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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Byzantine CoinsView Options:  |  |  |   

Byzantine Coins

Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Roman Empire to the former Byzantium in Thrace and renamed it Constantinopolis, present day Istanbul, Turkey. Numismatists, for convenience, have arbitrarily categorized coins from Anastasius I and after as Byzantine coins. Numismatists use Anastasius as the beginning of Byzantine because he dramatically reformed the bronze coinage. A significant minority of numismatists pick an earlier time and ruler, often Constantine the Great, as the dividing time between the Roman and Byzantine empires, because most coins were issued from Constantinople, or since it became the seat of government. Although the citizens generally spoke Greek, they considered themselves Roman for the entire Byzantine period, making our division of the empire an entirely modern convention.


Byzantine Empire, Anastasius II Artemius, 3 June 713 - November 715

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Anastasius II was originally named Artemius and was an imperial secretary. After the Opsician army in Thrace had overthrown Philippicus, they acclaimed Artemius as Emperor. He chose Anastasius as his regnal name. Soon after, Anastasius II executed the officers who were directly involved in the conspiracy against Philippicus. As the advancing Umayyad Caliphate surrounded the Empire, after diplomacy failed, he undertook the restoration of Constantinople's walls and the rebuilding of the Roman fleet. The death of the Caliph al-Walid I in 715 gave Anastasius an opportunity to turn the tables. He dispatched an army under Leo the Isaurian, afterwards emperor, to invade Syria, and he had his fleet concentrate on Rhodes with orders not only to resist the approach of the enemy but to destroy their naval stores. These troops of the Opsician theme, resenting the Emperor's strict measures, mutinied, slew the admiral John, and proclaimed as emperor Theodosius III, a tax-collector of low extraction. After a six-month siege, Constantinople was taken by Theodosius. Anastasius, who had fled to Nicaea, was eventually compelled to retire to a monastery in Thessalonica. In 719, Anastasius headed a revolt against Leo III, who had succeeded Theodosius. The attempt failed and Anastasius was put to death.
SH86351. Gold solidus, Feg Nomismata 2.F.3 (same rev. die), Morrison BnF 20/Cp/AV/2, DOC II- 2e (not in coll. refs. W.), Wroth BMC 4, Hahn MIB 2, Sommer 19.1, SBCV 1463, gVF, areas not fully struck, tight flan and reverse slightly off center cutting off tops of some legend, bumps and marks, weight 4.318 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, 6th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 3 Jun 713 Nov 715; obverse d N APTEMIVS ANASTASIVS MVLA, facing crowned and draped bust, globus cruciger in left hand, akakia in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVSV S, cross potent, on base and three steps, CONOB in exergue; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 196 (7 March 2011), lot 3134 (misattributed); scarce emperor; $1440.00 (1224.00)


Byzantine Empire, Revolt of the Heraclii, 608 - 5 Oct 610 A.D.

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Heraclius the Elder, possibly of Armenian origin, was a Byzantine general and the father of Byzantine emperor Heraclius. He distinguished himself in the war against the Sassanid Persians in the 580s, was a subordinate general under Philippicus during the Battle of Solachon, and possibly served under Comentiolus during the Battle of Sisarbanon. About 595, Heraclius the Elder is mentioned as a magister militum per Armeniam sent by Emperor Maurice to quell an Armenian rebellion led by Samuel Vahewuni and Atat Khorkhoruni. About 600, he was appointed as the Exarch of Africa and in 608, Heraclius the Elder rebelled with his son against the usurper Phocas. Using North Africa as a base, the younger Heraclius managed to overthrow Phocas, beginning the Heraclian dynasty, which would rule Byzantium for a century. Heraclius the Elder died soon after receiving news of his son's accession to the Byzantine throne.
BZ86356. Bronze follis, DOC II-2 16, Morrison BnF 9/Ax/AE/01, Hahn MIBEC 16a, Grierson 164, Tolstoi 279, SBCV 722, Sommer -, Ratto -, VF, rev. a little off center cutting off part of mintmark, scratches, overstruck, weight 11.035 g, maximum diameter 30.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Alexandria or Alexandretta mint, Sep - Oct 610 A.D.; obverse dm N ERACLIO CONSULII, facing busts of Heraclius and his father, both bearded, bareheaded and wearing consular robes, cross above center; reverse large M (40 nummi), cross above, ANNO left, X/IIII (year 14) on right, A (1st officina) below, AΛEZAN∆ in exergue; rare; $850.00 (722.50)


Byzantine Empire, Revolt of the Heraclii, 608 - 5 Oct 610 A.D.

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Heraclius the Elder, possibly of Armenian origin, was a Byzantine general and the father of Byzantine emperor Heraclius. He distinguished himself in the war against the Sassanid Persians in the 580s, was a subordinate general under Philippicus during the Battle of Solachon, and possibly served under Comentiolus during the Battle of Sisarbanon. About 595, Heraclius the Elder is mentioned as a magister militum per Armeniam sent by Emperor Maurice to quell an Armenian rebellion led by Samuel Vahewuni and Atat Khorkhoruni. About 600, he was appointed as the Exarch of Africa and in 608, Heraclius the Elder rebelled with his son against the usurper Phocas. Using North Africa as a base, the younger Heraclius managed to overthrow Phocas, beginning the Heraclian dynasty, which would rule Byzantium for a century. Heraclius the Elder died soon after receiving news of his son's accession to the Byzantine throne.
BZ86357. Bronze follis, DOC II 16, Morrison BnF 9/Ax/AE/02, Hahn MIBEC 16a, Grierson 164, Tolstoi 279, SBCV 722, Sommer -, Ratto -, aF, uneven strike, a little off center, scratches, overstruck, edge cracks, weight 5.587 g, maximum diameter 29.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Alexandria or Alexandretta mint, Sep - Oct 610 A.D.; obverse dm N ERACLIO CONSULII, facing busts of Heraclius and his father, both bearded, bareheaded and wearing consular robes, cross above center; reverse Large M (40 nummi), cross above, ANNO left, X/IIII (year 14) on right, A (1st officina) below, AΛEZAN∆ in exergue; rare; $500.00 (425.00)


Byzantine Empire, Leontius, 695 - 698 A.D.

