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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Byzantine Coins| ▸ |Byzantine Mints| ▸ |Thessalonica||View Options:  |  |  | 

Byzantine Thessalonica, Greece

When Anastasius became emperor the once vast number of Roman mints had been reduced to only two: Constantinople and Thessalonica. Thessalonica did not strike Byzantine copper coinage until the reign of Justin I. The mint closed about 630 but opened again under Alexius I (1081 - 1118) and operated until the 14th century for various despotates, kingdoms and empires that took the city as their capital. In 1423, Despot Andronicus, ceded Thessalonic to the Republic of Venice to protect it from the Ottomans who were besieging the city. The Venetians held Thessaloniki until it was captured by the Ottoman Sultan Murad II on 29 March 1430.

Byzantine Empire, Focas, 23 November 602 - 5 October 610 A.D.

|Focas|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Focas,| |23| |November| |602| |-| |5| |October| |610| |A.D.||solidus|
Hahn and Berk attribute this style variation to Thessalonica. Other reference fail to distinguish the type from similar Constantinople issues. Hahn identifies the Greek number following the reverse legend as the regnal year.
SH86280. Gold solidus, MIBEC p. 181 and pl. 31, N3; Berk Gold 109; other references do not distinguish this type from Constantinople issues, Choice EF, well centered and struck, graffiti on reverse, weight 4.362 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 180o, probably Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, c. 607 A.D.(?); obverse o N FOCAS PERP AVC, bust facing, bearded, wearing cuirass, paludamentum, and crown with cross on circlet and without pendilia, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVCC E (victory of the two emperors, 5th officina? or regnal year 5?), angel standing facing, staurogram staff in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, CONOB in exergue; graffiti reading ƆMΘ (retrograde, Greek additive number 249?) or less likely ΘEC (Thessalonica?); ex Numismatik Naumann auction 58, lot 626; very rare; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Alexius I Comnenus, 4 April 1081 - 15 August 1118 A.D.

|Alexius| |I|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Alexius| |I| |Comnenus,| |4| |April| |1081| |-| |15| |August| |1118| |A.D.||hyperpyron|
 
SH53616. Gold hyperpyron, DOC IV-1 20h; SBCV 1924, aEF, scyphate, weight 4.393 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 1092 - 1118 A.D.; obverse KE RO-HΘEI (Lord, help [Alexius]), IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Jesus Christ), Christ enthroned facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right in benediction, gospels in left, double border; reverse A/ΛE/ΞI/W / ΔEC/ ΠT - TW / KO/MNH/N/W, Alexius standing facing, wearing chlamys, five jewels on collar, labarum scepter in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, manus Dei (hand of God) above right; scarce; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Alexius I Comnenus, 4 April 1081 - 15 August 1118 A.D.

|Alexius| |I|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Alexius| |I| |Comnenus,| |4| |April| |1081| |-| |15| |August| |1118| |A.D.||histamenon| |nomisma|
In the Dumbarton Oaks catalog, Michael Hendy identifies this as a transitional coinage. David Sear lists it as extremely rare.
SH76239. Electrum histamenon nomisma, DOC IV-1 4; Wroth BMC 14 (Alexius III); Hendy pl. 1, 9; SBCV 1904; Sommer 59.7; Morrisson BnF -; Ratto -, aEF, scyphate, well centered, nice portrait of Christ, hairline crack, some strike slip, weight 4.313 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 1081 - 1082 A.D.; obverse + KE RΘ AΛEZ (or similar), bust of Christ Pantokrator facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, holding books of Gospel, Greeks IC - XC across field; reverse St. Demetrius, on left, standing right, nimbate, holding parazonium and presenting labarum to Alexius, standing facing, wearing loros and crown with cross and pendilia, ΔI/MI/TI in three lines on left, Δ/EC/Π/T/H in five lines on left; from the Robert Watcher Collection, ex Rudnik Numismatics; very rare; SOLD


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.
SH76553. Bronze follis, DOC III-2 p. 706, N.1 (anonymous class N follis); Grierson 1976, type a; Bland Basilacius pl. 36, B; SBCV 1903A; Sommer 58.1, VF, uneven strike as always for the type, overstruck (some of the type are overstruck on class D and E anonymous folles), weight 5.047 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, summer 1078 A.D.; obverse [+NIKHΦW-PO]C BACI(ΛK?)E (a new legend variation!), 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; extremely rare; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, John V Palaeologus, 15 June 1341 - 16 February 1391 A.D.

|John| |V|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |John| |V| |Palaeologus,| |15| |June| |1341| |-| |16| |February| |1391| |A.D.||stamenon|
John V was made emperor three days short of his ninth birthday. Anna of Savoy was appointed regent for her son. After Anna was defeated in a civil war, John V was made junior emperor to his former advisor John VI Kantakouzenos and he married John VI's daughter. John VI ignored his young colleague and in time even replaced him with his own son Matthew. John V Palaeologus obtained Genoese help, overthrew his rivals, took sole rule and banished John Kantakouzenos to a monastery. John V converted to Catholicism in an attempt to obtain aid from the West against the Turks, but even this failed. Without allies, the Byzantine state was forced to become a vassal of the Ottoman Empire, permitted to exist only by the grace of the mighty Sultan.
SH87665. Bronze stamenon, Lianta 887; Bendall PCPC 317; B-D LPC p. 238, 8 (Andronicus III); SBCV 2525 (assarion); DOC V -; Sommer -; Grierson -, VF, dark patina, slightly off center, weight 1.695 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 1365 - 1369 A.D.; obverse Saint Demetrius standing facing, nimbate, wearing tunic, breastplate, and sagion, inverted spear vertical in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield at side, flanked on each side by a long cross with three bars, anepigraphic; reverse emperor standing facing, wearing crown with pendilia, stemma, divitision, collar-piece and loros, staff topped with a cross in circle in right hand, Manus Dei (the hand of God) above left, model of city (wall with gate and towers) in left hand, star with eight rays lower right; very rare; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, John V Palaeologus, 15 June 1341 - 16 February 1391 A.D.

