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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, Anastasius II Artemius, 3 June 713 - November 715

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Anastasius II was originally named Artemius and was an imperial secretary. After the Opsician army in Thrace had overthrown Philippicus, they acclaimed Artemius as Emperor. He chose Anastasius as his regnal name. Soon after, Anastasius II executed the officers who were directly involved in the conspiracy against Philippicus. As the advancing Umayyad Caliphate surrounded the Empire, after diplomacy failed, he undertook the restoration of Constantinople's walls and the rebuilding of the Roman fleet. The death of the Caliph al-Walid I in 715 gave Anastasius an opportunity to turn the tables. He dispatched an army under Leo the Isaurian, afterwards emperor, to invade Syria, and he had his fleet concentrate on Rhodes with orders not only to resist the approach of the enemy but to destroy their naval stores. These troops of the Opsician theme, resenting the Emperor's strict measures, mutinied, slew the admiral John, and proclaimed as emperor Theodosius III, a tax-collector of low extraction. After a six-month siege, Constantinople was taken by Theodosius. Anastasius, who had fled to Nicaea, was eventually compelled to retire to a monastery in Thessalonica. In 719, Anastasius headed a revolt against Leo III, who had succeeded Theodosius. The attempt failed and Anastasius was put to death.
SH86351. Gold solidus, Füeg Nomismata 2.F.3 (same rev. die), Morrison BnF 20/Cp/AV/2, DOC II- 2e (not in coll. refs. W.), Wroth BMC 4, Hahn MIB 2, Sommer 19.1, SBCV 1463, gVF, areas not fully struck, tight flan and reverse slightly off center cutting off tops of some legend, bumps and marks, weight 4.318 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, 6th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 3 Jun 713– Nov 715; obverse d N APTEMIVS ANASTASIVS MVLA, facing crowned and draped bust, globus cruciger in left hand, akakia in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVSV S, cross potent, on base and three steps, CONOB in exergue; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 196 (7 March 2011), lot 3134 (misattributed); scarce emperor; $1600.00 SALE PRICE $1440.00


Didius Julianus, 28 March - 2 June 193 A.D.

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Didius Julianus was born in 133 A.D. and followed a military career. He rose to the rank of legion commander, then Consul and Proconsul of Africa. After Pertinax was murdered, the Praetorian Guard (the emperor's personal bodyguard force) advertised that they were offering the throne to the highest bidder. If not the richest, Didius Julianus was one the richest men in Rome and offered 25,000 sestertii for each man! The Roman people were incensed by the auction and several provincial governors rose up against him. As Septimius Severus approached Rome, only 66 days into his reign, Didius Julianus was betrayed and beheaded by the Praetorians. Coins of Didius Julianus are very rare due to his short reign.
SH86629. Silver denarius, RIC IV 1 (R3), RSC III 2, BMCRE V 2, SRCV II 6072, Hunter III -, F, toned, centered on a tight flan, marks, tiny edge cracks, minor flan flaws on reverse, weight 2.608 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 28 Mar - late May 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M DID IVLIAN AVG, laureate head right; reverse CONCORD MILIT (harmony with the soldiers), Concordia standing half-left, legionary aquila (eagle) standard in right hand, signum standard in left hand; very rare; $1100.00 SALE PRICE $990.00


Byzantine Empire, Revolt of the Heraclii, 608 - 5 Oct 610 A.D.

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Heraclius the Elder, possibly of Armenian origin, was a Byzantine general and the father of Byzantine emperor Heraclius. He distinguished himself in the war against the Sassanid Persians in the 580s, was a subordinate general under Philippicus during the Battle of Solachon, and possibly served under Comentiolus during the Battle of Sisarbanon. About 595, Heraclius the Elder is mentioned as a magister militum per Armeniam sent by Emperor Maurice to quell an Armenian rebellion led by Samuel Vahewuni and Atat Khorkhoruni. About 600, he was appointed as the Exarch of Africa and in 608, Heraclius the Elder rebelled with his son against the usurper Phocas. Using North Africa as a base, the younger Heraclius managed to overthrow Phocas, beginning the Heraclian dynasty, which would rule Byzantium for a century. Heraclius the Elder died soon after receiving news of his son's accession to the Byzantine throne.
BZ86356. Bronze follis, DOC II-2 16, Morrison BnF 9/Ax/AE/01, Hahn MIBEC 16a, Grierson 164, Tolstoi 279, SBCV 722, Sommer -, Ratto -, VF, rev. a little off center cutting off part of mintmark, scratches, overstruck, weight 11.035 g, maximum diameter 30.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Alexandria or Alexandretta mint, Sep - Oct 610 A.D.; obverse dm N ERACLIO CONSULII, facing busts of Heraclius and his father, both bearded, bareheaded and wearing consular robes, cross above center; reverse large M (40 nummi), cross above, ANNO left, X/IIII (year 14) on right, A (1st officina) below, AΛEZAN∆ in exergue; rare; $950.00 SALE PRICE $855.00


Byzantine Empire, Justin II, 15 November 565 - 5 October 578 A.D.