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This half-follis of Leontius was first identified and published by S. J. Mansfield, in "A New Coin of the Byzantine Emperor Leontius" in Numismatic Circular, Nov 1999. It is otherwise unpublished and this is the second known specimen.
BZ73337. Bronze half follis, Mansfield, S. J., A New Coin of the Byzantine Emperor Leontius in Num. Circ., Nov 1999; DOC II part 2 -; Anastasi -, SBCV -, Hahn MIB III -, et al. -, F, rough green patina, weight 2.806 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 695 - 696 A.D.; obverse half length bust facing with short beard, wearing crown with cross and loros with pelleted lozenge pattern, akakia in right, globus cruciger in left; reverse large K (40 nummi), cruciform Leontius monogram (Anastasi monogram 5) above, cross left, I (year 1) right, SCL in exergue; great rarity, 2nd known; $430.00 (365.50)


Constantine IV Pogonatus, 15 July 668 - 10 July 685 A.D.

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Constantine IV Pogonatus should be credited with saving Europe from Muslim conquest. Beginning in 674, the great siege of Constantinople, by the caliph Muawiyah I, lasted four years. The newly invented famous "Greek Fire" made the city impregnable and the Arabs were forced to retreat. In 681 he deposed his two brothers. He was succeeded by his 16-year-old son Justinian II.
BZ84239. Bronze half follis, Anastasi 245, DOC II 67, Spahr 186, Hahn MIB III 112, SBCV 1214, Berk -, VF, green patina, rough, weight 2.566 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 679 - 681 A.D.; obverse helmeted and cuirassed bust facing slightly right, holding spear over shoulder; reverse large K, cross above, +AN-NO ∆ (year 4) flanking left and right; very rare; $360.00 (306.00)


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class A3, Basil II & Constantine VIII, c. 1023 - 11 November 1028 A.D.

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The emperor's name and portrait are not part of the design on the Byzantine types referred to as anonymous folles. Instead of the earthly king, these coins depict Jesus Christ, King of Kings.
BZ86496. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, class A3; SBCV 1818; Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments 24a, EF, superb bust of Jesus Christ, reverse a little off center, uneven strike with weak areas, flan cracks, areas of minor corrosion, weight 12.455 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHL, facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger with two pellets in each limb of cross, pallium, and colobium, holding gospels with both hands, gospels ornamented with two pellets within a jeweled border, to left IC, to right XC; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Jesus Christ King of Kings), ornamentation above and below legend; $300.00 (255.00)


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class A3, Basil II & Constantine VIII, c. 1023 - 11 November 1028 A.D.

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This is a new ornaments variety, unlisted by Bellinger and Grierson, with one pellet in each limb of the nimbus cross, two pellets vertically arranged within a jeweled border on the Gospels and the ornamentation shown below under the reverse inscription. The ornamentation above the inscription is off flan but most likely the same as below. We have designated this new variety Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments F1c.

BZ86497. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, class A3; SBCV 1818; Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments F1c, gVF, attractive bust of Christ, tight ragged flan, bumps and marks, edge chip, weight 8.514 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 270o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHL, facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, holding gospels with both hands, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation for Jesus Christ) across field; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Jesus Christ King of Kings), ornamentation above and below legend; unpublished variety; $300.00 (255.00)


Byzantine Empire, Theophilus, 12 May 821 - 20 January 842 A.D.

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Theophilus was an accomplished scholar and highly cultured. Although he admired Arab art and civilization, he was obliged to expend much effort defending his eastern frontier against Mutasim, the Caliph of Baghdad. He died of dysentery.
BZ76335. Bronze follis, Anastasi 554b; Spahr 413; SBCV 1680; DOC III, part 1, 29; Sommer 31.13, Nice VF, broad heavy flan for the type, nice green patina, weight 5.418 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Sicily, Syracuse mint, 831 - 835 A.D.; obverse ΘEOFIL bAS, crowned bust facing, wearing loros, cross potent in right; reverse MIXHAL S CONST, facing busts of Michael II (left) and Constantine, each wears crown and chlamys, star above center; rare this size; $270.00 (229.50)


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class I, Nicephorus III, 7 January 1078 - 1 April 1081

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BZ86180. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, class I; SBCV 1889, gVF, excellent bust of Christ, weight 3.510 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 7 Jan 1078 - 1 Apr 1081; obverse Christ bust facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right in benediction, gospels in left; reverse Latin cross with X at center, globule and two pellets at each extremity, floral ornaments in lower fields, crescents in upper fields; $270.00 (229.50)


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class G, Romanus IV, 1 January 1068 - 19 August 1071 A.D.

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On "Anonymous Folles" the emperor's name and portrait are not part of the design, hence they are anonymous. Instead of the earthly king, these coins depict Jesus Christ, King of Kings.
BZ86179. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, class G; SBCV 1867, gVF, well centered, attractive style, overstruck, undertype effects on reverse, weight 9.940 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1 Jan 1068 - 19 Aug 1071 A.D.; obverse bust of Christ facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right in benediction, scroll in left hand, to left IC, to right XC, border of large pellets; reverse facing bust of the Virgin Orans, nimbate and wearing pallium and maphorium, to left MP, to right ΘV, border of large pellets; scarce; $250.00 (212.50)




  






REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Tuesday, April 24, 2018.
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Byzantine Coins