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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Medieval & Modern Coins| ▸ |Bulgaria||View Options:  |  |  |   

Coins of Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a Balkan nation with diverse terrain encompassing Black Sea coastline, a mountainous interior and rivers, including the Danube. A cultural melting pot with Greek, Slavic, Ottoman, and Persian influences, it has a rich heritage of traditional dance, music, costumes, and crafts. At the foot of domed Vitosha mountain is its capital city, Sofia, dating to the 5th century B.C.


Bulgaria, Second Empire, Early 14th Century A.D.

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The Second Bulgarian Empire, 1185 - 1396, reached its peak under Tsars Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II and was the dominant power in the Balkans until 1256. Bulgaria defeated the Byzantine Empire in several major battles. In 1205, Kaloyan defeated the newly established Latin Empire in the Battle of Adrianople. Ivan Asen II defeated the Despotate of Epiros and made Bulgaria a regional power. Bulgaria spread from the Adriatic to the Black Sea and the economy flourished. Tarnovo, the capitol, was considered a "New Constantinople" and became the cultural hub and the center of the Eastern Orthodox world. In the late 13th century, however, the Empire declined under constant invasions by Mongols, Byzantines, Hungarians, and Serbs, as well as internal unrest and revolts. The 14th century saw a temporary recovery and stability, the "Second Golden Age of Bulgarian culture," when literature and art flourished. This was also, however, a period of Balkan feudalism as central authorities gradually lost power in many regions. Bulgaria was divided into three parts before gradually being conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th and early 15th centuries.
ME85965. Silver gros, Imitative of a Venetian grosso of Giovanni Dandolo (1280-1289); Radushev-Zhekov Type 1.17.1, Youroukova-Penchev 160, Dochev Ė, gVF, well centered, weight 1.232 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain mint, early 14th century A.D.; obverse nimbate Christ Pantokrator enthroned facing, holding gospels in lap, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Iισους Xριστος - Jesus Christ) flanking Christ's head; reverse Doge, standing on left, receiving tall flag from St. Mark, standing on right, DVX down flag staff; very rare; SOLD


Bulgaria, Second Empire, Ivan Shishman, 1371 - 1395 A.D.

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Ivan Alexander divided his kingdom between his two sons. Ivan Shishman inherited the central portion of Bulgaria with the capital Tarnovo. In 1393, after three-month siege, Tarnovo fell to the Ottoman Empire. Ivan Shishman continued to rule in Nikopol as an Ottoman vassal but Sultan Bayezit I had him beheaded on June 3, 1395.
SH59927. Billon trachy, Radushev-Zhekov type 1.15. 15-16; Youroukova-Penchev 131, gVF, weight 1.120 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Tarnovo mint, 1371 - 1393; obverse rampant lion left; reverse Shishman tsar monogram; SOLD


Bulgars in Byzantine Bulgaria(?), Anonymous Follis of Christ, Imitative of Class A3, c. 1023 - 1040 A.D.

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This imitative was most likely struck by an unofficial mint in unruly Byzantine Bulgaria. In 1018, the Byzantine emperor Basil II conquered the First Bulgarian Empire. The Bulgarian aristocracy were given Byzantine titles and moved to Asia. The existing tax system, laws, and the role of low-ranking nobility remained, at first, unchanged. As the Byzantine Empire declined under Basil's successors, Pecheneg invasions and rising taxes led to discontent and major uprisings. Bulgaria remained under Byzantine rule until the brothers Asen and Peter liberated the country in 1185, establishing the Second Bulgarian Empire.
BZ86796. Bronze anonymous follis, See Lampinen Imitative, p. 54, for a similar Class A imitative; prototype: Basil II & Constantine VIII, 1023-1028, SBCV 1818, VF, somewhat weak strike, other than the small flan and retrograde reverse inscription the style is similar to the official prototype, weight 7.975 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial (Bulgarian?) mint, c. 1023 - 1040 A.D.; obverse facing nimbate bust of Christ, pallium and colobium, Gospels in both hands, no legend or inscription; reverse retrograde Greek inscription: + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings); SOLD


Bulgaria, Second Empire, Konstantin I Tikh, 1257 - 1277

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Read more about Konstantin I Tikh on Wikipedia.
SH59924. Bronze trachy, Radushev-Zhekov type 1.4.11, Youroukova-Penchev 42, gVF, nice green patina, weight 3.121 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 180o, obverse facing nimbate bust of Christ Pantokrator (Christ All-Powerful), IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Iισους Xριστος - Jesus Christ) flanking Christ's head; reverse Konstantine I turned facing on horseback right, patriarchal cross in right; SOLD


Bulgaria, Second Empire, Todor Svetoslav, 1300 - 1322

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Theodore Svetoslav was co-emperor with his father but was sent as hostage to Nogai Khan of the Mongol Golden Horde. His sister was married to Nogai's son Chaka. About 1299 he and brother-in-law Chaka invaded Bulgaria. He convinced the Bulgarian nobility to accept Chaka as Tsar, but then betrayed Chaka, had him murdered, and made himself Tsar in 1300.
SH59938. Silver grosch, Radushev-Zhekov type 1.8.1; Youroukova-Penchev 53, EF, weight 1.886 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 180o, obverse Christ Pantokrator enthroned facing, nimbate, raising right hand in blessing, gospels in left hand, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Iισους Xριστος - Jesus Christ) flanking Christ's head; reverse Todor Svetoslav standing facing, cruciform scepter in right; SOLD


