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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.


Byzantine Empire, Basil I, Alexander & Leo VI, 867 - 886 A.D.

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Leo VI was a scholar who had little time for foreign affairs, as a result the empire declined. The Bulgars and Arabs became problematic. He completed the legal system started by Basil. He married four times in the quest for a male heir, putting him in conflict with the church. He was eventually barred from attending St. Sophia.
SL49973. Silver miliaresion, DOC III part 2, 7; SBCV 1708, ICG AU55, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 868 - 879 A.D.; obverse IhSUS XRISTUS nICA (Jesus Christ Conquers), cross potent on three steps and globe; reverse + bASI/LIOS CE / CONStAN/tIN' PIStV / bASILIS / ROMEO, legend in six lines; ICG certified (slabbed); SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Heraclius, 5 October 610 - 11 January 641 A.D.

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Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.

The most likely occasion for this issue would have been Martina's coronation in 614 A.D. Based on the number of surviving specimens, production may have continued for several years. Martina was extensively featured on the copper coinage of Heraclius from c. 615 to c. 629 A.D. Rynearson identifies this type as scarce.
SH06184. Silver half siliqua, SBCV 871; DOC II part 1, 233; Hahn MIB 149; Wroth BMC 343-6; Tolstoi 319-20; Ratto 1460-64; Morrisson BnF 3-11, Choice gVF, weight 0.66 g, maximum diameter 11.6 mm, die axis 100o, Carthage (near Tunis, Tunisia) mint, 614 - 618 A.D.; obverse D N ERACLIO PP AV, bust of Heraclius facing, beardless, wearing cuirass, paludamentum, and crown with pendilia and cross; reverse on left bust of Heraclius Constantine wearing chlamys, tablion, crown with pendilia & cross, on right bust of Martina wearing robes & crown with long pendilia & cross, cross between; from the Woolslayer Collection, ex Edward J. Waddell; scarce; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, John I Tzimisces, 11 December 969 - 10 January 976 A.D.

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SH06232. Silver miliaresion, DOC III part 2, 7a, Wroth BMC 5 - 6, Morrisson BnF 1 - 7, Ratto 1919, SBCV 1792, aEF, weight 3.53 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 969 - 976 A.D.; obverse + IhSUS XRISTUS nICA * (Jesus Christ Conquers), cross crosslet on globus above two steps, circular medallion at center containing crowned bust of John facing wearing loros, dividing the inscription I/W - A/n, triple border ornamented with eight equally spaced globules; reverse + Iwann'/ En Xw AVTO CRATEVSEb / bASILEVS / RWMAIW in five lines across field, decorative ornaments above and below, border as on obverse; from the Woolslayer Collection, ex Edward J. Waddell; scarce; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Manuel II Palaeologus & John VIII Palaeologus, 19 January 1421 - 1423 or July 1425 A.D.

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In A Private Collection of Palaeologan Coins, Simon Bendall writes, "The last nine issues (sigla 52 - 60), are of such distinct and poorer style, with Manuel wearing a domed crown, that there must have been an interval of time between the bulk of the coinage up to sigla 49 and the final issues. This last group must have commenced before 1421, since the last two sigla are shared by coins in the name of John VIII and of Manuel [includes this coin]. These coins were issued between 1421 when John was made co-ruler with his father and Manuel's death as the monk Mathew in July 1425. There is, in fact, one obverse die which shares reverse dies with both Manuel II and John VIII."
SH90641. Silver half stavraton (Basileus series), quarter hyperpyron, sigla 59 (IK); DOC V 1466 var. (K only, same rev die); Bendall PCPC 334.31; Grierson 1517; Sommer 88.2; SBCV 2551, VF, weight 3.663 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Imperial mint, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 19 Jan 1421 - 21 Jul 1425; 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 (Greek abbreviation: Jesus Christ) across field over K (or IK) left and lis right; reverse + MANOVHΛ BACIΛEVC O ΠAΛEOΛOΓO (King Manuel Palaeologus), bust of John VII facing, bearded, nimbate, crown with pendilia, pellet in left and right fields; struck under co-rule with John VIII, 1421 - 1423, or possibly even after Manuel retired in 1423 but before his death on 21 July 1425; rare; SOLD


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 Philadelpheia, 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.
SH73564. Silver half stavraton (Basileus series), quarter hyperpyron, sigla 17; Bendall PCPC 334.3; DOC V 1412 var. (obverse also has pellet right); Grierson 1517; Sommer 88.2; SBCV 2551, VF, weight 3.694 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, 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, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Jesus Christ) across field over K (or IK) left and lis right, double border with pellets between; reverse + MANOVHΛ BACIΛEVC O ΠAΛEOΛOΓO (King Manuel Palaeologus), bust of John VII facing, bearded, nimbate, crown with pendilia, pellet in left and right fields; scarce; SOLD


