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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Facing Heads||View Options:  |  |  |   

Facing Heads on Ancient Coins
Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 356 - 320 B.C.

|Thessaly|, |Larissa,| |Thessaly,| |Greece,| |c.| |356| |-| |320| |B.C.||drachm|
When Larissa ceased minting the federal coins it shared with other Thessalian towns and adopted its own coinage in the late fifth century B.C., it chose local types for its coins. The obverse depicted the local fountain nymph Larissa, for whom the town was named, probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse depicted a horse in various poses.
GS111232. Silver drachm, cf. BCD Thessaly 1432, BCD Thessaly II 316 ff., SNG Cop 121; HGC 4 454, VF, toned, scratches, encrustations, rev. off center, weight 4.820 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 315o, Larissa mint, c. 356 - 320 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing pendant earring and necklace, hair is combed back behind ampyx; reverse horse crouching right, left foreleg raised, preparing to lie down, ΛAPIΣ/AIΩN in two lines above and in exergue; $325.00 SALE PRICE $292.50


Byzantine Empire, John I Tzimisces, 11 December 969 - 10 January 976 A.D.

|John| |I| |Tzimisces|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |John| |I| |Tzimisces,| |11| |December| |969| |-| |10| |January| |976| |A.D.||miliaresion|
John I Tzimisces was the lover of Empress Theophano, which led to the murder of Emperor Nicephorus II and John's elevation to the throne. John introduced a follis that depicted a bust of Christ on the obverse and a religious inscription on the reverse. These types, referred to as anonymous folles because they do not identify the issuing emperor, would become the norm for bronze coinage during the following century.
BZ111223. Silver miliaresion, DOC III-2 7a, Wroth BMC 5, Morrisson BnF 1, Ratto 1919, SBCV 1792, aVF, uneven toning, weight 2.034 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 0o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 969 - 976 A.D.; obverse + IhSUS XRISTUS nICA * (Jesus Christ Conquers), cross crosslet on globus above two steps, circular medallion at center containing crowned bust of John facing wearing loros, dividing the inscription I/W - A/n, triple border ornamented with eight equally spaced globules; reverse + IWAnn'/ En Xw AVTO/CRAT' EVSEb / bASILEVS / RWMAIW' in five lines, dotted cross ornaments above and below, triple border ornamented with eight equally spaced globules; scarce; $225.00 SALE PRICE $203.00


Byzantine Empire, Leo III the Isaurian, 25 March 717 - 18 June 741 A.D.

|Leo| |III|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Leo| |III| |the| |Isaurian,| |25| |March| |717| || |-| |18| |June| |741| |A.D.||follis|
This is a extremely rare variety with a facing bust on the obverse, vice the usual full length figure standing facing. The flan for these folles is usually smaller than the dies, thus on the normal type 1 the emperor's body is often off flan and appearing similar to this 1a facing bust variant. However they are distinguishable because on the normal type 1 the height of the head alone is about 2/3 of the height of the M on the back, while on the 1a variant it is about equal or taller than the height of the M. Side-by-side the obverses look very different.
BZ99099. Bronze follis, Trivero Leone III 1a, Trivero 090; other references do not recognize this variant, VF, dark green patina, long flan crack, flan defect/flan crack lower obverse, weight 2.580 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Sicily, Syracuse mint, sole reign, 25 Mar 717 - 30 Mar 720; obverse anepigraphic, bust of Leo III facing, with short beard, wearing helmet with crest, and loros, spear upright in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand; reverse large M between two palm fronds, emperor's cruciform monogram above center, no officina, SCL in exergue; from the Robert Wachter Collection; extremely rare; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus II Theos, 261 - 246 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |II| |Theos,| |261| |-| |246| |B.C.||AE| |17|
Antiochus II Theos was the son of Antiochus I and Princess Stratonice, the daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes. He inherited a state of war with Egypt and while he was thus occupied, his satraps in Parthia and Bactria declared independence. To make peace with Egypt and to seal the treaty, Antiochus repudiated his wife Laodice I, exiled her to Ephesus, and married Ptolemy II's daughter Berenice. Antiochus later left Berenice and their infant son Antiochus, to live again with Laodice. Laodice poisoned him, had Berenice and her infant son murdered, and proclaimed her son Seleucus II as king.
GY99608. Bronze AE 17, Houghton-Lorber I 592, Newell ESM 196, HGC 9 268 (R2), VF, dark green patina with highlighting earthen deposits, weight 3.964 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia on the Tigris (south of Baghdad, Iraq) mint, c. 250 - 246 B.C.; obverse helmeted and draped bust of Athena slightly left, wearing triple crested helmet; reverse Apollo seated right on omphalos, holding kithara on lap with right hand, tall tripod lebes behind on left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on left, monograms (controls) outer left and outer right; ex CNG e-auction 513 (6 Apr 2022), lot 178; this coin is the only specimen of this type recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; very rare; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00


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

|Bulgaria|, |Bulgars| |in| |Byzantine| |Bulgaria(?),| |Anonymous| |Follis| |of| |Christ,| |Imitative| |of| |Class| |A3,| |c.| |1023| |-| |1040| |A.D.||anonymous| |follis|
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.
CR111244. Bronze anonymous follis, See Lampinen Imitative, p. 54, for a similar Class A imitative; prototype: Basil II & Constantine VIII, 1023-1028, SBCV 1818, aVF, green patina, light earthen deposits, off center, weight 7.969 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 0o, 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); ex Morton & Eden auction 119 (6 Dec 2022), lot 333 (part of); $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00


