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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Medieval & Modern Coins ▸ CrusadersView Options:  |  |  |   

Coins of the Crusaders

The crusades were military expeditions undertaken by the Christians of Europe in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. The origin of the word may be traced to the cross made of cloth and worn as a badge on the outer garment of those who took part in these enterprises. The Crusader states were a number of mostly 12th and 13th century feudal states created by Western European crusaders in Sicily, Greece, Asia Minor, and the Holy Land, and during the Northern Crusades in the eastern Baltic area. Politics were complicated, including a Christian alliance with the Islamic Sultanate of Rûm during the Fifth Crusade. The Crusaders ravaged the countries they marched through, killed 8,000 Jews in the Rhineland in the first of Europe's pogroms, devastated the Mediterranean ports, fought amongst themselves as much as the "Infidel" and fleeced their subjects to fill their coffers. Murder and massacre in the service of the Gospel was commonplace. Seventy thousand civilians were butchered in the sack of Jerusalem. The end came in 1291 with the fall of Acre, the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land. Near East 1135


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

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This type was struck while Bohemond I was in captivity. It was the first type struck by Tancred. The order in which his types were struck has been firmly established by frequent overstrikes of later issues on earlier coins.

St. Peter is the patron saint of Antioch.
CR85716. Bronze follis, Metcalf Crusades 52, Malloy Crusaders 3a, Schlumberger II 6, aVF, nice green patina, tight flan, earthen deposits, some light corrosion, weight 3.025 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch mint, obverse bust of St. Peter facing, short curly hair and curly beard, scroll in right hand, cross in left hand, O / PE-TP/O/C (TP ligate) divided across field; reverse + / KE BOI/ΘH TO ∆V / ΛO COV TANKPI+ (O Lord, help your servant Tancred) in five lines; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Normans, Southern Italy, Anonymous, Dukes of Apulia or Counts of Sicily & Calabria, c. 1060 - 1080 A.D.

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This coin is certainly imitative, as it weighs less then 1/3 the weight of the even the lightest official Class B Byzantine anonymous follis Forum has handled. Attribution to the Normans in Italy is based on the reputed find location and some similarity to other Byzantine imitatives issued by the Normans in Southern Italy and Sicily.
ME73353. Bronze follaro, apparently unpublished, imitative of Class B Byzantine anonymous follis (SBCV 1823, Constantinople, 1028 - 1041); MEC Italy III -, MIR -, et al. -, F, weight 2.163 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Italian mint, c. 1060 - 1080 A.D.; obverse facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, holding book of Gospels; reverse IS - XS / bAS-ILE / bAS-ILE (Jesus Christ King of Kings, mostly off flan), Cross on three steps, dividing legend; from a California collector; $170.00 (€144.50)
 


Crusaders, Principality of Antioch, Roger of Salerno, Regent, 1112 - 1119

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Roger of was regent of the Principality of Antioch from 1112 until his death on 28 June 1119. Roger became regent of Antioch when Tancred died. The prince, Bohemund II, was still a child. Like Tancred, Roger was almost constantly at war with the nearby Muslim states such as Aleppo. In 1114 an earthquake destroyed many of his fortifications but Roger took great care to rebuild them. The Artquids allied with Aleppo and invaded in 1119. Despite the urging of the Patriarch, Roger did not wait for reinforcements from Jerusalem or Tripoli. Roger and nearly all of his 700 knights and 3000 foot soldiers were killed. Artquids forces plundered the land but did not attack Antioch itself. Baldwin II of Jerusalem came north to take over the regency.
CR85709. Bronze follis, Metcalf Crusades 95 - 101, Malloy Crusaders 9, Schlumberger II 12, aVF, green patina with earthen fill, overstruck on Malloy Crusaders 8, weight 3.180 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, Roger's 3rd issue; obverse St. George riding on horseback right, nimbate, spearing dragon below, OA monogram upper left, Γ/EW/P upper right; reverse POT3EP / ΠPIΓKΠ/OC ANT/IOK in four lines, cross above; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Normans, Kingdom of Sicily, Roger II, 1105 - 1154 A.D.