Bulgarian Empire, Theodore Svetoslav, 1300 - 1322

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Tsar Theodore Svetoslav was a wise and capable ruler who brought stability and relative prosperity to the Bulgarian Empire after two decades of constant Mongol intervention in the internal issues of the Empire. His reign began with the recovery of Southern Bessarabia and a few years later defeated the Byzantines and took back most of northern Thrace occupied by them during the crisis. After 1307 he implemented a peaceful policy towards all neighbors which resulted in expanded trade and economic growth.
SH63694. Silver gros, Ljubitsch 11 (table II, 20), EF, weight 1.666 g, maximum diameter 21.74 mm, die axis 180o, Tirnovo mint, obverse Christ Pantokrator enthroned facing, nimbate, raising right hand in blessing, gospels in left hand, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Iισους Xριστος - Jesus Christ) flanking Christ's head; reverse the king standing facing, holding a cruciform scepter over his right shoulder; ex Gorny & Mosch, auction 201, lot 5132; rare; SOLD


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Mitso Asen was married to Maria, the daughter of Ivan Asen II (1218-1241). He took the throne in 1256 after the murder of her cousin, Kaliman Asen II. The nobility proclaimed Constantine Tikh tsar in 1257. Mitso had to flee to the court of Michael VIII Palaiologos at Nicaea from whom he received lands in Troas.
SH63701. Bronze trachy, Radushev-Zhekov type 1.6.2-5, Youroukova-Penchev 137, VF, double struck, weight 2.340 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 180o, Tarnovo mint, 1256 - 1257; obverse Nimbate facing half length figure of Saint Nicholas, raising right hand in benediction, Gospels in left; reverse half length figure of the Emperor, three pronged scepter in right over shoulder, cross in left, monogram on left; rare; SOLD


Bulgaria, Second Empire, Konstantin I Tikh, 1257 - 1277

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Read more about Konstantin I Tikh on Wikipedia.
ME34842. Copper trachy, Radushev-Zhekov type 1.4.11, Youroukova-Penchev 42, VF, weight 2.749 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 180o, obverse facing nimbate bust of Christ, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Iισους Xριστος - Jesus Christ) flanking Christ's head; reverse Konstantin on horseback right, holding patriarchal cross; rare; SOLD


Bulgaria, Ivan Alexander and Mikhail Asen, 1331 - 1355 A.D.

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Ivan Alexander met Byzantine and Serbian threats, and led economic recovery and a cultural renaissance. But later he was overwhelmed by Ottoman and Hungarian invasions, and the Black Death. In an ill-fated effort to combat these problems, he divided the country between his two sons. Bulgaria would face the imminent Ottoman conquest weakened and divided.
ME26458. Silver grosch, Radushev-Zhekov 1.13.3 - 6, Choice EF, weight 1.606 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 180o, 1331 - 1355 A.D.; obverse Christ, nimbate, enthroned, facing, with both hands raised in benediction, monogram either side; reverse Ivan and Mikhail standing facing, holding standard in center, two stars inner fields, monogram in outer fields; very nice for the type; SOLD


Bulgaria, Ivan Alexander and Mikhail Asen, 1331 - 1355 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
Ivan Alexander met Byzantine and Serbian threats, and led economic recovery and a cultural renaissance. But later he was overwhelmed by Ottoman and Hungarian invasions, and the Black Death. In an ill-fated effort to combat these problems, he divided the country between his two sons. Bulgaria would face the imminent Ottoman conquest weakened and divided.
ME26459. Silver grosch, Radushev-Zhekov 1.13.3 - 6, EF, weight 1.765 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 180o, 1331 - 1355 A.D.; obverse Christ, nimbate, enthroned, facing, with both hands raised in benediction, monogram either side; reverse Ivan and Mikhail standing facing, holding standard in center, two stars inner fields, monogram in outer fields; very nice for the type; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Dimnik, M. & J. Dobrinić. Medieval Slavic Coinages in the Balkans. (London, 2008).
Dochev, K. Coins and Coin Usage in Turnovo (XII-XIV c.). (Tirnovo, 1992).
Jordanov, I. Corpus of Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria. (Sofia, 2003).
Krause, C. & C. Mishler. Standard Catalog of World Coins. (Iola, WI, 2010 - ).
Mouchmoff, A. Numismatique et Sigillographie Bulgares. (Sofia 1924).
Raduchev A. & G. Zhekov. Catalogue of Bulgarian Coins. (Sophia, 1999).
Romanoff, D. The Orders, Medals and History of the Kingdom of Bulgaria. (Denmark, 1982).
Youroukova P. & V. Penchev. Bulgarian Medieval Coins and Seals. (Sofia, 1990).

Catalog current as of Thursday, October 17, 2019.
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Bulgarian Coins