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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Byzantine Coins| ▸ |Comnen Dynasty| ▸ |Alexius I||View Options:  |  |  |   

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

Joint rule with John II (his eldest son), 1092 - 15 August 1118 A.D.
Alexius I, Comnenus got help from the Venetians early in his reign, and succeeded in putting an end to the Norman threat. Alexius was responsible for a fair amount of reconstruction of the Byzantine Empire. He also brought about monetary reform in 1092. This was made necessary by the trade concessions made to the Venetians in return for their help with the Normans. His wife, Irene Dukaina, is also represented on his coinage. Alexius established a mint at Thessalonica, where his rival Nicephorus had minted coins before Alexius defeated him. This mint supplied "coin of the realm" to the Balkans. Alexius I was succeeded by his son and co-emperor, John II.
Byzantium Empire 1081 AD


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In the Dumbarton Oaks catalog, Michael Hendy identifies this as a transitional coinage. David Sear lists it as extremely rare.
SH76239. Electrum histamenon nomisma, DOC IIII 4; Wroth BMC 14 (Alexius III); Hendy pl. 1, 9; SBCV 1904; Sommer 59.7; Morrisson BnF -; Ratto -, aEF, well centered, nice portrait of Christ, hairline crack, some strike slip, weight 4.313 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 1081 - 1082 A.D.; obverse + KE RΘ AΛEZ (or similar), bust of Christ Pantokrator facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, holding books of Gospel, Greeks IC - XC across field; reverse St. Demetrius, on left, standing right, nimbate, holding parazonium and presenting labarum to Alexius, standing facing, wearing loros and crown with cross and pendilia, ∆I/MI/TI in three lines on left, ∆/EC/Π/T/H in five lines on left; ex Rudnik Numismatics; very rare; SOLD


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SH15295. Electrum histamenon nomisma, SBCV 1893, aEF, weight 4.422 g, maximum diameter 31.2 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1081 - 1092 A.D.; obverse IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Jesus Christ), Christ enthroned facing on square-backed throne, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right in benediction, gospels in left, double border; reverse + AΛEIIW ∆ECΠOT TW KM, bust facing wearing crown and jeweled chlamys, holding scepter surmounted by star of eight pellets in right and globus cruciger in left; superb obverse strike, flan cracks; scarce; SOLD


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According to CLBC I the weight of this type varies from 0.59 to 3.22 grams, with an average diameter of 18mm. Some examples are so small and light that it appears they could be half tetarteron. Despite the unusual variation in flan size, Marchev and Watcher note they were all struck with the same size dies and all examples are probably tetarteron.
BZ66601. Bronze tetarteron, Hendy p. 89 & p. 8, 14; DOC IV part 1, 45b; CLBC I 2.4.8; Ratto 2087; Grierson 1063; Sommer 59.27; SBCV 1932, gVF, tight flan, weight 1.190 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Greek mint, 1092 - 1118 A.D.; obverse patriarchal cross on two steps, A - A / K - Φ (or similar) flanking in two divided lines across field; reverse AΛE-ZI (or similar), bust facing wearing crown, stemma, divitision, and jeweled loros, jeweled scepter in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand; SOLD


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SH04596. Electrum histamenon nomisma, SBCV 1893, gVF, weight 4.35 g, maximum diameter 31.8 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1081 - 1092 A.D.; obverse IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Jesus Christ), Christ enthroned facing on square-backed throne, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right in benediction, gospels in left, double border; reverse +ALEZIw ∆ECΠOT TW KM, (or similar which translates, May the Lord help Alexius the Emperor, of the family Comnenus), Alexius' bust facing wearing crown and jeweled chlamys, holding scepter in right and globus cruciger in left; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Alexius I and John II, Autumn 1092 - 15 August 1118 A.D., John II Coronation Issue

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Issued for celebrations throughout the Empire to honor the coronation of John II as co-emperor in 1092. This scarce type and two rare types issued for the coronation, are traditionally identified as the earliest tetarteron. They may actually be sphragidia that were distributed only to a select group of people who participated in the celebrations, or for charitable purposes.
BZ53323. Lead tetarteron, DOC IV part 1, 42.2 ff.; Grierson 1046 (Constantinople, half tetarteron), SBCV -, aF, weight 3.474 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain mint, c. 1092 - 1093 A.D.; obverse IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Jesus Christ), bust of Christ facing, nimbate, bearded, wearing tunic and colobium, open Gospels in left; reverse AΛCE ∆EC, bust of Alexius facing, wearing stemma, divitision, and jeweled loros, cruciform scepter in right, globus cruciger in left; scarce; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Alexius I, Irene and John II, Autumn 1092 - 15 August 1118 A.D., John II Coronation Issue

