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Byzantine Gold Coins

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


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. ( P cross top), DOC I -, BMC -, 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; $2850.00 (€2479.50)


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.

Füeg has the obverse and reverse opposite. Other than Füeg 4.7, the referenced examples all have either incomplete or illegible inscriptions, or have variations from this coin.
SH90887. Gold solidus, Füeg 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 (€2175.00)


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; $2020.00 (€1757.40)


Byzantine Empire, Nicephorus II Phocas, 16 August 963 - 10 December 969 A.D., with Basil II

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Luxembourg was founded in 963.
SH73341. Gold histamenon nomisma, DOC III, part 2, 4.1; Morrisson BnF 39/Cp/AV/6; Wroth BMC 3; Ratto 1912; Sommer 38.2; SBCV 1778, gVF, perfect centering, bold, double strike, weight 4.447 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 225o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 16 Aug 963 - 10 Dec 969 A.D.; obverse +•Ihs XΓS REX REGNANTInm (Jesus Christ King of Kings), bust of Christ facing wearing nimbus cruciger with two pellets in each limb of the cross, pallium and colobium, raising right in benediction, Gospels in left; reverse +ΘOTOC' bHΘ' hIEHF dESP' (God-bearer help ruler Nicephorus), facing busts of the Virgin, on left, and Nicephorus, on right, they hold a long patriarchal cross between them, she is nimbate, wears a stola and maphorium and divides M/•-Θ (mother of God), he has a short beard and wears a crown and loros; ex Clark Smith Numismatists (San Rafael, CA); $1440.00 (€1252.80)


Byzantine Empire, Constans II and Constantine IV, 13 April 654 - 15 July 668 A.D.

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In 659, Constans II signed a peace treaty with the Rashidun Caliphate. He used the pause to strengthen his defenses and consolidate Byzantine control over Armenia. Constans established the themata; dividing territorial command in Anatolia.
SH73336. Gold solidus, Hahn MIB 69; Ratto 1595; DOC II part 2, 124 (not in the collection, refs Ratto); SRCV 1042; Morrisson BnF -; Wroth BMC -; et al. -, VF, small thick flan with most obverse legend off flan as is normal for the type, weight 4.384 g, maximum diameter 11.6 mm, die axis 180o, Carthage mint, 659 - 660 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANT (or similar), facing busts of Constans II, on left, with long beard and moustache, holding globus cruciger in right, and Constantine IV, beardless, each wearing crown with cross and chlamys, pellet between heads; reverse VICTO-R Aς Γ (Carthage indictional year 3), cross potent on three steps, star(?) in left field, CONOB in exergue; we believe this is only the 3rd known example of this type with the star(?) left; extremely rare; $950.00 (€826.50)


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; $950.00 (€826.50)


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 théma 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 "Fhilip."
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; $900.00 (€783.00)


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

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In "Le trésor 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 Münzhandlung 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 ex; scarce; $650.00 (€565.50)


Byzantine Empire, Constans II and Constantine IV, 13 April 654 - 15 July 668 A.D.

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In 659, Constans II signed a peace treaty with the Rashidun Caliphate. He used the pause to strengthen his defenses and consolidate Byzantine control over Armenia. Constans established the themata; dividing territorial command in Anatolia.
SH70012. Gold solidus, DOC II part 2, 25d; Wroth BMC 43; Morrisson BnF 48; Tolstoi 241; Ratto 1587 corr.; Hahn MIB 26; Sommer 12.18; SBCV 959, EF, weight 4.367 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 225o, 4th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 654 - 659 A.D.; obverse d N CONSTANTINUS C CONST, facing busts of Constans & Constantine IV (beardless) each wearing crown and chlamys, cross between their heads; reverse VICTORIA AVGy ∆, cross potent on three steps, CONOB in exergue; $600.00 (€522.00)


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; $600.00 (€522.00)




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REFERENCES

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).
Füeg, F. Corpus of the Nomismata from Anastasius II to John I in Constantinople, 713 - 976. (2007).
Füeg, 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 Bibliothèque Nationale. (Paris, 1970).
Sear, D. R. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
Ratto, R. Monnaies Byzantines et d'autre Pays contemporaines à l'époque 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 Saturday, April 25, 2015.
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Byzantine Coins of Byzantine Gold