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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Byzantine Coins ▸ Byzantine SilverView Options:  |  |  | 

Byzantine Silver Coins

The Byzantine Empire issued more gold, billion, and bronze coins than silver.


Byzantine Empire, Manuel II Palaeologus, 25 September 1373 - 1423 A.D.

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After his older brother Andronikos IV tried to usurp their father's throne, Manuel II was made co-emperor and heir. In 1376 - 1379 and again in 1390 Andronikos IV and then his son John VII seized rule. Manuel defeated his nephew and restored his father's throne. He was then sent as a hostage to the court of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, where he was forced to participate in the Ottoman campaign that reduced Philadelphia, the last Byzantine enclave in Anatolia. After a five year Ottoman siege, in 1399 Manuel left for the European courts to seek aid. Relations between John VII and Manuel had improved and John VII was left as regent. The siege was lifted after the Mongols defeated the Ottomans at the Battle of Ankara. Taking advantage of the Ottoman civil war that followed and rival princes seeking friendship, John VII secured the return some lost territory including the city of Thessalonica. When Manuel returned home in 1403, his nephew retired to govern Thessalonica. Manuel was friendly with Mehmed I but after Mehmed died in 1421, the Ottomans assault began anew. Manuel relinquished most duties to his son and heir John VIII, and left again to seek aid. Unsuccessful, the Byzantines were forced to pay tribute to the sultan. Manuel II retired as a monk in 1423 and died on 21 July 1425.
BZ86362. Silver half stravraton, quarter hyperpyron, sigla 38; Bendall PCPC 334.20 (same rev. die), DOC V 1447 (same), Lianta 943 (same), Grierson 1517, Sommer 88.2, SBCV 2551, VF, centered on a tight flan, scrape, corrosion/porosity, edge cracks, weight 3.580 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1403 - 1423; obverse bust of Christ facing, cross nimbus with pellets in arms, tunic and himation, right raised in benediction, Gospels in left, double border with pellets between, IC - XC flanking across field, pellet above and below XC in right field; reverse MANVHΛ BACIΛEV C O ΠAΛEOΛOΓO, bust of John VII facing, bearded, nimbate, crown with pendilia, pellet over B on left, pellet over reversed B on right; scarce; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Leo V the Armenian and Constantine, 25 December 813 - 25 December 820 A.D.

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Leo V the Armenian replaced Michael I as emperor and attempted to restore some of the lost glory of the Byzantine Empire. His greatest goal was to restore iconoclasm (the rejection or destruction of religious images as heretical), but he had few supporters for this idea. He took to persecution to enforce his goals, leading to his assassination on Christmas day in the church of St. Sophia.
BZ86579. Silver miliaresion, DOC III-1 4, Wroth BMC 4, Morrison BnF 30/Cp/AR/2, Tolstoi 10, Ratto 1799, Grierson 666, SBCV 1628 1818, EF, toned, areas slightly weak, reverse slightly double struck, die cracks, light marks and scratches, weight 2.209 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, obverse IhSUS XRISTUS nICA (Jesus Christ conquers), cross potent on three steps; reverse +LEOn/S COnSTAn/TInE EC ΘEY / bASILIS RO/mAIOn (Leo and Constantine, by the grace of God, Kings of Romans) in five lines; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Michael VII Ducas, 24 October 1071 - 24 March 1078 A.D.

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Anna Komnene, in her medieval biographical text Alexiad, describes the beautiful Georgian princess Maria of Alania: "...he had told Botaniates a great deal about her family and personal beauty, and often praised her to him. And certainly she was as slender of stature as a cypress, her skin was white as snow, and though her face was not a perfect round, yet her complexion was exactly like a spring flower or a rose. And what mortal could describe the radiance of her eyes? Her eyebrows were well-marked and red-gold, while her eyes were blue. Full many a painter's hand has successfully imitated the colors of the various flowers the seasons bring, but this queen's beauty, the radiance of her grace and the charm and sweetness of her manners surpassed all description and all art. Never did Apelles or Pheidias or any of the sculptors produce a statue so beautiful. The Gorgon's head was said to turn those who looked upon it into stone, but anyone who saw the Queen walking or met her unexpectedly, would have gaped and remained rooted to the spot, speechless, as if apparently robbed of his mind and wits. There was such harmony of limbs and features, such perfect relation of the whole to the parts and of the parts to the whole, as was never before seen in a mortal body, she was a living statue, a joy to all true lovers of the beautiful. In a word, she was an incarnation of Love come down to this terrestrial globe."Empress Maria
BZ86360. Silver miliaresion, DOC III-2 6b, Morrison BnF 55/Cp/AR/2, Grierson 969, Sommer 55.5, SBCV 1874, Wroth BMC 15 ff. var. (inscription variations), Nice gF, well centered, light marks, porosity, weight 2.125 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 24 Oct 1071 - 24 Mar 1078 A.D.; obverse EN TOVTW NIKATE MIXAHΛ KAI MAPIA (under this [sign] be victorious, Michael and Maria), cross crosslet on globus on three steps, pellets flanking shaft low, pellet in crescent and X on shaft, facing bust of Michael on left wearing crown with cross and chlamys, facing bust of Maria on right wearing crown and loros, triple linear border; reverse MIXAHΛ / KAI MAPIA/ ΠICTOI RA/CILEIC PW/MAIWN (Michael and Maria, faithful rulers of the Romans), in five lines, ornaments above and below, triple linear border; very scarce; SOLD







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REFERENCES

Bellinger, A. & P. Grierson, eds. Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection. (Washington D.C., 1966 - 1999).
Bendall, S. & P. Donald. Later Palaeologan Coinage, 1282-1453. (London, 1979).
Feg, F. Corpus of the Nomismata from Anastasius II to John I in Constantinople, 713 - 976. (2007).
Feg, F. "Vom Umgang mit Zufall und Wahrscheinlichkeit in der Numismatischen Forschung" in SNR 76 (1997).
Grierson, P. Byzantine Coins. (London, 1999).
Hahn, W. Moneta Imperii Byzantini. (Vienna, 1973-81).
Hendy, M. Coinage and Money in the Byzantine Empire 1081-1261. (Washington D.C., 1969).
Hennequin, G. Catalogue des monnaies musulmanes de la Bibliotheque Nationale. (Paris, 1985).
Lianta, E. Late Byzantine Coins, 1204 - 1453, in the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford. (London, 2009).
Morrisson, C. Catalogue des Monnaies Byzantines de la Bibliothque Nationale. (Paris, 1970).
Sear, D. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
Sommer, A. Die Mnzen des Byzantinischen Reiches 491-1453. Mit einem Anhang: Die Mnzen des Kaiserreichs von Trapezunt. (Regenstauf, 2010).
Ratto, R. Monnaies Byzantines et d'autre Pays contemporaines l'poque byzantine. (Lugano, 1930).
Retowski, O. Die Mnzen der Komnenen von Trapezunt. (Braunschweig, 1974).
Tolstoi, I. Monnaies byzantines. (St. Petersburg, 1913 - 14).
Wroth, W. Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum. (London, 1908).
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).

Catalog current as of Friday, September 21, 2018.
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Byzantine Silver