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Rare Byzantine Coins
Byzantine Empire, Nicephorus Basilacius, Usurper, Summer 1078 A.D., Anonymous Class N Follis

|Nicephorus| |Basilacius|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Nicephorus| |Basilacius,| |Usurper,| |Summer| |1078| |A.D.,| |Anonymous| |Class| |N| |Follis||follis|
Until 1976 this type was regarded as anonymous (Class N) because neither of the two known specimens had a visible legend. In 1976, Grierson published a new specimen with a legend naming the ruler, Nicephorus (Grierson, P. "Nicephorus Bryennius or Nicephorus Basilacius?" in NumCirc LXXXIV.1 (January 1976), type a). There were two candidates, Nicephorus Bryennius and Nicephorus Basilacius, both usurpers, Bryennius in 1077 - 1078, and Basilacius in Thessalonica for a few months during 1078. In 1992, Roger Bland published an example with the legend on the obverse right side reading POCBAC, which has been accepted as proving this type was struck by Basilacius (Bland, R. "A Follis of Nicephorus Basilacius?" NC 1992, p. 175 ff. and pl. 36, B). Our coin has a different more complete but blundered and obscure inscription on the obverse right side.
BZ99035. Bronze follis, DOC III-2 p. 706, N.1 (anonymous class N follis); Grierson 1976, type a; Bland Basilacius pl. 36, B; SBCV 1903A (Ex. Rare); Sommer 58.1, F, uneven strike, overstruck with strong undertype effects, weight 5.863 g, maximum diameter 30.7 mm, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, summer 1078 A.D.; obverse +NIKHΦW-POC BACIΛE (or similar), facing bust of Christ, nimbus cross with plain arms, wearing tunic and himation, right hand raised in blessing, Gospels in left, IC-XC flanking across field; reverse patriarchal cross on base; IC-XC / NI-KA (Jesus Christ conquers) in the quarters; from a Las Vegas dealer; extremely rare; $800.00 SALE PRICE $720.00


Byzantine Empire, Justinian II, 10 July 685 - Late 695 and Summer 705 - 4 November 711 A.D.

|Justinian| |II|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Justinian| |II,| |10| |July| |685| |-| |Late| |695| |and| |Summer| |705| |-| |4| |November| |711| |A.D.||half| |follis|
Justinian II took the throne at the young age of sixteen. He achieved a peace treaty with the Arabs early in his reign and was able to make progress on the Balkan troubles. He was the first of the Byzantine emperors to put the likeness of Christ on his coinage. After ten years of rule, he was overthrown by the general Leontius; his tongue and nose were slit and he was exiled. In 705, Justinian II returned to Constantinople with an army of Bulgars and Slavs. He gained entrance to the city by climbing through an aqueduct pipe and with the advantage of surprise regained his throne. Both Leontius and Tiberius (who succeeded Leontius) were dragged through the streets in chains and beheaded. His revenge soon developed into a reign of terror. A rebellion started in the army and the general Bardanes was named Emperor. Justinian II and his son, Tiberius, age 6, were put to death.
BZ99075. Bronze half follis, DOC II-2 20a; SBCV 1262; Sommer 14.10; Hahn MIB 47; Morrison BnF p. 407, type 2 (not in the collection); Wroth BMC -, Ratto -, Tolstoi -, aVF, attractive dark green patina, light earthen deposits, irregular ragged edge, overstruck on an earlier follis or half follis, weight 3.322 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1st reign, c. 686 - 687 A.D.; obverse bust facing, short beard, wearing crown with cross and chlamys, globus cruciger in right; star left from undertype; reverse large K (20 nummi), cross above, A/N/N/O in a downward column left, II (regnal year 2) right, Γ (3rd officina) below, remnants of undertype; first specimen of this type held by FORVM; rare; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


Byzantine Empire, Nicephorus III Botaniates, 7 January 1078 - 1 April 1081

|Nicephorus| |III|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Nicephorus| |III| |Botaniates,| |7| |January| |1078| |-| |1| |April| |1081||follis|
After the inept rule of Michael VII led to several revolts, Nicephorus seized the capitol and was crowned emperor. His wife died shortly after. To gain the aura of royalty and the support of the powerful Ducas family, he married Michael's wife, Empress Maria of Alania (despite that her husband was still alive). Instead of strengthening his position, the marriage would lead to his downfall. In order to ensure the succession of her son Constantine, Empress Maria conspired with Alexius Comnenus to dispose of Nicephorus. Just as Nicephorus had banished Michael to a monastery, Alexius Comnenus banished Nicephorus to a monastery. He died soon after.
BZ99036. Bronze follis, DOC III-2 9, Morrisson BnF 56/Cp/AE/02, Wroth BMC 12, Ratto 2053, Sommer 56.5, SBCV 1888, VF, dark green patina, scratches, light deposits, overstruck (on anonymous follis class H?), weight 6.954 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 0o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 7 Jan 1078 - 1 Apr 1081; obverse 3/4 length figure of Christ standing facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right hand in benediction, Gospels in left hand, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Iησοúς Xριστος - Jesus Christ) above stars left and right; reverse cross with pellet at each end, eight ray star in circle at center, C - Φ / N − ∆ (Greek abbreviation: Σταυρε Φυλαττε Nικηφοπον ∆εσποτη - May the cross protect Despot Nicephorus) in the quarters of cross; from a Las Vegas dealer; rare; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00


