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Byzantine Empire, Constantine VIII, 15 December 1025 - 11 November 1028 A.D.
Constantine VIII was crowned emperor when he was an infant; however, for his first 63 years of "rule" he was a junior emperor and rarely played even a minor role in state affairs. He spent his life in search of pleasure and entertainment, including spectator sports at the Hippodrome, feasting, riding and hunting. After his brother Basil II died, Constantine was sole emperor for nearly the last three years of his life. He carried on as he always had, enjoying life and avoiding state business as much as possible. Ineffective and cruel, he allegedly ordered the execution or mutilation of hundreds of innocent men. SH94413. Gold histamenon nomisma, DOC III part 2, 1.1; Wroth BMC 3, Morrisson BnF 3; Ratto 1969; SBCV 1815; Sommer 42.1 var. (pellet on shaft of labarum), Choice gVF, well struck on a broad flan, small die crack bottom obverse edge, minor die wear on reverse, weight 4.394 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 15 Dec 1025 - 11 Nov 1028; obverse + IhS XIS REX REGNANTIhM, bearded bust of Christ facing wearing nimbus cruciger with straight arms and crescents in upper quarters, pallium and colobium, raising right hand in benediction, Gospels in left, triple border; reverse +CWnSTAnTIn bASILEhS ROM, bust facing, with long beard, wearing crown and loros, labarum (no pellet on shaft) in left, akakia in right, triple border; scarce; $1900.00 SALE |PRICE| $1710.00
Byzantine Empire, Constantine IX Monomachus, 12 June 1042 - 11 January 1055
In 1047, Constantine's nephew, general Leo Tornikios rebelled and besieged Constantinople from 25 to 28 September. Two assaults on the walls were turned back by the defenders under the personal leadership of Constantine. Despite suffering from gout and having no military experience, he showed courage and energy. Tornikios was forced to withdraw. After a failed attack on Rhaidestos, his followers abandoned him. He found refuge in a church, but was lured out, captured, and on Christmas day, he was blinded at Constantinople. Nothing thereafter is known about him. SH94417. Gold histamenon nomisma, DOC III-2 1a, Wroth BMC 8 - 11, Morrisson BnF 1, Ratto 1987, Sommer 48.1, SBCV 1828, Choice aEF, weight 4.375 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 12 Jun 1042 - 11 Jan 1055; obverse +Ihs XIS REX REGNANTInm (Jesus Christ, King of Kings), Christ enthroned facing on lyre-backed throne, wearing nimbus cruciger (halo with cross), tunic and himation, gospels in left, triple border; reverse +CWNSTAnTn BASILEWS Rm (Constantine King of the Romans), bearded bust of Constantine XI facing, crown with cross and pendilia, jeweled chlamys, cruciform scepter in right, globe surmounted by patriarchal cross in left, triple border; from the Robert Watcher Collection; $1000.00 SALE |PRICE| $900.00
Constantine IX Monomachus, 12 June 1042 - 11 January 1055
In 1047, Constantine's nephew, general Leo Tornikios rebelled and besieged Constantinople from 25 to 28 September. Two assaults on the walls were turned back by the defenders under the personal leadership of Constantine. Despite suffering from gout and having no military experience, he showed courage and energy. Tornikios was forced to withdraw. After a failed attack on Rhaidestos, his followers abandoned him. He found refuge in a church, but was lured out, captured, and on Christmas day, he was blinded at Constantinople. Nothing thereafter is known about him. SH95130. Gold scyphate histamenon nomisma, DOC III part 2, 3; Morrisson BnF 4 - 10; Wroth BMC (Constantine VIII) 6 - 9; Ratto (Constantine VIII) 1970; Sommer 48.3; Berk 304; SBCV 1830, EF, well centered and struck, beautiful depiction of Christ, weight 4.373 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 150o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 12 Jun 1042 - 11 Jan 1055; obverse +Ihs XPS REX REGNANTIhm (Jesus Christ King of Kings), bust of Christ facing, wearing nimbus cruciger with crescents in upper quarters, tunic and himation, raising right hand in blessing, gospels in left, triple border; reverse +CWNSTAnTn BASILEWS Rm, bearded bust of Constantine XI facing, crown with cross and pendilia, jewels around neck, jeweled chlamys, long cross scepter in right, globe surmounted by pellet cross in left, triple border; from the CEB Collection, ex Edward J. Waddell; $950.00 SALE |PRICE| $855.00
Byzantine Empire, Constans II, September 641 - 15 July 668 A.D.
