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

Byzantine Gold Coins

Byzantine gold coins are still remarkably affordable. Types with the bust of Christ are very popular. We attempt to keep gold coins of Christ in stock, but demand often exceeds supply.


Byzantine Empire, Nicephorus I and Stauracius, December 803 - 25 July 811 A.D.

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Nicephorus, the logothete (lord high treasurer) under Empress Irene, gained rule in a palace coup. At the Battle of Pliska, the Bulgarian Khan, Krum, surprised and slew Nicephorus along with a large portion of the Byzantine army. Krum is said to have made a drinking-cup of Nicephorus' skull. Stauracius escaped the battle to Constantinople but was mortally wounded. He surrendered his throne to his brother-in-law, retired to a monastery, and died soon after.
SH83915. Gold solidus, DOC III, part 1, 2c.2; Wroth BMC 8; Tolstoi 9; Ratto 1786; Berk Gold 238; Sommer 27.1; SBCV 1604, EF, lustrous, well centered on a tight flan, weight 4.349 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 180o, 10th officina, Constantinople mint, 803 - 811 A.D.; obverse hICI-FOROS bASILE', bearded facing bust of Nicephorus, wearing chlamys and cross with crown, cross potent on base in right hand, akakia in left hand, no pellet left; reverse STAVRA-CIS dESPO' X, unbearded facing bust of Stauracius, wearing chlamys and cross with crown, globus cruciger in right hand, akakia in left hand; from the Robert Watcher Collection, ex Heritage CICF auction (Chicago, Apr 2013), lot 3024 ($940 plus fees); scarce; $1130.00 (€1005.70)
 


Byzantine Empire, Leontius, 695 - 698 A.D.

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Leontius' success as a general forced the Arab Caliph Abd al-Malik to make concessions and pay tribute to Emperor Justinian II; but when war was renewed, Leontius was defeated. Furious over the loss, Justinian imprisoned him for two years. When he was freed, Leontius and his former prison comrades organized a revolt, and he took the throne. Justinian was deposed, his nose and tongue were slit and he was exiled to a monastery. After the Arabs took Carthage, the fleet Leontius sent to retake the city failed. Rather than report defeat to the emperor, the army overthrew their admiral and named Apsimar, a Germanic sailor, as their leader. Apsimar changed his name to Tiberius, returned to Constantinople, seized the thrown, cut off Leontius' nose and ears and exiled him to a monastery. In 705, Justinian II returned to Constantinople with an army of Bulgars and Slavs. Both Leontius and Tiberius were dragged through the streets in chains and beheaded.
SH83907. Gold tremissis, DOC II 4, SBCV 1333, Hahn MIB III 5, Sommer 15.3, Ratto 1731, Berk Gold 191, Morrisson BnF - (p. 417), VF, uneven strike, tight flan, graffiti obverse right field, weight 1.330 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople mint, 695 - 698 A.D.; obverse D LEO-N PE AV, bearded facing bust, wearing loros and crown with cross, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVSY S, cross potent on base, CONOB in exergue; from the Robert Watcher Collection, ex Heritage auction 3002 (Long Beach, Sep 2008), lot 2013 (sold for $747.50 plus fees); rare; $1120.00 (€996.80)
 


Byzantine Empire, Theophilus, 12 May 821 - 20 January 842 A.D.

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Most references date this type to the joint reign of Michael II and his son Theophilus II (12 May 821 - 2 Oct 829 A.D.) Anastasi identified it as Theophilus' first issue after Michael's death (2 Oct 829 - 830 A.D.).

Theophilus was an accomplished scholar and highly cultured. Although he admired Arab art and civilization, he was obliged to expend much effort defending his eastern frontier against Mutasim, the Caliph of Baghdad. He died of dysentery.
SH83908. Gold solidus, DOC III, part 1, 15a; Anastasi 515c; Wroth BMC 11; Tolstoi 13; SBCV 1646; Sommer 30.6; Morrisson BnF -; Ratto -, VF, slightly irregular tight flan, weight 3.794 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 829 - 830 A.D.; obverse MI-XAHL bA, bearded facing bust of Michael, wearing chlamys and crown with cross, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse ΘE-OFILO bA, beardless facing bust of Theophilus, wearing loros and crown with cross, cross potent in right hand; from the Robert Watcher Collection; very rare; $990.00 (€881.10)
 


Byzantine Empire, Michael II and Theophilus, 12 May 821 - 2 October 829 A.D.