|John| |V|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |John| |V| |Palaeologus,| |15| |June| |1341| |-| |16| |February| |1391| |A.D.||stamenon|
John V was made emperor three days short of his ninth birthday. Anna of Savoy was appointed regent for her son. After Anna was defeated in a civil war, John V was made junior emperor to his former advisor John VI Kantakouzenos and he married John VI's daughter. John VI ignored his young colleague and in time even replaced him with his own son Matthew. John V Palaeologus obtained Genoese help, overthrew his rivals, took sole rule and banished John Kantakouzenos to a monastery. John V converted to Catholicism in an attempt to obtain aid from the West against the Turks, but even this failed. Without allies, the Byzantine state was forced to become a vassal of the Ottoman Empire, permitted to exist only by the grace of the mighty Sultan.
BZ84652. Bronze stamenon, Lianta 887; Bendall PCPC 317; B-D LPC p. 238, 8 (Andronicus III); SBCV 2525 (assarion); DOC V -; Sommer -; Grierson -, aVF, full flan, edge cracks, excellent for the type, weight 0.956 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 1365 - 1369 A.D.; obverse Saint Demetrius standing facing, nimbate, wearing tunic, breastplate, and sagion, inverted spear vertical in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield at side, flanked on each side by a long cross with three bars, anepigraphic; reverse emperor standing facing, wearing crown with pendilia, stemma, divitision, collar-piece and loros, staff topped with a cross in circle in right hand, Manus Dei (the hand of God) above left, model of city (wall with gate and towers) in left hand, star with eight rays lower right; very rare; SOLD


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.
BZ82686. Bronze half tetarteron, DOC IV-1 8; SBCV 1989; Hendy pl. 19, 4; Morrisson BnF - (p. 731); Wroth BMC 17-18; Ratto 2172; Sommer 62.6; CLBC I 5.4.4; Grierson 1115, aVF, green patina, broad irregular flan, flan splits, some minor corrosion, weight 2.700 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, Sep 1183 - 12 Sep 1185 A.D.; obverse facing bust of the Virgin Orans, nimbate, veiled, wearing pallium and maphorium, the nimbate head of the infant Christ on her chest, MP - ΘV (Greek abbreviation: MΗTΗP ΘΕOY - Mother of God) across field; reverse A-N, 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; SOLD


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.
BZ90229. Bronze tetarteron, DOC IV-1 5a; CLBC I 8.4.3; Hendy p. 152 and pl. 23, 9-10; Wroth BMC 39; Grierson 1138; Ratto 2214; SBCV 2015; Sommer 66.6, gVF, well centered on a typical tight flan, porosity, some light corrosion, weight 3.720 g, maximum diameter 18.2 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 to left and right, WP ligate); reverse AΛEΣIOC - ΔECΠOTHC (or similar), half length figure of Alexius standing facing, wearing crown, divitision, and chlamys, labarum in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand; ex S. Lindner Collection; rare; SOLD


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

|Andronicus| |I|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Andronicus| |I,| |September| |1183| |-| |12| |September| |1185| |A.D.||tetarteron|
An apparently unpublished variety with this remarkable full reverse legend. This type usually reads only ANΔPONIKOC, without his title as despot. We do know of two other examples of this apparently very rare variant.
BZ95142. Bronze tetarteron, cf. DOC IV-1 6; Morrisson BnF 62/Th/AE/01; Wroth BMC 13; CLBC I 5.4.2; Grierson 1113; Ratto 2171; SBCV 1987 (none with this rev. legend), Choice VF, well centered on a broad heavy flan, full reverse legend, "obverse" struck with a punch die, weight 5.037 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 1185 A.D.; obverse facing bust of the Virgin Orans, nimbate, wearing pallium and maphorium, the nimbate head of the infant Christ at her waist, MHP (ligate) - ΘV (Greek abbreviation: MΗTΗP ΘΕOY - Mother of God) across field; reverse ANΔPONIKOC ΔECΠOTHC, half-length figure of Andronicus facing with forked beard, wearing crown scaramangion and sagion, vexillum in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand; from the S. Lindner Collection; very rare variety; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Latin Crusader Rule, 12 April 1204 - 25 July 1261 A.D.

|Latin| |Crusader| |Rule|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Latin| |Crusader| |Rule,| |12| |April| |1204| |-| |25| |July| |1261| |A.D.||aspron| |trachy| |nomisma|
BZ36613. Billon aspron trachy nomisma, SBCV 2057; Malloy Crusaders 37; Hendy Thessalonica Type C small module, pl. 29, 16 - 18; Sommer 68.32, VF, scyphate, weight 0.918 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, c. 1215 - 1225; obverse Christ, nimbate, seated on throne with back, right raised, Gospels in left, cross right, IC - XC flanking Christ's head; reverse HΛΓIΛΕΛΕNΕ ΘKOTΛNT (none visible), St. Helena (on left) and St. Constantine (on right) standing facing holding patriarchal cross on step between them, she holds jeweled scepter, he holds cruciform scepter; SOLD







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