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Similar types were struck with a short beard, SBCV 344, and without a beard, SBCV 345. This type with a beard is believed to have have been struck only before 1 January 566 A.D. and is very scarce. Bellinger wrote in DOC I, "These bearded coins were presumably struck for the emperor’s consulship on 1 January following his accession." Justin II was normally clean shaven but this issue was struck when he was bearded in mourning for the death of Justinian I. Berk Gold (1986) lists this bearded type at $800 and Sommer (2010) lists it at €1200 in EF condition. The type without a beard is common and Berk prices it at $400 and Sommer at €550 in EF.
SH86352. Gold solidus, DOC I 2, Berk Gold 59, Hahn MIB II 4, Sommer 5.1, SBCV 344, Morrisson BnF - (p. 127, note 1), Wroth BMC -, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, EF, nearly as struck, reverse slightly off center on a broad flan, some legend weak, a few small light scratches, weight 4.489 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, 8th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, December 566 A.D.(?); obverse D N IVSTINVS P P AVG, bearded, helmeted, and cuirassed bust facing, helmet with crest, trefoil ornament and pendilia, Victory on globe offering wreath in right hand, shield ornamented with horseman in left hand; reverse VICTORIA AVGGG H (victory of the three emperors, 8th officina), Constantinopolis enthroned facing, head right, wearing crested helmet, aegis on right shoulder, spear in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, CONOB in exergue; ex MPO - Munten En Postzegel Organisatie (IJsselstein, Netherlands) auction, Nov 2013, lot 226 (misattributed as SBCV 345); very scarce; $700.00 SALE PRICE $630.00


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; Wroth 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; $510.00 SALE PRICE $459.00


Byzantine Empire, Revolt of the Heraclii, 608 - 5 Oct 610 A.D.

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Heraclius the Elder, possibly of Armenian origin, was a Byzantine general and the father of Byzantine emperor Heraclius. He distinguished himself in the war against the Sassanid Persians in the 580s, was a subordinate general under Philippicus during the Battle of Solachon, and possibly served under Comentiolus during the Battle of Sisarbanon. About 595, Heraclius the Elder is mentioned as a magister militum per Armeniam sent by Emperor Maurice to quell an Armenian rebellion led by Samuel Vahewuni and Atat Khorkhoruni. About 600, he was appointed as the Exarch of Africa and in 608, Heraclius the Elder rebelled with his son against the usurper Phocas. Using North Africa as a base, the younger Heraclius managed to overthrow Phocas, beginning the Heraclian dynasty, which would rule Byzantium for a century. Heraclius the Elder died soon after receiving news of his son's accession to the Byzantine throne.
BZ86357. Bronze follis, DOC II 16, Morrison BnF 9/Ax/AE/02, Hahn MIBEC 16a, Grierson 164, Tolstoi 279, SBCV 722, Sommer -, Ratto -, aF, uneven strike, a little off center, scratches, overstruck, edge cracks, weight 5.587 g, maximum diameter 29.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Alexandria or Alexandretta mint, Sep - Oct 610 A.D.; obverse dm N ERACLIO CONSULII, facing busts of Heraclius and his father, both bearded, bareheaded and wearing consular robes, cross above center; reverse Large M (40 nummi), cross above, ANNO left, X/IIII (year 14) on right, A (1st officina) below, AΛEZAN∆ in exergue; rare; $500.00 SALE PRICE $450.00


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; $480.00 SALE PRICE $432.00


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; $360.00 SALE PRICE $324.00


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

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This is a new ornaments variety, unlisted by Bellinger and Grierson, with one pellet in each limb of the nimbus cross, two pellets vertically arranged within a jeweled border on the Gospels and the ornamentation shown below under the reverse inscription. The ornamentation above the inscription is off flan but most likely the same as below. We have designated this new variety Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments F1c.


BZ86497. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, class A3; SBCV 1818; Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments F1c, gVF, attractive bust of Christ, tight ragged flan, bumps and marks, edge chip, weight 8.514 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 270o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHL, facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, holding gospels with both hands, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation for Jesus Christ) across field; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Jesus Christ King of Kings), ornamentation above and below legend; unpublished variety; $300.00 SALE PRICE $270.00


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 SALE PRICE $243.00




  






REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Saturday, February 17, 2018.
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Byzantine Coins