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Michael II started his career as a humble soldier. Leo V's assassination while trying to impose iconoclasm probably taught Michael a lesson, as he chose to remain religiously neutral. With Bulgarian help, he defeated the usurper Thomas, who with his Arab allies even besieged Constantinople for one year. Even after the rebellion was crushed, the Arabs still occupied Crete and initiated an invasion of Sicily.
SH83906. Gold tremissis, Morrisson BnF 31/Cp/AV/2 corr. (solidi); Anastasi 511; DOC III 18 (not in collection, refs BnF); SBCV 1650; BMC -; Sommer -; Tolstoi -; Ratto -, EF, tight flan, weight 1.275 g, maximum diameter 12.8 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 821 - 829 A.D.; obverse MI-XAHL bA, bearded facing bust of Michael, wearing chlamys and crown with cross, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse ΘE-OFILO b, bearded facing bust of Theophilus, wearing chlamys and crown with cross, cross potent in right hand, cross in right field; from the Robert Watcher Collection, ex Savoca Numismatik; very rare; $810.00 (€720.90)
 


Byzantine Empire, Constans II and Constantine IV, 13 April 654 - 15 July 668 A.D.

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In 663, Constans II launched an assault against the Duchy of Benevento (Southern Italy). Taking advantage of the fact that Lombard king Grimoald I was engaged against Frankish forces from Neustria, Constans disembarked at Taranto and besieged Luceria and Benevento.
SH76122. Gold solidus, Morrisson BnF 13/Cp/AV/64; Wroth BMC 61; Tolstoi 298; DOC II part 2, 36a (not in the coll., refs. W. & T.); Hahn MIB 34; SBCV 969; Ratto -; Sommer -, EF, some die wear, tight flan, weight 4.490 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 661 - 663 A.D.; obverse D N COT-NV- (blundered fragmentary legend), facing busts of Constans & Constantine IV, Constans wears plumed helmet, Constantine a helmet with cross, small cross between heads; reverse VICTORIA AVGY E (victory of the Emperor, 5th officina), cross potent on three steps between Heraclius (left) and Tiberius standing facing, each wears crown and chlamys and holds globus cruciger in right, CONOBΘ in exergue; scarce; $680.00 (€605.20)
 


Byzantine Empire, Heraclius & Heraclius Constantine, 23 January 613 - 11 January 641 A.D.

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In "Le trésor byzantine de Nikertai" in Revue Belge de Numismatique 118 (1972), Morrisson writes that this officina mark is horizontal, perpendicular to the rest of the legend, and indicates the 7th officina (a reversed Z, not an H). Hahn lists the Nikertai Hoard coin 146, described by Morrisson as 7th officina, as his only example from the H (8th) officina. The 8th officina probably did not strike this variant with an I in the right field. Gorny & Mosch Giessener Münzhandlung Auction 196, lot 3100, was struck with the same dies in a similar state of wear.
SH69990. Gold solidus, Nikertai Hoard 146; Hahn MIB 13 (Z) and 14 (H); Sommer 11.10; SBCV 739; DOC II - (type 14, officina not listed); Morrisson BnF -, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, VF, worn dies, weight 4.431 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 225o, 7th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 616 - 625 A.D.; obverse dd NN hERACLIVS Et hERA CONSt PP A, facing busts of Heraclius, on left with short beard, and his son Heraclius Constantine, beardless and smaller, each wearing a simple crown with cross on circlet, cross between them above; reverse VICTORIA AVGu Z (victory of the Emperor, 7th officina, Z reversed), cross potent on three steps, I right, CONOB in exergue; scarce; $470.00 (€418.30)
 


Byzantine Empire, Maurice Tiberius, 13 August 582 - 22 November 602 A.D.

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They look similar, but there is a significant physical difference between angels and Victory. Angels are all male. Victory (Nike) is female. On Byzantine coinage, the male angel replaced the female Victory after the reunion with Rome was concluded on 28 March 519 A.D.
SH83909. Gold solidus, Morrisson BnF 7/Cp/AV/10, Ratto 1002, DOC I 5h (8th officina missing from collection, cites Ratto), Hahn MIB II 6, Sommer 7.5, SBCV 478, VF, well centered, weak centers, struck with worn dies, weight 4.343 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 180o, 8th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 583 - 602 A.D.; obverse D N mAVRC - TIb P P AVC, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, globus cruciger in right hand, fold of paludamentum over left shoulder, helmet with plum, circlet in front and pendilia; reverse VICTORI-A AVCC H, angel standing facing, staurogram (rho-cross) topped staff in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, CONOB in exergue; from the Robert Wachter Collection, ex Rudnik Numismatics; $450.00 (€400.50)
 


Byzantine Empire, Focas, 23 November 602 - 5 October 610 A.D.

