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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Numismatics| ▸ |Scyphate||View Options:  |  |  | 

Scyphate - "Cup Shaped Coins"

Scyphate coins are sometimes described as cup-shaped or saucer-shaped, perhaps they would be better described as bowl shaped. The obverse of a scyphate coin is convex and the reverse is concave. Scyphate coins were struck in all metals and by many cultures including Celtic tribes, The Himyarites of Arabia, the Byzantine Empire and their successor medieval kingdoms. A photograph of a beautiful Byzantine gold scyphate histamenon nomisma can be seen above. Read more...

Constantine IX Monomachus, 12 June 1042 - 11 January 1055

|Constantine| |IX|, |Constantine| |IX| |Monomachus,| |12| |June| |1042| |-| |11| |January| |1055|, |scyphate| |histamenon| |nomisma|
In 1047, Constantine's nephew, general Leo Tornikios rebelled and besieged Constantinople from 25 to 28 September. Two assaults on the walls were turned back by the defenders under the personal leadership of Constantine. Despite suffering from gout and having no military experience, he showed courage and energy. Tornikios was forced to withdraw. After a failed attack on Rhaidestos, his followers abandoned him. He found refuge in a church, but was lured out, captured, and on Christmas day, he was blinded at Constantinople. Nothing thereafter is known about him.
SH95130. Gold scyphate histamenon nomisma, DOC III part 2, 3; Morrisson BnF 4 - 10; Wroth BMC (Constantine VIII) 6 - 9; Ratto (Constantine VIII) 1970; Sommer 48.3; Berk 304; SBCV 1830, EF, well centered and struck, beautiful depiction of Christ, weight 4.373 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 150o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 12 Jun 1042 - 11 Jan 1055; obverse +Ihs XPS REX REGNANTIhm (Jesus Christ King of Kings), bust of Christ facing, wearing nimbus cruciger with crescents in upper quarters, tunic and himation, raising right hand in blessing, gospels in left, triple border; reverse +CWNSTAnTn BASILEWS Rm, bearded bust of Constantine XI facing, crown with cross and pendilia, jewels around neck, jeweled chlamys, long cross scepter in right, globe surmounted by pellet cross in left, triple border; from the CEB Collection, ex Edward J. Waddell; $950.00 SALE |PRICE| $855.00


Byzantine Empire, Michael VIII Palaeologus, 15 August 1261 - 11 December 1282

|Michael| |VIII|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Michael| |VIII| |Palaeologus,| |15| |August| |1261| |-| |11| |December| |1282|, |hyperpyron|
Michael VIII was regent for and later co-emperor with the Nicaean Emperor John IV. He defeated the Latin emperor Baldwin II, captured Constantinople and restored the empire. His superb diplomatic skills balanced his enemies against each other. He founded the last great Byzantine dynasty.
RS94632. Gold hyperpyron, DOC V, class II-a, 13 ff. (sigla 69 not listed); Bendall PCPC 4 (same); Lianta 488 ff. (same); Grierson 1288; SBCV 2242; Sommer 77.1, VF, scyphate, well centered, obv. central double strike, some die wear, weight 4.187 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 15 Aug 1261 - 11 Dec 1282; obverse Nimbate half-length facing figure of the Virgin Mary orans within city walls, MH - Θ (MH ligate, flanking nimbus, six groups of towers on walls, sigla K - A across fields; reverse X /MH/ ∆C-Π/OTI (MH ligate, columnar downward, or similar - right side obscure), Archangel Michael, on left, standing facing, presents kneeling Michael VIII to Christ, on right, seated left on high throne, scroll in left hand, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsos Xrists - Jesus Christ) flanking Christ; from the Robert Watcher Collection; very scarce; $600.00 SALE |PRICE| $540.00


