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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Byzantine Coins||View 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.


Zeno, 18 January - 17 November 474 and August 476 - 11 April 491 A.D.

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In 474, Zeno's oppressive rule resulted in a revolt which forced him to flee to Isauria. Verina, the widow of Leo I, claimed the Empire and installed her brother, Basiliscus, on the throne. The following year, Basiliscus was deposed and Zeno reclaimed the Empire. He didn't change and new rebellions were frequent. In 491 A.D., after a turbulent reign of seventeen years, he died. He was succeeded by Anastasius, who married his widow Ariadne.
SH93491. Gold solidus, Hunter V 8 (also 3rd officina), RIC X 910, DOCLR 631, Depeyrot 108/1, SRCV V 21514, Tolstoi 14, Ratto 279, VF, well centered on a broad flan, flow lines, bumps and marks, die wear, weight 4.435 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 2nd reign, Aug 476 - 9 Apr 491 A.D.; obverse D N ZENO PERP AVG, helmeted bust facing, pearl diademed, cuirassed, spear in right over shoulder, shield on left arm decorated with horseman riding down enemy; reverse VICTORIA AVGGG Γ (victory of the three emperors, 3rd officina), Victory standing left, long jeweled cross in right, star right, CONOB in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $700.00 SALE |PRICE| $630.00


Byzantine Empire, Philippicus Bardanes, 4 November 711 - June 713 A.D.

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Philippicus Bardanes was from a prominent Armenian family in Pergamum and a general of the Opsikion Theme army under Justinian II. While Justinian II ruled in a bloodthirsty frenzy of revenge, the Bulgars ravaged the empire right up to the city walls. Bardanes arrived at Constantinople with the army. But, instead of fighting the Bulgars he seized the throne. An ineffective ruler, Philippicus engaged in destructive internal religious disputes while the external threats grew and Bulgars and Arabs continued to raid Byzantine territory. In less than two years, he was deposed in a coup, blinded and exiled to a monastery.
BZ82676. Bronze follis, Anastasi 374, SBCV 1460A, Hahn MIB 24, DOC II part 2,, -, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, Morrisson BnF -, F, ragged flan, weight 3.824 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 4 Nov 711 - Jun 713 A.D.; obverse Philippicus standing facing, wearing helmet and military attire, eagle-tipped scepter in left hand, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse large M flanked by two stars, monogram above, SCL in exergue; very rare; $610.00 SALE |PRICE| $549.00


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

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The emperor's name and portrait are not part of the design on the Byzantine types referred to as anonymous folles. Instead of the earthly king, these coins depict Jesus Christ, King of Kings.
SH82755. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ class A3; Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments 24a; DOC III-2 A2.24a; SBCV 1818; Sommer 40.3.8, EF, some mint luster, areas of porosity, obverse legend weak, weight 11.982 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHΛ (Latinized Hebrew: Emmanuel - "God with us"), facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger with two pellets in each limb of cross, pallium, and colobium, holding gospels with both hands, gospels ornamented with two pellets within a jeweled border, to left IC, to right XC; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings), ornamentation above and below inscription; $360.00 SALE |PRICE| $324.00


Byzantine, 11th - 12th Century A.D.

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BZ92112. Lead seal, Uncertain, aVF, tan surfaces, modified seal cut in the shape of a fish, the cutting, however, obscures much of the reverse inscription, obverse The Theotokos (Virgin Mary) standing facing, orans; reverse Inscription; ex CNG e-auction 233 (26 May 2010), lot 571 (realized $390 plus fees); $350.00 SALE |PRICE| $315.00