Crusaders, Principality of Antioch, Tancred, Regent, March 1101 - May 1103 and Late 1104 - December 1112

|Crusaders|, |Crusaders,| |Principality| |of| |Antioch,| |Tancred,| |Regent,| |March| |1101| |-| |May| |1103| |and| |Late| |1104| |-| |December| |1112||follis|
Tancred, a Norman leader of the 1st Crusade, became Prince of Galilee and regent of the Principality of Antioch when his uncle Bohemund was taken prisoner. He later took the County of Edessa when Baldwin II was captured, but Baldwin was released, defeated him and took it back. Tancred was made regent of Antioch again when Bohemund went to Europe to recruit more Crusaders. Tancred refused to honor a treaty in of fealty to the Byzantine Emperor, making Antioch independent, and ruled until his death in a typhoid epidemic.
CR111245. Bronze follis, Metcalf Crusades pl. 5, 82; Malloy Crusaders p. 199, 5; Schlumberger pl. II, 8, gF, well centered, green patina, light earthen deposits, scratches, edge splits, overstruck, weight 2.921 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, Mar 1101 - Dec 1112; obverse facing bust of Christ, wears nimbus cruciger ornamented with one pellet in each limb of cross, pallium, and colobium, Gospels in both hands, IC-XC (Greek abbreviation: IHΣOUΣ XPIΣTOΣ - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse cross pomme, fleuronne at base, TA-NK/P-H in quarters; ex Morton & Eden auction 119 (6 Dec 2022), lot 333 (part of); $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class B, Romanus III or Michael IV, 12 November 1028 - 10 December 1041 A.D.

|Anonymous| |Folles|, |Byzantine| |Anonymous| |Follis| |of| |Christ,| |Class| |B,| |Romanus| |III| |or| |Michael| |IV,| |12| |November| |1028| |-| |10| |December| |1041| |A.D.||anonymous| |follis|
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.
BZ110731. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, DOC III-2, class B; SBCV 1823, aVF, green patina, irregularly shaped flan, rev. off center, some corrosion, weight 8.745 g, maximum diameter 30.1 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, obverse + EMMANOVHΛ (romanized Hebrew - God is with us), facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, Gospels in both hands, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsos Xrists - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse cross on three steps with pellet at each extremity, in fields IS - XS (Greek abbreviation: Ihsos Xrists - Jesus Christ) bAS-ILE / bAS-ILE (King of Kings); $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: ΜΗΤΗΡ ΘΕΟΥ - Mother of God) across field; reverse ANΔPO, 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; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


Byzantine Empire, Justin II, 15 November 565 - 5 October 578 A.D.

|Justin| |II|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Justin| |II,| |15| |November| |565| |-| |5| |October| |578| |A.D.||decanummium|
Justin II was the nephew of Justinian, a son of Vigilantia and Dulcidio, Justinian's sister and brother-in-law. His siblings included Marcellus and Praejecta. With Sophia he had a daughter Arabia and possibly a son, Justus, who died young. He also had a niece named Helena.
BZ110607. Bronze decanummium, DOC I 200, Morrisson BnF 5/CT/AE/19, Wroth BMC 271, Sommer 5.59, Hahn MIBEC 80a, SBCV 400, Tolstoi 245, Ratto 912, VF, overstruck on an earlier Carthage mint bronze of Justinian, porous, weight 5.241 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Carthage (near Tunis, Tunisia) mint, 572 - 573/8 A.D.; obverse D N IV N SO (or similar), facing busts of Justin, on left, helmeted and cuirassed, and Sophia, on right, wearing crown and tunic, cross above between their heads, VITA in exergue; reverse Large I between N M (10 nummi) ; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


Byzantine Empire, John II Comnenus, 15 August 1118 - 8 April 1143 A.D.

|John| |II|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |John| |II| |Comnenus,| |15| |August| |1118| |-| |8| |April| |1143| |A.D.||aspron| |trachy|
John II was the oldest son of Alexius I and succeeded to the throne in 1118. He was a good and capable ruler and did much to further the Byzantine Empire. He recaptured lost territory and added territory to the Empire. He attempted to curtail the trading privileges given to the Venetians but was forced to give up this idea. His reign was brought to an early end when he died in a hunting accident. His youngest son, Manuel I, succeeded him.
BZ110676. Billon aspron trachy, DOC IV-I 10; CLBC 3.3.2; Morrisson BnF 60/Cp/B/02; Hendy pl. 10, 9; Wroth BMC 53; SBCV 1944; Grierson 1070; Sommer 60.7; Ratto -, VF/gVF, part of edge ragged, weight 3.301 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 15 Aug 1118 - 8 Apr 1143 A.D.; obverse IC-XC (Greek abbr.: Ihsos Xrists - Jesus Christ), Bust of Christ facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right hand in benediction, gospels in left hand; reverse + ΙΩ ΔΕC-ΠΟΤ ΠΦVΡΟΓΝΗΤ (or similar), bust of John facing, wearing crown and loros, and holding cruciform scepter and globus cruciger; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00




  



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