Byzantine Empire, Andronicus II and Michael IX, 21 May 1295 - 12 October 1320 A.D

|Andronicus| |II|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Andronicus| |II| |and| |Michael| |IX,| |21| |May| |1295| |-| |12| |October| |1320| |A.D|, |hyperpyron|
"There are two main variants of this type - those with six groups of towers and those with four groups of towers in the city walls. The change comes approximately mid-way in the reign and both varieties are equally common. Rare varieties are those with the figures of Andronicus and Michael transposed and those with the legend AVTOKPTOPEC PWMAIWN." - D. Sear.
SH94418. Gold hyperpyron, DOC V-2, class 2b, sigla 186; Bendall PCPC 128, sigla 186, Sommer 80.2.1, Grierson 1293, SBCV 2396, VF, scyphate, typical crude strike, weight 3.379 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1305 - 1320 A.D.; obverse bust of the virgin orans within city walls, four groups of towers on the walls, six-pointed star over K left and six-pointed star over N right (sigla); reverse A/N/∆/P - X / M / ∆/E/Π (or similar, columnar), Andronicus II bearded on left and Michael IX unbearded on right, both kneeling facing, both with beard and mustache (?, Michael is usually described as beardless), nimbate Christ stands between them with hands over their heads in benediction, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsos Xrists - Jesus Christ) flanking nimbus; $500.00 SALE |PRICE| $450.00


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

|Andronicus| |II|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Andronicus| |II| |Palaeologus,| |1282| |-| |24| |May| |1328| |A.D.|, |trachy|
An extremely rare Andronicus II trachy of this type was found by Dochev at Turnovo (Dochev 1992, Pl. 17, 2; ). It is the Turnovo coin that is described in the Dumbarton Oaks Catalog (DOC V) and in Sear's Byzantine Coin Values (SBCV). We know of only five other specimens of the type.
BZ91214. Bronze trachy, Dochev 1992, pl. 17, 2; DOC V, table 18A, 30 (none in the collection); SBCV 2357A; B-D LPC -; Bendall PCPC; Lianta -; Grierson -; Sommer -, F/VF, scyphate, obverse "finder" cleaned by scraping, edge crack, small spots of corrosion, weight 1.680 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1282 - 1328 A.D.; obverse The Virgin Mary standing facing orans, nimbate, wears tunic and maphorion, MP - ΘV (Greek abbr.: Mητηρ Θεου - Mother of God) flanking nimbus; reverse Andronicus, on left, standing facing, scepter cruciger in right hand and anexikakia(?) in left hand, blessed by military saint, on right standing facing with sword(?) in left hand; extremely rare; $240.00 SALE |PRICE| $170.00


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

|John| |II|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |John| |II| |Comnenus,| |15| |August| |1118| |-| |8| |April| |1143| |A.D.|, |aspron| |trachy|
John II was the oldest son of Alexius I and succeeded to the throne in 1118. He was a good and capable ruler and did much to further the Byzantine Empire. He recaptured lost territory and added territory to the Empire. He attempted to curtail the trading privileges given to the Venetians but was forced to give up this idea. His reign was brought to an early end when he died in a hunting accident. His youngest son, Manuel I, succeeded him.
BZ95160. Billon aspron trachy, DOC IV-I 10; CLBC 3.3.2; Morrisson BnF 60/Cp/B/02; Hendy pl. 10, 9; Wroth BMC 53; SBCV 1944; Grierson 1070; Sommer 60.7; Ratto -, VF, well centered and struck, porous, scyphate, weight 4.221 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 15 Aug 1118 - 8 Apr 1143 A.D.; obverse IC-XC (Greek abbr.: Ihsos Xrists - Jesus Christ), Bust of Christ facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right hand in benediction, gospels in left hand; reverse + Iω ∆εC-ΠOT ΠΦVPOΓNHT (or similar), bust of John facing, wearing crown and loros, and holding cruciform scepter and globus cruciger; from the S. Lindner Collection; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00







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REFERENCES|

Bendall, S. "Sigla on Palaeologan Hyperpyra" in Revue Numismatique 26 (1984), pp. 161 - 192. (Figures 1 - 5 are from this article). Available online


Catalog current as of Wednesday, July 15, 2020.
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