Byzantine Empire, Andronicus I, September 1183 - 12 September 1185 A.D.

|Andronicus| |I|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Andronicus| |I,| |September| |1183| |-| |12| |September| |1185| |A.D.||half| |tetarteron|
Marchev and Watcher suggest the scarcity of this type my be due to limited or no minting during the Norman siege of Thessalonica.
BZ95147. Bronze half tetarteron, CLBC 5.4.4; DOC IV-1 8; SBCV 1989; Hendy pl. 19, 4; Morrisson BnF - (p. 731); Wroth BMC 17-18; Ratto 2172; Sommer 62.6; Grierson 1115, aVF, weak strike, ragged flan with edge splits typical of type, weight 1.781 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, Sep 1183 - 12 Sep 1185 A.D.; obverse facing bust of the Virgin Orans, nimbate, wearing pallium and maphorium, the nimbate head of the infant Christ on her chest, MP - ΘV (Greek abbreviation: Mητηρ Θεου - Mother of God) across field; reverse AN∆PO, half-length figure of Andronicus facing with forked beard, wearing crown, scaramangion and sagion, labarum in left hand, globus cruciger in right hand; from the S. Lindner Collection; rare; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00


Byzantine Empire, Alexius III Angelus-Comnenus, 8 April 1195 - 17 July 1203

|Alexius| |III|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Alexius| |III| |Angelus-Comnenus,| |8| |April| |1195| |-| |17| |July| |1203||tetarteron|
According to the Golden Legend, a plague-bearing dragon lived in a lake near a city called Silene, in Libya. To appease the dragon, the people fed it two sheep every day. When the sheep failed, they fed it their children, chosen by lottery. It happened that the lot fell on the king's daughter, Sabra. Sabra was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon. Saint George was ridding past when dragon reared out of the lake. He fortified himself with the Sign of the Cross charged it on horseback with his lance, and gave it a grievous wound. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle. After he put it around its neck, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash. The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene. It terrified the people at its approach, but Saint George called out to them, saying that if they consented to become Christians and be baptized, he would slay the dragon. The king and the people converted to Christianity and George slew the dragon. On the site where the dragon died, the king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint George, and from its altar a spring arose whose waters cured all disease.
BZ99288. Bronze tetarteron, DOC IV-1 5a.2; CLBC I 8.4.3; Morrison BnF 1; Hendy p. 152 & pl. 23, 9; Wroth BMC 39; Grierson 1138; Ratto 2214; SBCV 2015; Sommer 66.6, F, near black patina, tight square flan, some corrosion, weight 4.411 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 8 Apr 1195 - 17 Jul 1203; obverse half-length facing bust of St. George, beardless and nimbate, wearing military attire: cuirass and sagion, transverse spear in right hand, left hand resting on hilt of sword, O / ΓE/WP-ΓI/OC (in columns in left and right fields); reverse AΛEΣIOC - ∆ECΠOTHC (or similar), half length figure of Alexius standing facing, wearing crown, divitision, and chlamys, labarum in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand; from the S. Lindner Collection; rare; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00


Byzantine Empire, Constans II, September 641 - 15 July 668 A.D.

|Constans| |II|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Constans| |II,| |September| |641| |-| |15| |July| |668| |A.D.||12| |nummi|
On 8 November 641, after a fourteen month siege, Alexandria capitulated to the Arab Muslims. In late 645 the Byzantines recaptured Alexandria but lost it again in May 646. This coin may have been struck either during the siege or during the short lived recovery. The last Byzantine attempt to recover Alexandria failed in 654.
BZ94898. Bronze 12 nummi, DOC II-2 105; Morrisson BnF p. 350, 13/Al/AE/01; Hahn MIB 189; Ratto 1321 (Heraclius); SBCV 1027; Sommer 12.63; Wroth BMC -; Tolstoi -, gF, earthen deposits, overstruck, weight 7.571 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria mint, Sep - Nov 641 and/or late 645 - May 646; obverse Constans II standing facing, beardless, wearing crown and chlamys, long cross in left hand, globus cruciger in right hand, no legend; reverse large I-B (12 nummi), divided by cross potent on globe, pellet outer right and outer left, AΛEZ (Alexandria) in exergue; from the Ray Nouri Collection; rare; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


