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Trebizond was founded about 1204 A.D., probably following the Crusader takeover of Constantinople. It was surrounded by Muslim states and constantly paid tribute to them. Trebizond did not fall to the Ottomans until 1461, nearly a decade after Constantinople, but its emperor was little more than a puppet for the Sultan.
Empire of Trebizond, Manuel I Comnenus, 1238 - 1263 A.D.
Manuel I Megas Komnenos (died March 1263) was an Emperor of Trebizond, from 1238 until his death. At the time Manuel reigned, the Empire of Trebizond comprised a band of territory stretching along the southern coast of the Black Sea. Although Michael Panaretos, a 14th-century Greek chronicler, calls Manuel "the greatest general and the most fortunate" and states he ruled "virtuously in the eyes of God", the only event he documents for Manuel's reign is a catastrophic fire striking the city of Trebizond in January 1253. The major events of his reign are known from external sources, most important of which is the recovery of Sinope in 1254, which had been lost to the Sultanate of Rum forty years before.BZ89548. Silver asper, Sommer T3.20 (same dies), Retowski 217 (same dies), SBCV 2602, aEF, crude style usual for the type, toned, uneven strike, die wear, weight 2.807 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 180o, Trebizond (Trabzon, Turkey) mint, 1238 - 1263 A.D.; obverse A (with circle) /EV/Γ - O / TPA/ΠC/TI/d (C blundered), Saint Eugenius standing facing, long cross in right hand; reverse MH/N/HΛ/o - K/MH/N (MH's ligate), Manuel standing facing, labarum in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, Manus Dei (hand of God) upper right; nicer than the referenced two plate coins, which are from the same dies; very rare; $320.00 (€281.60)
Empire of Trebizond, Basil Megas Komnenos, August 1332 - 6 April 1340
When Basil's oldest brother Andronikos III assumed the throne, he killed his two brothers, but Basil was in Constantinople and escaped his brothers' fate. When Andronikos III died, his infant son Manuel II succeeded him; however, Basil was invited from Constantinople to take the throne. Manuel was deposed and confined to a monastery, but after a revolt was murdered. Unpopular with the people, when a solar eclipse took place they took it for a sign of divine wrath and tried to pelt him with stones. Basil formed a marriage alliance with the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos III by marrying his daughter Irene. The affection between the two soon cooled, and Basil took a mistress also named Irene, by whom he fathered four illegitimate children. Basil died 6 April 1340, apparently poisoned by his legitimate wife, Irene Palaiologina, who promptly seized the throne.BZ89565. Silver asper, cf. Retowski p. 1 -11, Sommer T10.1, SBCV 2622, gVF, dark "as found" uncleaned patina, weight 1.990 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 180o, Aug 1332 - 6 April 1340; obverse St. Eugenius on horseback right, holding cross, A / EV-N in fields; reverse Basil on horseback right, holding three-pronged scepter, BA left, M right; ex CNG e-auction 233 (26 May 2010), lot 579; rare; SOLD
Trebizond, John IV, 1446 - 1458
In 1979 an American coin dealer bought a coin scale from a California collector who has acquired it from a dealer in Austria. In the scale the dealer found a secret drawer which contained 167 coins, of which 164 were aspers of Trebizond. The hoard was purchased, analyzed and offered for sale by Alex Malloy in 1980. This coin was not offered in his sale.
The coin comes with a copy of Alex Malloy's catalog, Medieval Coins XVII, 1980, which includes Malloy's analysis of the Austrian Scale Hoard of Late Trebizond Aspers.
Prior to distribution of this hoard, the only published specimens of this type were in the Hermitage in Leningrad and there were none in the British Museum.ME46264. Silver asper, Austrian Scale Hoard of Late Trebizond Aspers, p. 8, class II, 143 in Malloy Medieval Coins XVII, 1980, VF, weight 0.833 g, maximum diameter 13.6 mm, die axis 315o, Trebizond (Trabzon, Turkey) mint, 1446 - 1458; obverse John on horseback right, head facing; reverse Saint Eugenius on horseback right, head facing; very rare; SOLD
Retowski, O. Die Münzen der Komnenen von Trapezunt. (Braunschweig, 1974).
Sear, D. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
Sommer, A. Die Münzen des Byzantinischen Reiches 491-1453. Mit einem Anhang: Die Münzen des Kaiserreichs von Trapezunt. (Regenstauf, 2010).
Wroth, W. Catalogue of the Coins of the Vandals, Ostrogoths, Lombards and of the Empires of Thessalonica, Nicaea, and Trebizond in the British Museum. (London, 1911).
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