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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.


Empire of Trebizond, Manuel I Comnenus, 1238 - 1263 A.D.

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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 2601, 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, nicer than the only two specimens auctioned in the last two decades as recorded on Coin Archives; very rare; $500.00 (440.00)


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

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Manuel's half stavrata with this reverse legend (which translates: "Manuel who is faithful to Christ the Lord") comprise the "Pistos" (Faithful) series. The "Pistos" series, numbers about half the quantity of half stavrata of the "Imperial" series, with the normal basileus legend (which translates: "King Manuel Palaeologus"). In A Private Collection of Palaeologan Coins, Simon Bendall asserts, "Evidence suggests there were two mints in Constantinople -- the imperial mint producing coinage for the emperor's needs and a public mint where the members of the public could bring in bullion or plate to be turned into money. The "Pistos" coins were probably the production of this public mint at Constantinople."
BZ89546. Silver half stavraton (Pistos series), quarter hyperpyron, sigla 71; DOC V 1480 (same dies); Bendall PCPC 343.5 (same dies); B-D LPC p. 160, 2; Grierson 1518; Sommer 88.3; SBCV 2552, gVF, toned, uneven strike, typical tight flan, weight 3.427 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 180o, Public Mint, Constantinople mint, c. 1405 - 1415; obverse bust of Christ facing, cross nimbus, tunic and himation, right raised in benediction, Gospels in left, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Jesus Christ) divided across field, no sigla, double border with pellets between; reverse I MAVOHΛ E XO TO ΘEV ΠHCTOC BA (Manuel who is faithful to Christ the Lord, blundered, incomplete cross at start), bust of John VII facing, bearded, nimbate, crown with pendilia, pellet in both left and right fields (sigla); from the Robert Wachter Collection; rare; $400.00 (352.00)


Byzantine Empire, Constantine VII and Romanus II, 6 April 945 - 9 November 959 A.D.

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In the reverse legend, Constantine includes the epithet Porphyrogenitus, meaning "born in the purple," to emphasis the legitimate nature of his rule after the usurpation of the Lecapenus family.
BZ89544. Silver miliaresion, DOC III, part 2, 21, SBCV 1757, Morrisson BnF 37/Cp/Ar/10, Wroth BMC 67, Ratto 1906, Sommer 36.13, VF, well centered, old collection toning, bumps and scratches, holed, weight 2.749 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 0o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 6 Apr 945 - 9 Nov 959 A.D.; obverse IhSuS XRISTuS nICA (Jesus Christ conquers), Cross crosslet set on three steps, saltire cross at center, globus below, triple border of dots with 16 evenly spaced globules; reverse +COhST'T' / ΠORFVROΓ' / CE ROMAhO / Eh X'w EVSEL' / b' RwMEOh in five lines, triple border of dots with 16 evenly spaced globules; from the Robert Watcher Collection; scarce; $200.00 (176.00)


Byzantine Empire, Basil II Bulgaroktonos and Constantine VIII, 10 January 976 - 15 December 1025 A.D.

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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.
BZ91206. Silver miliaresion, DOC III, part 2, 17a; Morrisson BnF 42/Cp/AR/1; Ratto 1950 corr. (ornament misdescribed); Wroth BMC 16 var. (ornament); SBCV 1810, Sommer 41.9, F, toned, scratches, holed, clipped, weight 2.234 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 0o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 977 - 989; obverse εN TOVTω nICAT bASILε C CωnST, cross crosslet on globus and four steps, X at center, pellet in crescent on shaft, facing crowned busts of Basil II, in loros, and Constantine VIII, in chlamys, on left and right; reverse + bASIL / C CωnSTAn / ΠORFVROS / ΠISTOI bAS / RωmAIω in five lines, decorative ornaments above and below, each with four pellets arranged as a cross; obv. and rev. have triple border but almost all is off flan due to clipped flan (usual for the type); scarce; $120.00 (105.60)







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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 Thursday, June 20, 2019.
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Byzantine Silver