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 Philadelpheia, 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.
SH73563. Silver half stavraton (Basileus series), quarter hyperpyron, sigla 21; Bendall PCPC 334.6; Grierson 1517; Sommer 88.2; SBCV 2551; DOC V 1419, VF, weight 3.815 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, 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, IC - XC (Greek abbr.: Jesus Christ) divided across field over lis left and pellet right, double border with pellets between; reverse + MANOVHΛ BACIΛEVC O ΠAΛEOΛOΓO (King Manuel Palaeologus), bust of John VII facing, bearded, nimbate, crown with pendilia, pellet in left and right fields; scarce; SOLD


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.
SH83912. Silver half stavraton (Basileus series), quarter hyperpyron, sigla 37; Bendall PCPC 334.19; DOC V 1443; Grierson 1517; Sommer 88.2; SBCV 2551, EF, toned, irregular shaped flan, tiny edge split, reverse die crack, weight 3.650 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 45o, 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; 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; from the Robert Wachter Collection; scarce; SOLD


Constantine IX Monomachus, 12 June 1042 - 11 January 1055

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The full inscription runs from the obverse legend to the reverse legend, + ∆ECΠOINA CWZOIC EVCEBH MONOMAXON, "O Lady, preserve the pious Monomachus." In DOC III, Grierson writes, "They may perhaps have been struck when the rebel Leo Tornikes appeared before the walls of Constantinople in September 1047, but there were too many other occasions in the reign when Constantine must have felt the desirability of the Virgin's protection for this to be more then a conjecture."
BZ86355. Silver scyphate miliaresion, DOC III part 2, 7; Wroth BMC 16; Morrisson BnF 1; Ratto ; Sommer 48.7; SBCV 1834; none with this legend error, F/VF, well centered, toned, marks, edge crack, holed (frequent for the type), weight 2.801 g, maximum diameter 26.7 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 12 Jun 1042 - 11 Jan 1055; obverse + ∆ECΠOINA CWZOIC, The Virgin Mary, orans, standing facing on dais, nimbate, wearing tunic and maphorion, MP - ΘV (Greek abbreviation: Mother of God) across field; reverse EVCEBH MONOMAXNON (sic, should end ...XON), Constantine standing facing, bearded, crown with cross and pendilia, military attire consisting of scale armor cuirass, cloak, tunic, and high boots, long cross with pellets at ends in right hand, left hand wresting on sheathed sword with point grounded; scarce; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, John I Tzimisces, 11 December 969 - 10 January 976 A.D.

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John I Tzimisces was the lover of Empress Theophano, which led to the murder of Emperor Nicephorus II and John's elevation to the throne. John introduced a follis that depicted a bust of Christ on the obverse and a religious inscription on the reverse. These types, referred to as anonymous folles because they do not identify the issuing emperor, would become the norm for bronze coinage during the following century.
SH16902. Silver miliaresion, DOC III part 2, 7a, Wroth BMC 5 - 6, Morrisson BnF 1 - 7, Ratto 1919, SBCV 1792, gVF, weight 1.990 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 969 - 976 A.D.; obverse + IhSUS XRISTUS nICA * (Jesus Christ Conquers), cross crosslet on globus above two steps, circular medallion at center containing crowned bust of John facing wearing loros, dividing the inscription I/W - A/n, triple border ornamented with eight equally spaced globules; reverse + IWAnn'/ En Xw AVTO/CRAT' EVSEb / bASILEVS / RWMAIW' in five lines, decorative ornaments above and below, triple border ornamented with eight equally spaced globules; scarce; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Michael VII Ducas, 24 October 1071 - 24 March 1078 A.D.

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In DOC III, Grierson notes of Michael VII Ducas' silver coins that the metal quality is always poor and most coins are pierced or broken.
BZ70527. Silver 2/3 miliaresion, Wroth BMC 21; Morrisson BnF 55/Cp/AR/6; Sommer 55.6; DOC III part 2, 11b (not in the collection, refs Wroth; SBCV 1875, F, pierced, weight 1.368 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, obverse Christ Pantocrator enthroned facing, nimbate, raising right hand in benediction, Gospels in left, IC - XC flanking across field; reverse - - / + KEP Θ / MIXAHΛ / ∆ECΠOTH / TW∆OY / − KA −; very rare; 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 Friday, August 23, 2019.
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Byzantine Silver