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Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, became Duke of Apulia and Calabria in 1127, and then King of Sicily in 1130. Roger II is remembered for having united all of the Norman conquests in Italy under one strong central government. He was also the grandfather of Frederick II.
ME70465. Bronze follaro, MIR 10 135 (R2), MEC Italy III 227, F, both sides off-center, weight 1.120 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, die axis 180o, Messina mint, 1150 - 1151 A.D.; obverse MP − ΘY (Greek abbreviation: Mother of God), half-length bust of the Virgin Orans facing; reverse Arabic inscription arranged as a cross: umila five hundred forty five (struck in 545 AH), four dots arranged in a square in each quarter; very rare; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, Charles II of Anjou, 1285 - 1289

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Charles II succeeded his father, Charles I, in Achaea as well as Sicily (now reduced to the Kingdom of Naples), but he was a prisoner in Aragonese hands. In the interim, the rule of Achaea devolved upon a series of baillis chosen from the Morean nobility. Not long after his release and coronation in 1289, he granted the Principality to Isabelle of Villehardouin upon her marriage with Florent of Hainaut, in part to redress the greedy application of the Treaty of Viterbo at William's death. However, he retained feudal overlordship over the Principality, and his grant provided that neither Isabelle nor any daughter who was her heir might marry without his consent.
ME85308. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 12; Metcalf Crusades pl. 39, 942; Tzamalis Frankish KA101; Schlumberger XII 17, Choice VF, well centered, toned,, weight 0.779 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 90o, Clarentza mint, 1285 -1289; obverse + • K•R•PRINC ACh•, cross pattée; reverse + : DE: CLARENCIA (colons indicate double x stops), castle tournois; old anonymous dealer or collector envelop priced $20,00 and notes, "Ex: Carl Subak (Chicago, Sep 1975)" and "select hoard piece"; scarce; $130.00 (€110.50)
 


Crusaders, Athens, Frankish Greece, Guy II de La Roche, 1287 - 1308

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Guy II de la Roche was the Duke of Athens from 1287, the last duke of his family. He succeeded as a minor on the death of his father, William I, at a time when the duchy of Athens had exceeded the Principality of Achaea in wealth, power, and importance. Guy was originally under the tutorship and regency of his mother, Helena Angelina Komnene, who was forced to make submission to Isabella of Villehardouin. In 1299, Guy was engaged to Matilda, daughter of Isabella and and her husband, Florent of Hainaut. Charles objected, as his permission had not been sought, but Pope Boniface VIII intervened on the young couple's behalf. In 1307, Guy was made bailli of Achaea by its new prince, Philip I of Taranto. He governed well, but for barely a year. He died, 5 October 1308, at the age of twenty-eight, but was respected and renowned for his chivalry and manners, typical of the Frankish courts kept in Greece.
ME85309. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 85, Metcalf Crusades Variety 1c and pl. 42, 1067; Schlumberger XXXIX 14, VF, well centered, toned, areas of weak legend, tiny edge cracks, weight 0.783 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 45o, Athens mint, majority, 1294 - 1308 A.D.; obverse + GVI DVX ATENES (trefoils flanking cross, trefoil stops), cross pattée; reverse + ThEBANI.CIVIS (trefoils flanking cross), castle tournois, double pellet at beginning and end of legend; ex C. Subak (Chicago, Sep 1975); $130.00 (€110.50)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea Philip of Taranto, 1307 - 1313

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Philip of Taranto was the son of Charles II and the overlord of Philip of Savoy. Charles II deposed Philip of Savoy in June 1306, and in 1307 Philip of Taranto took the title of prince. Based on epigraphy, Metcalf identifies this type as possibly struck at Corinth. Malloy Crusaders notes the obverse legend ending variation (but for type 24, not 25), and notes, "D P, for 'Depotes,' presumably rather than D R, for 'Depotes Romanie.'"
ME85305. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 25 var. (obv. leg. ends D•R•), Metcalf Crusades PT1, 979 var. (same), VF, toned, edge cracks, weight 0.838 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, Clarentza (or Corinth?) mint, 1307 - 1313; obverse + •Ph'S P•ACH•TAR•D•P• (Philip, Prince of Achaea and Taranto, Despot [of Romania]), cross pattée; reverse + DE CLARENCIA (fleur-de-lis on each side of cross), castle tournois, pellet on each side of castle, fleur-de-lis below; ex C. Subak (Chicago, Sep 1975); scarcer variety; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


Kingdom of Sicily, Henry VI (HRE), 1194 - 1197

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Henry VI was King of Germany from 1190 - 1197, Holy Roman Emperor from 1191 - 1197, and King of Sicily from 1194 - 1197. In 1197, his German soldiers mercilessly suppressed a revolt in Italy, especially in southern Sicily. In this same year, Henry prepared for a Crusade, but, on 28 September, he died of malaria (or he may have been poisoned) in Messina. His son, Frederick II, inherited both the Kingdom of Sicily and the Imperial crown.
ME72172. Billon dirham fraction, Biaggi 1780 (R2), Spahr 2 (RR); MIR Sicily 457 (R); MEC Italy III, 477, VF, typical tight flan, slightly off-center, weight 0.944 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 0o, Palermo mint, 1194 - 1195; obverse Arabic legend in Nashki script: Harir / quaysar / aughust (Henry Caesar Augustus); reverse + / Z REX / SICI +; rare; $115.00 (€97.75)
 


Normans, Southern Italy, Anonymous, Dukes of Apulia or Counts of Sicily & Calabria, c. 1081 - 1087 A.D.

