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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, Basil Megas Komnenos, August 1332 - 6 April 1340

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When Basil's oldest brother Andronikos III assumed the throne, he killed his two brothers, but Basil was in Constantinople and escaped his brothers' fate. When Andronikos III died, his infant son Manuel II succeeded him; however, Basil was invited from Constantinople to take the throne. Manuel was deposed and confined to a monastery, but after a revolt was murdered. Unpopular with the people, when a solar eclipse took place they took it for a sign of divine wrath and tried to pelt him with stones. Basil formed a marriage alliance with the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos III by marrying his daughter Irene. The affection between the two soon cooled, and Basil took a mistress also named Irene, by whom he fathered four illegitimate children. Basil died 6 April 1340, apparently poisoned by his legitimate wife, Irene Palaiologina, who promptly seized the throne.
BZ89565. Silver asper, cf. Retowski p. 1 -11, Sommer T10.1, SBCV 2622, gVF, dark "as found" uncleaned patina, weight 1.990 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 180o, Aug 1332 - 6 April 1340; obverse St. Eugenius on horseback right, holding cross, A / EV-N in fields; reverse Basil on horseback right, holding three-pronged scepter, BA left, M right; ex CNG e-auction 233 (26 May 2010), lot 579; rare; $500.00 (440.00)


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; $450.00 (396.00)


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; $360.00 (316.80)







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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 Tuesday, July 23, 2019.
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Byzantine Silver