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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.


Syracuse, Sicily, Deinomenid Tyranny, Time of Hieron, c. 478 - 467 B.C.

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From the height of Syracuse preeminence amongst the Sicilian Greeks, shortly after the great victory over the Carthaginian invaders at Himera in 480 B.C.
SH86274. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer 338 (V166/R236); Randazzo 507 - 509 (same dies); SNG ANS -, gVF, fantastic style, toned, centered on a tight flan, small areas struck a little flat, marks, pre-strike flan casting sprues remaining (as usual for the type), weight 16.971 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 478 - 467 B.C.; obverse slow quadriga driven right by male charioteer, kentron in right hand, reigns in left hand, Nike above flying right crowning horses; reverse ΣVRA-KOS-I-ON (Latin R upside down, N reversed), Artemis-Arethusa right, archaic eye, hair slightly waved in front turned up in a krobylos under a diadem of beads, wearing earring and necklace, surrounded by four dolphins swimming clockwise; ex Roma Numismatics, auction 6 (29 Sep 2013), lot 441; ex Comery Collection; $2500.00 (€2125.00)


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

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Leontius' success as a general forced the Arab Caliph Abd al-Malik to make concessions and pay tribute to Emperor Justinian II; but when war was renewed, Leontius was defeated. Furious over the loss, Justinian imprisoned him for two years. When he was freed, Leontius and his former prison comrades organized a revolt, and he took the throne. Justinian was deposed, his nose and tongue were slit and he was exiled to a monastery. After the Arabs took Carthage, the fleet Leontius sent to retake the city failed. Rather than report defeat to the emperor, the army overthrew their admiral and named Apsimar, a Germanic sailor, as their leader. Apsimar changed his name to Tiberius, returned to Constantinople, seized the thrown, cut off Leontius' nose and ears and exiled him to a monastery. In 705, Justinian II returned to Constantinople with an army of Bulgars and Slavs. Both Leontius and Tiberius were dragged through the streets in chains and beheaded.
SH83907. Gold tremissis, DOC II 4, SBCV 1333, Hahn MIB III 5, Sommer 15.3, Ratto 1731, Berk Gold 191, Morrisson BnF - (p. 417), VF, uneven strike, tight flan, graffiti obverse right field, weight 1.330 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople mint, 695 - 698 A.D.; obverse D LEO-N PE AV, bearded facing bust, wearing loros and crown with cross, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVSY S, cross potent on base, CONOB in exergue; from the Robert Watcher Collection, ex Heritage auction 3002 (Long Beach, Sep 2008), lot 2013 (sold for $747.50 plus fees); rare; $720.00 (€612.00)


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

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Most references date this type to the joint reign of Michael II and his son Theophilus II (12 May 821 - 2 Oct 829 A.D.) Anastasi identified it as Theophilus' first issue after Michael's death (2 Oct 829 - 830 A.D.).

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.
SH83908. Gold solidus, DOC III, part 1, 15a; Anastasi 515c; Wroth BMC 11; Tolstoi 13; SBCV 1646; Sommer 30.6; Morrisson BnF -; Ratto -, VF, slightly irregular tight flan, weight 3.794 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 829 - 830 A.D.; obverse MI-XAHL bA, bearded facing bust of Michael, wearing chlamys and crown with cross, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse ΘE-OFILO bA, beardless facing bust of Theophilus, wearing loros and crown with cross, cross potent in right hand; from the Robert Watcher Collection; very rare; $640.00 (€544.00)


Byzantine Empire, Michael II and Theophilus, 12 May 821 - 2 October 829 A.D.

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Michael II started his career as a humble soldier. Leo V's assassination while trying to impose iconoclasm probably taught Michael a lesson, as he chose to remain religiously neutral. With Bulgarian help, he defeated the usurper Thomas, who with his Arab allies even besieged Constantinople for one year. Even after the rebellion was crushed, the Arabs still occupied Crete and initiated an invasion of Sicily.
SH83906. Gold tremissis, Morrisson BnF 31/Cp/AV/2 corr. (solidi); Anastasi 511; DOC III 18 (not in collection, refs BnF); SBCV 1650; BMC -; Sommer -; Tolstoi -; Ratto -, EF, tight flan, weight 1.275 g, maximum diameter 12.8 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 821 - 829 A.D.; obverse MI-XAHL bA, bearded facing bust of Michael, wearing chlamys and crown with cross, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse ΘE-OFILO b, bearded facing bust of Theophilus, wearing chlamys and crown with cross, cross potent in right hand, cross in right field; from the Robert Watcher Collection, ex Savoca Numismatik; very rare; $570.00 (€484.50)


Roman Republic, M. Junius Brutus (Q. Caepio Brutus), 54 B.C.

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M. Junius Brutus (also called Q. Caepio Brutus) is the most famous of Caesars assassins. Many of Brutus' coins honor his ancestors and illustrate his strong republican views. The obverse honors L. Junius Brutus, the consul who in 509 B.C. forced the expulsion of the Tarquin Kings from Rome and founded the Republic. The reverse honors Gaius Servilius Ahala, who threw Spurius Maelius down from the Tarpeian rock to his death for plotting against the Republic and aspiring to tyranny. Caesar should not have been surprised by Brutus!
RR86434. Silver denarius, RSC I Junia 30, Sydenham 907, Crawford 433/2, BMCRR I Rome 3864, Russo RBW 1543, SRCV I 398, VF, iridescent toning, obverse a little off center, scratches, weight 3.542 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 54 B.C.; obverse bearded bare head of L. Junius Brutus (consul 509 B.C.), BRVTVS behind; reverse bearded bare head of C. Servilius Ahala (master of the horse 439 B.C.), AHALA behind; $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; $480.00 (€408.00)


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; $400.00 (€340.00)


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.
BZ86181. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, class A3; SBCV 1818; Grierson ornaments 45, Nice gVF, well centered, attractive toned bronze surfaces, weight 8.872 g, maximum diameter 26.0 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 crescents in each limb of cross, pallium, and colobium, holding gospels with both hands, 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 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)




  






REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Monday, December 11, 2017.
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Byzantine Coins