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

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The extraordinarily crude, unusual and interesting style of this coin suggests it is unofficial; however, the style is typical for all specimens with Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments 29. The weight of specimens from the issue was well controlled at around 10 grams. The variety is likely official, but from a provincial mint, certainly not Constantinople.
BZ86495. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ class A3, Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments 29; DOC III-2 A2.29 (not in the collection, refs. Bellinger); SBCV 1818, EF, sharp detail, extraordinary and interesting crude style, tight flan, reverse off center, edge ragged, weight 10.472 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 180o, provincial (or unofficial?) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHΛ (Latinized Hebrew: Emmanuel - "God with us"), facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger with two pellets in each limb of cross, pallium, and colobium, Gospels in both hands, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsos Xrists - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings), ornamentation above and below inscription; $320.00 SALE |PRICE| $288.00


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

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The emperor's name and portrait are not part of the design on the Byzantine types referred to as anonymous folles. Instead of the earthly king, these coins depict Jesus Christ, King of Kings.
SH82749. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, DOC III-2, class A3; SBCV 1818; Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments 39, EF, sharp portrait, slightly uneven strike with small areas weak, slightly off center on a broad flan, tiny encrustations, closed edge crack, weight 9.691 g, maximum diameter 28.7 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHΛ (Latinized Hebrew: Emmanuel - "God with us"), facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, Gospels in both hands, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsos Xrists - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings), ornamentation above and below inscription; $320.00 SALE |PRICE| $288.00


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, Morrisson 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; $280.00 SALE |PRICE| $252.00


Byzantine Palestina III, Petraean-Early Byzantine Oil Lamp, c. 325 - 520 A.D.

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Grawehr writes, "...firstly, lamps of this period were produced with great care and are well fired; they were of far better quality than their predecessors of the 3rd century A.D. Secondly, one single type - the Petraean-Early Byzantine lamp - is clearly dominating, and thirdly, this type is concentrated in a relatively small area east of the Wadi Arabah between Wadi Mujib and the Red Sea." He further notes that the quality attests to an upswing in the regional economy, but the distribution indicates increasing regionalism.
AL21909. Petraean-Early Byzantine Oil Lamp; Grawehr type L, 504 (very similar, Petra, Ez Zantur III, 325-520 A.D.); 8.7 cm long, 6.0 cm wide, Choice, intact, tiny chip in fill hole edge, small chip in shoulder (visible in photo), c. 325 - 520 A.D.; red clay, cream slip, mold-made, thin walled, piriform body, single rim around wick hole, double rim around large filling hole, very small knob handle, lines on nozzle radiating from wick hole the outer lines ending in a spiral, curved lines radiating from filling hole on shoulders, ring base, maker's mark VV on bottom below the handle; $280.00 SALE |PRICE| $252.00


Byzantine Empire, Andronicus II Palaeologus, 1282 - 24 May 1328 A.D.

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An extremely rare Andronicus II trachy of this type was found by Dochev at Turnovo (Dochev 1992, Pl. 17, 2; ). It is the Turnovo coin that is described in the Dumbarton Oaks Catalog (DOC V) and in Sear's Byzantine Coin Values (SBCV). We know of only five other specimens of the type.
BZ91214. Bronze trachy, Dochev 1992, pl. 17, 2; DOC V, table 18A, 30 (none in the collection); SBCV 2357A; B-D LPC -; Bendall PCPC; Lianta -; Grierson -; Sommer -, F/VF, obverse "finder" cleaned by scraping, edge crack, small spots of corrosion, weight 1.680 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 1282 - 1328 A.D.; obverse The Virgin Mary standing facing orans, nimbate, wears tunic and maphorion, MP - ΘV (Greek abbr.: Mητηρ Θεου - Mother of God) flanking nimbus; reverse Andronicus, on left, standing facing, scepter cruciger in right hand and anexikakia(?) in left hand, blessed by military saint, on right standing facing with sword(?) in left hand; extremely rare; $270.00 SALE |PRICE| $243.00


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; $250.00 SALE |PRICE| $225.00




  






REFERENCES|

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Bendall, S. A Private Collection of Palaeologan Coinage. (Wolverhampton, Privately printed by S. Bendall, 1988).
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Catalog current as of Tuesday, January 28, 2020.
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Byzantine Coins