In 647 A.D., Gregory the Patrician declared himself emperor in the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa. An Arab army of 20,000 men under Abdullah ibn Sa'ad invaded Africa, taking Tripolitania and the city of Sufetula (240 km south of Carthage). Gregory was killed during the invation. Africa returned to imperial allegiance after his death, but the foundation of Byzantine rule was fatally undermined. SH94411. Gold solidus, Ratto 1509; DOC II part 2, 5e (not in the collection but refs. Ratto); Hahn MIB 9; SBCV 942; Sommer 12.7; Morrisson BnF -; Wroth BMC -; Tolstoi -, Choice VF, well centered, small graffito reverse inner right, weight 4.415 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 180o, 10th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 647 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTINVS P P AVG, bust facing with short beard indicated by a single row of dots, wearing chlamys, tablion ornamented with pellets, and crown with cross on circlet, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVGY I (victory of the Emperor, 10th officina), cross potent on three steps, E (indiction year 5) right, CONOB in exergue; scarce officina; $800.00 SALE |PRICE| $720.00
Byzantine Empire, Alexius I Comnenus, 4 April 1081 - 15 August 1118 A.D.
Although he was not the founder of the Comnenian dynasty, it was during his reign that the Comnenus family came to full power. Inheriting a collapsing empire and faced with constant warfare during his reign against both the Seljuq Turks in Asia Minor and the Normans in the western Balkans, Alexius was able to curb the Byzantine decline and begin the military, financial, and territorial recovery known as the Comnenian restoration. SH94415. Gold hyperpyron, DO IV 20g; Hendy pl. 4, 3-5; CLBC 2.1.2; Morrisson BnF 59/Cp/Av/3; Wroth BMC 7; Ratto 2059; SBCV 1913, Choice gVF, scyphate, beautiful luster, weight 4.348 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1092 - 1118 A.D.; obverse KE RO-HΘEI (Lord, help [Alexius]), Christ Pantokrator enthroned facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right in benediction, gospels in left hand, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Jesus Christ) high across field, double border; reverse A/ΛE/ΞI/W / ∆EC/ΠO/TH - Tw / KO/MNH/Nw, 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, six pellets in loros end; from the Robert Watcher Collection; ex New York Sale XLII auction (9 Jan 2018), lot 483; $700.00 SALE |PRICE| $630.00
Byzantine Empire, Constantine VII and Romanus II, 6 April 945 - 9 November 959 A.D.
A very popular type depicting Christ wearing a pallium, a very rich, rectangular hem length, jeweled court garment and a colobium, a sleeveless outer tunic. SH94409. Gold solidus, DOC III part 2, 15.23; Wroth BMC 60, Morrisson BnF 37/Cp/AV/15; Ratto 1905; Berk Gold 278; SBCV 1751; Sommer 36.9, aVF, well centered with full legends, flow lines, die wear, light scrape, scratches, weight 4.288 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 6 Apr 945 - 9 Nov 959 A.D.; obverse +Ihs XPS REX REGNANTIUM, bust of Christ facing wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right in benediction, Gospels in left, cross with double lines and three pellets in each limb; reverse COnSTAnT' CE ROMAN' AVGG BR, crowned facing busts of Constantine VII, in a loros on left, and his son Romanus II, in a chlamys, together they hold a long patriarchal cross between them; $650.00 SALE |PRICE| $585.00
Byzantine Empire, Basil II Bulgaroktonos and Constantine VIII, 10 January 976 - 15 December 1025 A.D.
