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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Byzantine Coins ▸ Byzantine GoldView Options:  |  |  |     

Byzantine Gold Coins

Byzantine gold coins are still remarkably affordable. Types with the bust of Christ are very popular. We attempt to keep gold coins of Christ in stock, but demand often exceeds supply.

Byzantine Empire, Constantine VI and Irene, 8 September 780 - 19 August 797 A.D.

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In 790, Constantine VI took control and forced his mother, who had been his regent, into exile. A little more than a year later Irene was back as co-ruler. In 797, Irene had her son deposed and blinded and assumed sole rule.

Feg has the obverse and reverse opposite. Other than Feg 4.7, the referenced examples all have either incomplete or illegible inscriptions, or have variations from this coin.
SH90887. Gold solidus, Feg 4.7 (C.4.6/Ir.4.1); cf. Wroth BMC 1; DOC III, part 1, 2; Morrisson BnF 2, Tolstoi 1; SBCV 1591; Sommer -; Ratto -, VF, remarkable for complete inscriptions, weight 4.413 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople mint, 15 Jan 792 - 793; obverse COnSTAnTInOS CA - SIR, crowned facing busts of Constantine IV, wearing chlamys and holding globus cruciger in left hand; and Irene, wearing loros, cruciform scepter in her right hand; cross above center; reverse SVn IrInI AVΓ mITHRΛ, Constantine V, Leo III, and Leo IV (the boy emperor's deceased father, grand-father and great grandfather) seated facing, each bearded and wearing crown and chlamys; ex Numismatik Lanz (eBay auction, 4 Feb 2011, sold for 3027); rare; $2500.00 (2200.00)

Byzantine Empire, Maurice Tiberius, 13 August 582 - 22 November 602 A.D.

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Most references attribute this type to Antioch. Although this type is not listed in DOC I, Grierson attributes all solidi with this wide-faced portrait to Antioch. Hahn attributes the type to Constantinople.
SH90884. Gold light weight solidus, 20 siliquae; SBCV 531, Hahn MIB 14, Sommer 7.61, Adelson 88 - 89 corr. (rho-cross scepter), DOC I -, Wroth BMC -, Morrisson BnF -, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, gVF, uneven strike, tight flan, weight 3.390 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, 10th officina, Constantinopolis or Antioch mint, 583 - 602 A.D.; obverse D N MAVRIC - TIb P P AVG, helmeted, draped, and cuirassed bust facing, globus cruciger in right hand, shield in left, helmet with arc ornament in front and plume; reverse VICTORI-A AVCC I, angel standing facing, long cross in right, globus cruciger in left, OBXX in exergue; Forum knows of only seven other examples of this extremely rare type; extremely rare; $2300.00 (2024.00)

Byzantine Empire, John VI Cantacuzenus and John V Palaeologus, 13 May 1347 - April 1353 A.D.

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When Andronicus III died, his chief administrator, John Kantakouzenos asserted a claim to regency of the young emperor John V. The emperor's mother, Anna of Savoy, was appointed regent and she had John Kantakouzenos declared an enemy of the state. John Kantakouzenos defeated Anna with Ottoman help, and he was made Emperor John VI. John V was married to his daughter, Helena Kantakouzene, and the boy was allowed to reign as the junior emperor. John VI Kantakouzenos spent much of his own private wealth unsuccessfully trying to strengthen the Empire but was still unpopular because of his ties to the Ottomans. His attempt to curb Genoese power ended with the total destruction of the Byzantine fleet in 1349. 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, and banished John Kantakouzenos to a monastery, where he lived 30 years as the monk Joasaph and wrote his famous history.
SH70968. Gold hyperpyron, Lianta 849; Bendall 2004b, p. 297, C; SBCV 2526; Sommer 84.1; Grierson 1296; DOC V -, VF, weight 3.402 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 2 Feb 1325 - 1328 or possibly to 1330 A.D.; obverse Nimbate half-length facing figure of the Virgin Mary orans within city walls, four castles forming walls, star on each side of the uppermost castle, B lower left, A lower right; reverse John VI on left and Andronicus V on right, kneeling facing, Christ stands behind with hands over their heads in benediction; IUINK (or similar) downward on left and IUINKY (or similar) downward on right, N's reversed; very rare; $1800.00 (1584.00)