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This coin is certainly imitative, as it weighs about 1/3 the normal weight of an official Class J Byzantine anonymous follis. Attribution to the Normans in Italy is based on the reputed find location and some similarity to other Byzantine imitatives issued by the Normans in Southern Italy and Sicily.
ME68381. Bronze follis, apparently unpublished, imitative of Byzantine class J follis (SBCV 1900, Constantinople, 1081 - 1118); MEC Italy III -, Biaggi -, Wroth Western -, aF, on a very small thin flan compared to Byzantine proto-types, weight 2.200 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain S. Italy mint, c. 1081 - 1087 A.D.; obverse bust of Christ facing, cross behind, wears pallium and colbium, raising right in benediction, Gospels in left, crescents above, IC - XC flanking; reverse Cross with globule and two pellets at each extremity, large crescent below, four globules around each surrounded by pellets; from an American collection; very rare; $110.00 (€93.50)
 


Crusaders, County of Tripoli, Raymond II, 1137-1152 A.D.

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Raymond II considered the Syrian Christians of Tripoli responsible for treachery which led to his father's defeat and death in a battle with Damascus. After the battle, he took many of them prisoner, and as William of Tyre wrote, "he visited upon them diverse tortures in the presence of the people, and, in just proportion to the enormity of the crime which they had committed, he caused them to suffer death in its most cruel forms." This act was praised by the Latin Christians as "the first proofs of valor which were given by the young count, whereby he won the affection of all his people and universal approval." In 1142 Raymond donated Krak des Chevaliers, an enormous fortress on the road from Homs to the Mediterranean, as well as other smaller castles, to the Knights Hospitallers. The Hospitallers were virtually independent in the county, for which they protected Tripoli's borders from frequent raids by the forces of Damascus and Zanki, the Turkish atabeg of Mosul and Aleppo.
ME76426. Bronze pougeoise, Sabine type 1, 194 - 199; Malloy Crusaders 5; Metcalf Crusades 513; Schlumberger VI 5, VF, octagonal flan, light corrosion, earthen deposits, weight 1.017 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, Tripoli mint, c. 1145 - 1149; obverse + RAIMVNDVS (cross at the bottom, legend starts at 7:00, ), eight pointed star, pellet between each ray, shallow crescent with horns up below, all within inner border; reverse cross pattée with three annulets at the end of each arm, crossed by smaller cross with crescent horns inward pellet and annulet at the end of each arm; very rare; $110.00 (€93.50)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Hendy, M. Coinage and Money in the Byzantine Empire 1081-1261. (Washington D.C., 1969).
Malloy, A., I. Preston, & A. Seltman. Coins of the Crusader States, 2nd Edition. (New York, 2004).
Metcalf, D. Coinage of the Crusaders and the Latin East in the Ashmolean Museum Oxford. (London, 1995).
Metcalf, D. "Coinage of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in the name of Baudouin" in NC 1978.
Nercessian, Y. Armenian Coins and Their Values. Armenian Numismatic Society, Special Publication 8. (Los Angeles, 1995).
Phillips, M. "The 'Roupen' Hoard of Helmet Pennies of Antioch" in NC 2005.
Porteous, J. "Crusader Coinage with Greek or Latin Inscriptions" in A History of the Crusades, vol. IV. (Madison, 1989).
Sabine, C. "The billon and copper coinage of the crusader country of Tripoli, c. 1102-1268" in NC 1980.
Sear, D. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
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Sotheby's. The John J. Slocum Collection of Coins of the Crusades, catalog of public auction, London, 6 Mar 1997.
Travaini, L. "Hohenstaufen and Angevin denari of Sicily and Southern Italy: their mint attributions" in NC 1993.
Tzamalis, A. "Addition to the tornesia of the 1st group of Guillaume de Villehardouin" in NK 11 (1992).
Tzamalis, A. "The first period of the Frankish tornesio. New evidence from an old hoard" in NK 9-10 (1990-1991).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, December 12, 2017.
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Crusader Coins