Basil II Bulgaroktonos was the longest-reigning Byzantine emperor (for almost 50 years). He ruled with his brother, Constantine VIII as his adviser. Bulgaria (the Bulgars) was an ongoing problem during his reign, but was finally defeated and absorbed into the Empire. Basil brought great wealth to the Empire. At the time of his death, at almost 70 years of age, he was planning a campaign to wrest control of Sicily from the Arabs. Constantine VIII took over after the death of Basil, and the Empire began its decline. SH94414. Gold tetarteron nomisma, DOC III part 2, 15b (4 spec.); Morrisson BnF 19; Wroth BMC 5; Sommer 41.7 (LP); SBCV 1806; Ratto 1940, aVF, well centered, light deposits, weight 4.187 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1005 - 1025 A.D.; obverse + IhS XIS REX REGNANTIhm, bust of Christ facing, wearing nimbus cruciger with two pellets in each arm, pallium and colobium, holding book of Gospels in both hands; reverse + bASIL C COhSTAhTI b R, facing busts of Basil (on left) with short beard wearing square pattern loros, and Constantine VIII, wearing garment with large V-shaped ornamented collar, both wear crown with a cross and pendilia, together in their right hands they hold between them a long patriarchal cross with X on the shaft; $650.00 SALE |PRICE| $585.00
Byzantine Empire, Philippicus Bardanes, 4 November 711 - June 713 A.D.
Philippicus Bardanes was from a prominent Armenian family in Pergamum and a general of the Opsikion Theme army under Justinian II. While Justinian II ruled in a bloodthirsty frenzy of revenge, the Bulgars ravaged the empire right up to the city walls. Bardanes arrived at Constantinople with the army. But, instead of fighting the Bulgars he seized the throne. An ineffective ruler, Philippicus engaged in destructive internal religious disputes while the external threats grew and Bulgars and Arabs continued to raid Byzantine territory. In less than two years, he was deposed in a coup, blinded and exiled to a monastery.BZ82676. Bronze follis, Anastasi 374, SBCV 1460A, Hahn MIB 24, DOC II part 2,, -, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, Morrisson BnF -, F, ragged flan, weight 3.824 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 4 Nov 711 - Jun 713 A.D.; obverse Philippicus standing facing, wearing helmet and military attire, eagle-tipped scepter in left hand, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse large M flanked by two stars, monogram above, SCL in exergue; very rare; $610.00 SALE |PRICE| $549.00
Byzantine Empire, Michael VIII Palaeologus, 15 August 1261 - 11 December 1282
Michael VIII was regent for and later co-emperor with the Nicaean Emperor John IV. He defeated the Latin emperor Baldwin II, captured Constantinople and restored the empire. His superb diplomatic skills balanced his enemies against each other. He founded the last great Byzantine dynasty. RS94632. Gold hyperpyron, DOC V, class II-a, 13 ff. (sigla 69 not listed); Bendall PCPC 4 (same); Lianta 488 ff. (same); Grierson 1288; SBCV 2242; Sommer 77.1, VF, scyphate, well centered, obv. central double strike, some die wear, weight 4.187 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 15 Aug 1261 - 11 Dec 1282; obverse Nimbate half-length facing figure of the Virgin Mary orans within city walls, MH - Θ (MH ligate, flanking nimbus, six groups of towers on walls, sigla K - A across fields; reverse X /MH/ ∆C-Π/OTI (MH ligate, columnar downward, or similar - right side obscure), Archangel Michael, on left, standing facing, presents kneeling Michael VIII to Christ, on right, seated left on high throne, scroll in left hand, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsoús Xristós - Jesus Christ) flanking Christ; from the Robert Watcher Collection; very scarce; $600.00 SALE |PRICE| $540.00
Byzantine Empire, Andronicus II and Michael IX, 21 May 1295 - 12 October 1320 A.D
"There are two main variants of this type - those with six groups of towers and those with four groups of towers in the city walls. The change comes approximately mid-way in the reign and both varieties are equally common. Rare varieties are those with the figures of Andronicus and Michael transposed and those with the legend AVTOKPTOPEC PWMAIWN." - D. Sear. SH94418. Gold hyperpyron, DOC V-2, class 2b, sigla 186; Bendall PCPC 128, sigla 186, Sommer 80.2.1, Grierson 1293, SBCV 2396, VF, scyphate, typical crude strike, weight 3.379 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1305 - 1320 A.D.; obverse bust of the virgin orans within city walls, four groups of towers on the walls, six-pointed star over K left and six-pointed star over N right (sigla); reverse A/N/∆/P - X / M / ∆/E/Π (or similar, columnar), Andronicus II bearded on left and Michael IX unbearded on right, both kneeling facing, both with beard and mustache (?, Michael is usually described as beardless), nimbate Christ stands between them with hands over their heads in benediction, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsoús Xristós - Jesus Christ) flanking nimbus; $500.00 SALE |PRICE| $450.00
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