Romanus III Argyrus, 12 November 1028 - 11 April 1034

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Romanus III was fanatically devoted to the Virgin. His adoration found expression in the building and restoration of churches dedicated to St. Mary and also explains the Virgin's prominence on his coinage. MΘ is a Greek abbreviation for Mητερα Tου Θεου - Mother of God. ΘCE abbreviates Θεοτοκε - God-bearer, also referring to the Virgin. On one of his types, a silver miliaresion, the inscription reads: Παρθενε σοι πολυαινε ος ηλιτικη παντα κατοπθοι, which means, "He who places his hopes on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does."
SH73344. Gold histamenon nomisma, DOC III, part 2, 1d; Morrisson BnF 43/Cp/AV/01; Ratto 1972; Sommer 43.2.2; SBCV 1819; Wroth BMC 2, aEF, weight 4.379 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 12 Nov 1028 - 11 Apr 1034; obverse + IhS XIS REX REGNANTInm (Jesus Christ King of Kings), Christ enthroned, wears nimbus cruciger, pallium, & colobium, raises hand, holds Gospels; reverse ΘCE bOHΘ RWMANW (god-bearer help the Romans), MΘ (mother of God) above center, nimbate Virgin (on right) wears pallium and maphorium, with right hand she crowns Romanus, who is bearded and wears a crown, saccos and loros, globus cruciger in his right, four pellets in loros end below globus; scarce; $760.00 (668.80)

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

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Plovdiv was originally a Thracian city before later becoming a Greek city, and then a major Roman city. In the Middle Ages, it retained its strategic regional importance, changing hands between the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires. Around 1000 A.D., Philippopolis became the administrative seat of a newly created Byzantine thma with the same name. In 1180, Aime de Varennes encountered the singing of Byzantine songs in the city that recounted the deeds of Alexander the Great and Philip of Macedonia, over 1300 years before. In 1364, the Ottoman Turks under Lala Shakhin Pasha seized Plovdiv. The Turks called the city Filibe, derived from "Philip."
SH73347. Gold hyperpyron, DOC IV, part 1, 20o.1; Wroth BMC 3; Hendy pl. 5, 11; Sommer 59.29; SBCV 1935; Morrisson BnF -; Berk -; Ratto -, gVF, bold reverse, flattened, graffiti in reverse margin, weight 4.370 g, maximum diameter 32.3 mm, die axis 180o, Philippopolis (Plovdiv, Bulgaria) mint, 1092 - 1118 A.D.; obverse KE RO-HΘEI (Lord, help [Alexius]), IC - XC (Jesus Christ), Christ enthroned facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium and colobium, raising right in benediction, gospels in left, double border; reverse A/ΛC/ZI/W / ∆CC/ ΠO/T - TW / KO/MNH/N (Z reversed, MNH ligate), Alexius standing facing, wearing chlamys, four jewels on collar, no jewels along the bottom edge of the chlamys, labarum scepter with no dot on shaft in right, globus cruciger in left, manus Dei (hand of God) above right; this is the first ever Byzantine coin from the Philippopolis mint handled by Forum!; extremely rare; $720.00 (633.60)

Byzantine Empire, Andronicus I, September 1183 - 12 September 1185 A.D.

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In 1185, Henry II of England knighted his heir John and sent him to Ireland to enforce English control. It was a disaster which united the scorned Irish chieftains against a common enemy. By the end of the year, John returned to England in defeat. Nonetheless, Henry had him named King of Ireland by Pope Urban III and procured a golden crown with peacock feathers.
BZ73348. Gold hyperpyron, DOC IV, part 1, 1; Hendy pl. 18, 9; Wroth BMC 1, Morrisson BnF 62/Cp/AV/1; Berk 355; Sommer 62.1, SBCV 1983; Ratto -, VF, double struck, creases in margins, perhaps once flattened then restored to syphate, weight 4.437 g, maximum diameter 30.8 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople mint, Sep 1183 - 12 Sep 1185 A.D.; obverse the Virgin Mary seated facing on square-backed throne, nimbate, wearing pallium and maphorium; she holds before her the nimbate head of the infant Christ, MP - ΘV (Mother of God) flanking her head; double border; reverse AN∆PONIKOC ∆εCΠOTHC, Andronicus (on left) and Christ standing facing, Andronicus, with forked beard, wears crown and loros, labarum in right, globus cruciger in left, Christ crowning him, wears nimbus and colobium, holds Gospels, IC - XC (Jesus Christ) flanking His head; very scarce; $600.00 (528.00)

Byzantine Empire, Heraclius & Heraclius Constantine, 23 January 613 - 11 January 641 A.D.