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The last recorded act of the Senate of the Western Roman Empire in Rome was to acclaimed new statues of Emperor Phocas and Empress Leontia in 603. The institution must have vanished by 630 when the Curia was transformed into a church by Pope Honorius I. The Senate at Constantinople continued to exist in the Eastern Roman Empire's capital until at least the mid-14th century when the ancient institution finally vanished from history.
SH83916. Gold solidus, DOC II part 1, 5c; Morrisson BnF 8/Cp/AV/3; Wroth BMC 4; Ratto 1191; Hahn MIB II 7; Sommer 9.6; SBCV 618; Tolstoi -, gVF, well centered, scratches on obverse, reverse die wear and crack, weight 4.478 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 225o, 3rd officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 603 - 607 A.D.; obverse o N FOCAS PERP AVC, bust facing, bearded, wearing cuirass, paludamentum, and crown with cross on circlet and without pendilia, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVCC Γ (victory of the two emperors), angel standing facing, staurogram (cruciform Christ monogram) staff in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, CONOB in exergue; $450.00 (€400.50)
 


Byzantine Empire, Constans II and Constantine IV, 13 April 654 - 15 July 668 A.D.

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Constans II, was baptized Herakleios and reigned officially as Constantine. He was only 10 years old when he was made emperor. Constans was his diminutive nickname, which has become standard in modern historiography. Later in life he was also called Constantine the Bearded (Konstantinos Pogonatos).
SH70002. Gold solidus, DOC II part 2, 25c; Wroth BMC 42; Tolstoi 239; Morrisson BnF 47; Hahn MIB 26; Sommer 12.18; SBCV 959, Ratto -, aEF, graffiti, weight 4.431 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 654 - 659 A.D.; obverse d N CONSTANTINyS C CONSTA, facing busts of Constans & Constantine IV (beardless) each wearing crown and chlamys, cross between their heads; reverse VICTORIA AVGU Γ (victory of the Emperor, 3rd officina), cross potent on three steps, CONOB in exergue; $420.00 (€373.80)
 


Byzantine Empire, Constans II and Constantine IV, 13 April 654 - 15 July 668 A.D.

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During Constans' reign the Islamic State expanded very quickly, in no small part because Christians and Jews often aided the Islamic take over of their lands. The Byzantine and Persian Empires both had imposed heavy taxes to finance the Byzantine-Sassanid Wars. In new territories, the Islamic State maintained the existing Byzantine or Persian tax collection systems, but the taxes were lowered and free trade encouraged commerce. Jews and the Christians were also allowed to use their own laws and have their own judges.
SH70015. Gold solidus, Wroth BMC 47 - 48, DOC II part 2, 25g (not in the collection, refs BMC); Tolstoi 248; Ratto 1588; Hahn MIB 26; Sommer 12.18; SBCV 959; Morrisson BnF -, EF, graffiti on reverse, weight 4.332 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 225o, 7th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 654 - 659 A.D.; obverse d N CONSTANTINuS C CONSTANTI, facing busts of Constans & Constantine IV (beardless) each wearing crown and chlamys, cross between their heads; reverse VICTORIA AVGY Z (the victory of the Emperor, 7th officina) (Z reversed), cross potent on three steps, CONOB in exergue; $420.00 (€373.80)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Bellinger, A.R. & P. Grierson, eds. Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection. (Washington D.C., 1966 - 1999).
Berk, H.J. Roman Gold Coins of the Medieval World, 383 - 1453 A.D. (Joliet, IL, 1986).
Füeg, F. Corpus of the Nomismata from Anastasius II to John I in Constantinople, 713 - 976. (2007).
Füeg, F. "Vom Umgang mit Zufall und Wahrscheinlichkeit in der Numismatischen Forschung" in SNR 76 (1997).
Grierson, P. ?Byzantine Gold Bullae, with a Catalogue of those at Dumbarton Oaks? in Dumbarton Oaks Papers 20 (1966).
Hahn, W. Moneta Imperii Byzantini. (Vienna, 1973-81).
Hahn, W. & W.E. Metcalf. Studies in Early Byzantine Gold Coinage. ANSNS 17 (1988).
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).
Morrisson, C. Catalogue des Monnaies Byzantines de la Bibliothèque Nationale. (Paris, 1970).
Sear, D. R. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
Ratto, R. Monnaies Byzantines et d'autre Pays contemporaines à l'époque byzantine. (Lugano, 1930).
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 Tuesday, March 28, 2017.
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Byzantine Gold