Byzantine Empire, Constans II, September 641 - 15 July 668 A.D.

|Constans| |II|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Constans| |II,| |September| |641| |-| |15| |July| |668| |A.D.||12| |nummi|
On 8 November 641, after a fourteen month siege, Alexandria capitulated to the Arab Muslims. In late 645 the Byzantines recaptured Alexandria but lost it again in May 646. This coin may have been struck either during the siege or during the short lived recovery. The last Byzantine attempt to recover Alexandria failed in 654.
BZ94899. Bronze 12 nummi, DOC II-2 105; Morrisson BnF p. 350, 13/Al/AE/01; Hahn MIB 189; Ratto 1321 (Heraclius); SBCV 1027; Sommer 12.63; Wroth BMC -; Tolstoi -, F, thick earthen deposits, weight 7.962 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria mint, Sep - Nov 641 and/or late 645 - May 646; obverse Constans II standing facing, beardless, wearing crown and chlamys, long cross in left hand, globus cruciger in right hand, no legend; reverse large I-B (12 nummi), divided by cross potent on globe, pellet outer right and outer left, AΛEZ (Alexandria) in exergue; from the Ray Nouri Collection; rare; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


Byzantine Empire, Andronicus II Palaeologus and Michael IX, 21 May 1295 - 12 October 1320 A.D.

|Andronicus| |II|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Andronicus| |II| |Palaeologus| |and| |Michael| |IX,| |21| |May| |1295| |-| |12| |October| |1320| |A.D.||trachy|
Although a brave and energetic soldier, Michael IX was defeated again and again. He made peace with Bulgaria by marrying his daughter to the Bulgarian emperor. After another defeat, he retired to Thessalonica, where his premature death at age 43 was in part due to grief over the accidental murder of his younger son Manuel by retainers of his older son Andronikos III.
BZ98876. Bronze trachy, DOC V 765; Grierson 1466; B-D LPC p. 230, 5; Bendall PCPC 229; SBCV 2457; Sommer 80.27, aF, scyphate, dark green patina, scratches, porosity, double struck, off center, edge splits, weight 1.212 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 21 May 1295 - 12 Oct 1320; obverse six-petaled flower; reverse Michael on left, standing facing, beardless, scepter in left hand, akakia in right hand; Andronicus on right, bearded, standing facing, crowning Michael with right hand, scepter in left hand; rare; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00


Byzantine Empire, Andronicus II Palaeologus and Michael IX, 21 May 1295 - 12 October 1320 A.D.

|Andronicus| |II|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Andronicus| |II| |Palaeologus| |and| |Michael| |IX,| |21| |May| |1295| |-| |12| |October| |1320| |A.D.||trachy|
Although a brave and energetic soldier, Michael IX was defeated again and again. He made peace with Bulgaria by marrying his daughter to the Bulgarian emperor. After another defeat, he retired to Thessalonica, where his premature death at age 43 was in part due to grief over the accidental murder of his younger son Manuel by retainers of his older son Andronikos III.
BZ98878. Bronze trachy, DOC V 778; B-D LPC p. 232, 6; Bendall PCPC 235; Lianta 814; Sommer 80.28; SBCV 2458, Fair/aF, scyphate, green patina, scratches, encrustations, weight 1.310 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 21 May 1295 - 12 Oct 1320 A.D.; obverse two concentric circles bisected by three vertical lines; reverse three-quarter length figures of Andronicus, on left, and Michael, on right, holding between them a staff topped with a cross within ring; first specimen of this type handled by FORVM; very rare; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00


Byzantine Empire, Justinian II, 10 July 685 - Late 695 and Summer 705 - 4 November 711 A.D.

|Justinian| |II|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Justinian| |II,| |10| |July| |685| |-| |Late| |695| |and| |Summer| |705| |-| |4| |November| |711| |A.D.||solidus|
The portrait on this coin was based on an icon believed by the people of the time to bear a miraculous resemblance to Christs actual appearance.
SH21619. Gold solidus, DOC II-2 2b, Wroth BMC 1, Morrisson BnF 15/Cp/AV/12, Tolstoi 1, Ratto 1705, Hahn MIB 2b, Sommer 17.3, SBCV 1415, EF, weight 4.239 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 705 - 711 A.D.; obverse O N IhS ChS REX REGNANTIYM, bust of Christ facing, curly hair, short beard, wearing pallium and colobium, Gospels in left, cross behind head; reverse IYSTINIANYS ET TIbERIYS PP A, Justinian (on left) and Tiberius, half-length facing, each wears crown, divitision and chlamys, holding cross potent on three steps in center; very rare; SOLD







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REFERENCES|

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