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In "Le trsor byzantine de Nikertai" in Revue Belge de Numismatique 118 (1972), Morrisson writes that this officina mark is horizontal, perpendicular to the rest of the legend, and indicates the 7th officina (a reversed Z, not an H). Hahn lists the Nikertai Hoard coin 146, described by Morrisson as 7th officina, as his only example from the H (8th) officina. The 8th officina probably did not strike this variant with an I in the right field. Gorny & Mosch Giessener Mnzhandlung Auction 196, lot 3100, was struck with the same dies in a similar state of wear.
SH69990. Gold solidus, Nikertai Hoard 146; Hahn MIB 13 (Z) and 14 (H); Sommer 11.10; SBCV 739; DOC II - (type 14, officina not listed); Morrisson BnF -, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, VF, worn dies, weight 4.431 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 225o, 7th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 616 - 625 A.D.; obverse dd NN hERACLIVS Et hERA CONSt PP A, facing busts of Heraclius, on left with short beard, and his son Heraclius Constantine, beardless and smaller, each wearing a simple crown with cross on circlet, cross between them above; reverse VICTORIA AVGu Z (Z reversed), cross potent on three steps, I right, CONOB in exergue; scarce; $580.00 (510.40)

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

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The Column of Phocas at Rome was erected before the Rostra and dedicated to the Emperor on 1 August 608. It was the last addition made to the Forum Romanum. The Corinthian column has a height of 13.6 m (44 ft). Both the column and the marble socle were recycled from earlier use. The gilded statue that was once on the column was probably a gift of gratitude from Smaragdus, who was indebted to the Phocas for ending his long exile and restoring his position of power at Ravenna. The column still stands in its original location, but the gold statue was probably taken down immediatly after Phocus' death.Column of Phocas
SH70062. Gold solidus, DOC II part 1, 10f; Tolstoi 11; Ratto 1183; Hahn MIB 9; Sommer 9.8; SBCV 620; Wroth BMC -; Morrisson BnF -, aEF, slightly off center on a broad flan, weight 4.467 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 180o, 6th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 607 - 609 A.D.; obverse d N FOCAS PERP AVC, draped and cuirassed bust facing, wearing crown without pendilia and holding cross in raised right; reverse VICTORIA AVGU S, angel standing facing, long staurogram staff in right, globus cruciger in left, CONOB in exergue; $580.00 (510.40)

Byzantine Empire, Maurice Tiberius, 13 August 582 - 22 November 602 A.D.

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In 583, Maurice decided to end the annual tribute to the Avars, a mounted people who swept across Russia and threatened the Balkan Peninsula. The result was sixteen years of Avar attacks, raids, sackings, and devastation. In 599, after Maurice refused to pay ransom, the Avars slaughtered 12,000 captured Byzantine soldiers. That summer, the Byzantines defeated the Avars in open battle, pursued the fleeing tribes, and then invaded and devastated the Avar homeland. In 602, after a few more defeats, the Avars agreed to accept Byzantine rule. However, the high cost of the war in blood and treasure had cost Maurice his popularity. He was forced to witness the slaughter of his supporters and his five sons, and then beheaded.
SH75232. Gold solidus, DOC I 5d, 149d, Tolstoi 15, Ratto 1006, Hahn MIB 6, Sommer 75, Berk 82, SBCV 478, Wroth BMC - (p. 128, note 4), Morrisson BnF -, weight 4.501 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 583 - 602 A.D.; obverse D N mAVRc - TIb P P AVC, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, globus cruciger in right, shield in left; reverse VICTORI-A AVCC ∆, angel standing facing, staff topped with staurogram (rho-cross) in right, globus cruciger in left, CONOB in exergue; $550.00 (484.00)

Byzantine Empire, Constans II, September 641 - 15 July 668 A.D.

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From the 650's the Muslims took to the sea. The entire Mediterranean Sea became a battleground, with raids and counter-raids being launched against islands and the coastal settlements. In 652, an Arab fleet under Abdullah ibn Sa'ad defeated the Byzantine fleet of 500 ships off the coast of Alexandria. Muslim raids reached a peak in the 9th and early 10th centuries, after their conquest of Crete, Malta and Sicily, with their fleets reaching the coasts of France, Dalmatia and even the suburbs of Constantinople.
SH70034. Gold solidus, Wroth BMC 32; DOC II part 2, 21a (not in the collection, refs BMC); Tolstoi 48 (same coin as Wroth); Hahn MIB 24; Sommer 12.17; SBCV 958, aEF, weak strike areas, light scratches, weight 4.256 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 651 - 654 A.D.; obverse d N CONSTANTINUS PP AV, crowned bust facing, long beard and mustache, wears chlamys, globus cruciger in right; reverse VICTORIA AVGY ∆, cross potent on three steps, CONOB+ in ex; scarce; $540.00 (475.20)




Bellinger, A.R. & P. Grierson, eds. Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection. (Washington D.C., 1966 - 1999).
Berk, H.J. Roman Gold Coins of the Medieval World, 383 - 1453 A.D. (Joliet, IL, 1986).
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).
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).
Morrisson, C. Catalogue des Monnaies Byzantines de la Bibliothque Nationale. (Paris, 1970).
Sear, D. R. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
Ratto, R. Monnaies Byzantines et d'autre Pays contemporaines l'poque byzantine. (Lugano, 1930).
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 Thursday, October 08, 2015.
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Byzantine Gold