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Issued for celebrations throughout the Empire to honor the coronation of John II as co-emperor in 1092. This very rare type and two other types also issued for the coronation, are traditionally identified as the earliest tetarteron. They may actually be sphragidia that were distributed only to a select group of people who participated in the celebrations, or for charitable purposes.
BZ53331. Lead tetarteron, DOC IV-1 32; Grierson 1033; SBCV -, aF, weight 3.799 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, John II coronation issue, autumn 1092; obverse IΩ∆ECΠOT, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Jesus Christ) in fields above, half-length figures of Christ (on left) and John II holding labarum between them, Christ is bearded and wears tunic and kolobion, John wears stemma, divitision, collar-piece and jeweled loros; reverse ΛΛEZIΩ EIPHNH, half-length figures of Alexis (on left) and Irene, holding long cross between them, both wear stemma, divitision, collar-piece and jeweled loros; very rare; SOLD


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

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On 8 April 1093, construction of Winchester Cathedral in England was completed by Bishop Walkelin.
BZ82688. Bronze tetarteron, DOC IV-1 34; Morrisson BnF 59/Cp/AE/04; SBCV 1921; Sommer 59.20; Wroth BMC 33; Ratto 2079; Hendy pl. 8, 1-2, VF, very nice for the type, green patina with buff earthen highlighting, typical tight irregular flan, weight 3.958 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople mint, 1092 - 1093 A.D.; obverse bust of Christ facing, cross behind head, wearing pallium and kolobion, holding book of Gospels in left hand, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Iisoús Xristós - Jesus Christ) flanking across field; reverse + AΛZI ∆ECΠ (or similar), Alexius bust facing, wearing crown and loros, jeweled (5 globules) scepter in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand; the first example of this type handled by Forum, only two on Coin Archives; very rare; SOLD


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This type was the last Byzantine follis.
BZ37080. Bronze follis, SBCV 1911, VF, weight 4.747 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, obverse Patriarchal cross on two steps, IC - XC / NI-KA across fields; reverse CEP CVN/EPΓEI BA/CIΛEI AΛ/EΞIW in four lines, cross above; scarce; SOLD


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This type was the last Byzantine follis.
BZ37081. Bronze follis, SBCV 1911, aVF, weight 7.448 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, obverse Patriarchal cross on two steps, IC - XC / NI-KA across fields; reverse CEP CVN/EPΓEI BA/CIΛEI AΛ/EΞIW in four lines, cross above; scarce; SOLD


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Sear puts Alexis on the obverse. Dumbarton Oaks puts Alexis on the reverse. From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer for 40 years and co-author of Coins of the Crusader States. Ex John J. Slocum Collection.
BZ32364. Bronze tetarteron, SBCV 1931; DOC IV part 1, 40; Berk 976, VF, irregular flan, weight 3.105 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 4th coinage, 1093 - 1118 A.D.; obverse bust facing wearing crown and loros, holding cruciform scepter in right, globus cruciger in left; reverse jeweled cross with globus at each extremity, X at center, two steps below, C - Φ / AΛ − ∆; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Bellinger, A.R. Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection, Vol. IV, Part 1: Alexius I to Alexius V (1081-1204). (Washington D.C., 1966).
Berk, H.J. Eastern Roman Successors of the Sestertius. (Chicago, 1987).
Berk, H.J. Roman Gold Coins of the Medieval World, 383 - 1453 A.D. (Joliet, IL, 1986).
Grierson, P. Byzantine Coins. (London, 1982).
Hendy, M. Coinage and Money in the Byzantine Empire 1081-1261. (Washington D.C., 1969).
Marchev, V. and R. Wachter. Catalogue of the Late Byzantine Coins, Vol. I, 1082 - 1261 AD. (Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, 2011).
Morrisson, C. Catalogue des Monnaies Byzantines de la Bibliothèque Nationale II, 711 - 1204. (Paris, 1970).
Ratto, R. Monnaies Byzantines et d'autre Pays contemporaines à l'époque byzantine. (Lugano, 1930).
Sabatier, J. Description générale des monnaies Byzantines. (Paris, 1863).
Sear, D.R. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
Sommer, A.U. Die Münzen des Byzantinischen Reiches 491-1453. Mit einem Anhang: Die Münzen des Kaiserreichs von Trapezunt. (Regenstauf, 2010).
Tolstoi, I. Monnaies byzantines. (St. Petersburg, 1913 - 14).
Wroth, W. Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum. (London, 1908).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, October 16, 2019.
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Byzantine Coins of Alexius I