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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Byzantine CoinsView Options:  |  |  |   

Byzantine Coins

Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Roman Empire to the former Byzantium in Thrace and renamed it Constantinopolis, present day Istanbul, Turkey. Numismatists, for convenience, have arbitrarily categorized coins from Anastasius I and after as Byzantine coins. Numismatists use Anastasius as the beginning of Byzantine because he dramatically reformed the bronze coinage. A significant minority of numismatists pick an earlier time and ruler, often Constantine the Great, as the dividing time between the Roman and Byzantine empires, because most coins were issued from Constantinople, or since it became the seat of government. Although the citizens generally spoke Greek, they considered themselves Roman for the entire Byzantine period, making our division of the empire an entirely modern convention.


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; $810.00 (€688.50)


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; $720.00 (€612.00)


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; $640.00 (€544.00)


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

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This half-follis of Leontius was first identified and published by S. J. Mansfield, in "A New Coin of the Byzantine Emperor Leontius" in Numismatic Circular, Nov 1999. It is otherwise unpublished and this is the second known specimen.
BZ73337. Bronze half follis, Mansfield, S. J., A New Coin of the Byzantine Emperor Leontius in Num. Circ., Nov 1999; DOC II part 2 -; Anastasi -, SBCV -, Hahn MIB III -, et al. -, F, rough green patina, weight 2.806 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 695 - 696 A.D.; obverse half length bust facing with short beard, wearing crown with cross and loros with pelleted lozenge pattern, akakia in right, globus cruciger in left; reverse large K (40 nummi), cruciform Leontius monogram (Anastasi monogram 5) above, cross left, I (year 1) right, SCL in exergue; great rarity, 2nd known; $600.00 (€510.00)


Constantine IV Pogonatus, 15 July 668 - 10 July 685 A.D.

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Constantine IV Pogonatus should be credited with saving Europe from Muslim conquest. Beginning in 674, the great siege of Constantinople, by the caliph Muawiyah I, lasted four years. The newly invented famous "Greek Fire" made the city impregnable and the Arabs were forced to retreat. In 681 he deposed his two brothers. He was succeeded by his 16-year-old son Justinian II.
BZ84239. Bronze half follis, Anastasi 245, DOC II 67, Spahr 186, Hahn MIB III 112, SBCV 1214, Berk -, VF, green patina, rough, weight 2.566 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 679 - 681 A.D.; obverse helmeted and cuirassed bust facing slightly right, holding spear over shoulder; reverse large K, cross above, +AN-NO ∆ (year 4) flanking left and right; very rare; $400.00 (€340.00)


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

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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.
BZ76335. Bronze follis, Anastasi 554b; Spahr 413; SBCV 1680; DOC III, part 1, 29; Sommer 31.13, Nice VF, broad heavy flan for the type, nice green patina, weight 5.418 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Sicily, Syracuse mint, 831 - 835 A.D.; obverse ΘEOFIL bAS, crowned bust facing, wearing loros, cross potent in right; reverse MIXHAL S CONST, facing busts of Michael II (left) and Constantine, each wears crown and chlamys, star above center; rare this size; $270.00 (€229.50)


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class A3, Basil II & Constantine VIII, c. 1023 - 11 November 1028 A.D.

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Possibly a provincial mint issue.
BZ77225. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, class A3; SBCV 1818; Grierson ornaments 32, aVF, nice patina, strike a weak and uneven, reverse a little off-center, weight 8.937 g, maximum diameter 30.1 mm, die axis 180o, provincial(?) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHL, facing nimbate bust of Christ, pallium and colobium, holding gospels with both hands, to left IC, to right XC; nimbus and Gospels ornamented with crosses; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Jesus Christ King of Kings), cross above and below legend; $215.00 (€182.75)


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class A3, Basil II & Constantine VIII, c. 1023 - 11 November 1028 A.D.

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Possibly a provincial mint issue.
BZ77223. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, class A3; SBCV 1818; Grierson ornaments 32, gF, nice dark blue-green patina, well centered, strike a little soft, small encrustations, weight 9.569 g, maximum diameter 29.3 mm, die axis 180o, provincial(?) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHL, facing nimbate bust of Christ, pallium and colobium, holding gospels with both hands, to left IC, to right XC; nimbus and Gospels ornamented with crosses; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Jesus Christ King of Kings), cross above and below legend; $210.00 (€178.50)


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

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This coin is unusual and possibly unique because it was struck with small dies on a larger older coin, resulting in an appearance similar to countermarking. Other coins were struck in Sicily for Heraclius with countermark-like dies, but not with these types. This coin may have been struck under Constans II vice Heraclius.
SH68126. Bronze half follis, for Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine: cf. DOC II, part 1, 124; for Constans II and Constantine IV: cf. DOC II, part 2, 94, F, overstruck, obverse off-center, weight 3.329 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Syracuse (or Constantinopolis?) mint, obverse Heraclius (or Constans II?), on left, wearing military dress, long cross in right and akakia in left; Heraclius Constantine (or Constantine IV), on right (mostly off flan), wearing chlamys, globus cruciger in right; reverse large K (20 nummi), ANNO left, X[?] right, A below; unique(?); $200.00 (€170.00)


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; $195.00 (€165.75)




  






REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Sunday, October 22, 2017.
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Byzantine Coins