the Battle of Ankara. Taking advantage of the Ottoman civil war that followed and rival princes seeking friendship, John VII secured the return some lost territory including the city of Thessalonica. When Manuel returned home in 1403, his nephew retired to govern Thessalonica. Manuel was friendly with Mehmed I but after Mehmed died in 1421, the Ottomans assault began anew. Manuel relinquished most duties to his son and heir John VIII, and left again to seek aid. Unsuccessful, the Byzantines were forced to pay tribute to the sultan. Manuel II retired as a monk in 1423 and died on 21 July 1425.
BZ86362. Silver half stavraton (Basileus series), quarter hyperpyron, sigla 38; Bendall PCPC 334.20 (same rev. die), DOC V 1447 (same), Lianta 943 (same), Grierson 1517, Sommer 88.2, SBCV 2551, VF, centered on a tight flan, scrape, corrosion/porosity, edge cracks, weight 3.580 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, Imperial mint, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1403 - c. 1415; obverse bust of Christ facing, cross nimbus with pellets in arms, tunic and himation, right raised in benediction, Gospels in left, double border with pellets between, IC - XC flanking across field, pellet above and below XC in right field; reverse + MANOVHΛ BACIΛEVC O ΠAΛEOΛOΓO (King Manuel Palaeologus), bust of John VII facing, bearded, nimbate, crown with pendilia, pellet over B on left, pellet over reversed B on right; scarce; SOLD







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REFERENCES

Bellinger, A. & P. Grierson, eds. Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection. (Washington D.C., 1966 - 1999).
Bendall, S. & P. Donald. Later Palaeologan Coinage, 1282-1453. (London, 1979).
Feg, F. Corpus of the Nomismata from Anastasius II to John I in Constantinople, 713 - 976. (2007).
Feg, F. "Vom Umgang mit Zufall und Wahrscheinlichkeit in der Numismatischen Forschung" in SNR 76 (1997).
Grierson, P. Byzantine Coins. (London, 1999).
Hahn, W. Moneta Imperii Byzantini. (Vienna, 1973-81).
Hendy, M. Coinage and Money in the Byzantine Empire 1081-1261. (Washington D.C., 1969).
Hennequin, G. Catalogue des monnaies musulmanes de la Bibliotheque Nationale. (Paris, 1985).
Lianta, E. Late Byzantine Coins, 1204 - 1453, in the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford. (London, 2009).
Morrisson, C. Catalogue des Monnaies Byzantines de la Bibliothque Nationale. (Paris, 1970).
Sear, D. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
Sommer, A. Die Mnzen des Byzantinischen Reiches 491-1453. Mit einem Anhang: Die Mnzen des Kaiserreichs von Trapezunt. (Regenstauf, 2010).
Ratto, R. Monnaies Byzantines et d'autre Pays contemporaines l'poque byzantine. (Lugano, 1930).
Retowski, O. Die Mnzen der Komnenen von Trapezunt. (Braunschweig, 1974).
Tolstoi, I. Monnaies byzantines. (St. Petersburg, 1913 - 14).
Wroth, W. Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum. (London, 1908).
Wroth, W. Catalogue of the Coins of the Vandals, Ostrogoths, Lombards and of the Empires of Thessalonica, Nicaea, and Trebizond in the British Museum. (London, 1911).

Catalog current as of Saturday, August 17, 2019.
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Byzantine Silver