Featured Emperor/Despot John Comnenus Ducas - One of the Most Prolific Byzantine Minters - History + Coinage

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by The Trachy Enjoyer, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    As you can see from the coins above, coins of Theodore Comnenus Ducas from the Empire of Thessalonica are not usually in good condition. This coin has its problems, but some virtues as well:

    SB2167TheodoreIEmpThessalonica2029.jpg

    33-28 mm. 3.10 grams.
    Sear 2167
    DO IV.II 9 "Type F" struck 1127/8.
    Lianta 332-4 (all from the Bendall collection).

    Yes, the cup-shaped piece has been squashed. Yes, it has a hole. But it has a nice big flan with remarkably clear obverse lettering.
     
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  3. BenSi

    BenSi Well-Known Member

    That is a very beautiful example @Valentinian
     
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  4. Quant.Geek

    Quant.Geek Well-Known Member

    Here is one of the Anonymous coins of Thesalonika. It so-called Anonymous due to the fact that there is yet to find a coin with a clear legend. Its a very rare coin:

    Kingdom of Thessalonica: Anonymous (ca. mid 13th century) BI Trachy (Sear 2226; DOC IV, 1; Lianta 433-35)
    Obv: Wing, from which extends an arm holding a sword; above and below a star
    Rev: Full-length figure of emperor bearded on right, and of beardless, nimbate saint (Demetrius); between them partially sheathed sword, point downward; Emperor wears stemma, divitision, collar-piece and jeweled loros of simplified type; left hand holds scepter; Saint wears short military tunic, breastplate and sagion; right hand holds spear?; In upper center field a star

    [​IMG]
     
  5. The Trachy Enjoyer

    The Trachy Enjoyer Well-Known Member

    Odd how the Saint (Demetrios?) is the left figure
     
  6. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    These Series III are some of my favorites of Thessalonika.

    s-l500.jpg

    s-l500.jpg
     
  7. The Trachy Enjoyer

    The Trachy Enjoyer Well-Known Member

    I agree. Its a wonderful combination of ingenuity in terms of design and a lovely diminutive style
     
  8. DiomedesofArgos

    DiomedesofArgos Well-Known Member

    Really awesome OP. You did a great job summarizing this emperor's coinage. I loved this line: "The history of John Comnenus Ducas reads like a story where everyone is notable but himself" :D

    My one and only John Comnenus-Ducas:

    605_2.jpg

    John Comnenus-Ducas. As emperor of Thessalonica, 1237-1242. BI Aspron Trachy (14mm, 0.99 g). Series III. Thessalonica mint. Pelleted cross with pellets in quarters; all within pelleted circle set on decorated base / Half-length figure of John facing, holding labarum and akakia, beneath pelleted arch. S. Bendall, “Notes on the Coinage in the name of John Comnenus-Ducas of Thessalonica (AD 1237-44),” in NC 162 (2002), 25; DOC 36; CLBC 14.27.3; SB 2221;


    Definitely a coin only a collector could love :p.
     
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  9. JohnnyC

    JohnnyC Member

    The legend on this very rare type seems to name St Demetrius rather than the ruler (CLBC 14.31.2 - see example below from the Despot sale), so my guess is this could be an issue of Demetrius Comnenus-Ducas in 1242-44.
    Demetrius, despite his inferior status under John III, has still cleverly managed to name himself.

    Ross G.

    Th.-JohnComSM-s.2226-1b-1.62g-LHS97-194.JPG
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  10. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    I think that the imagery on your coin with the emperor under the arch would make it striking even for non-enthusiasts of the coinage of Thessalonika.
     
  11. The Trachy Enjoyer

    The Trachy Enjoyer Well-Known Member

    Lovely coin! Was this the example offered by CNG 2ish auctions ago? I was in the hunt for a bit but ended up bidding on (and winning:)) a cheap tornese for $45
     
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  12. DiomedesofArgos

    DiomedesofArgos Well-Known Member

    That's definitely what attracted me to it. I haven't actually showed it to any non-collectors yet, but I am anticipating the kind of looks and tones I got showing off a seal I really liked but that wasn't in that great of shape. :D We'll see, maybe the non-collectors will surprise me
     
  13. DiomedesofArgos

    DiomedesofArgos Well-Known Member


    Indeed! There were a number of great Byzantine coins in that auction. Whoever the "Philhellene" was had a really nice collection
     
  14. Quant.Geek

    Quant.Geek Well-Known Member

    Thanks Ross! That is definitely a good theory on who issued those coins. I didn't see that particular specimen. It has a very clear legend on that one.
     
  15. The Trachy Enjoyer

    The Trachy Enjoyer Well-Known Member

    IMG_9009_scrubbed.png
    I received a new John Comnenus Ducas trachy:). This shows a flower/star on the obverse and the Virgin Mary in Orans on the reverse. This is a pretty rare type so I am glad to finally have it. It was misidentified on ebay...
     
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