Introduction to Byzantine coins (491-1453)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Valentinian, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    I have enjoyed Byzantine coins since 1972. There is a lot of information available about Greek and Roman coins, but many people don't know much about Byzantine coins, don't know if they would even be interested, and don't even know where to start getting information. Well, now there is a source. A few months ago I decided to write a web site for beginners and I am announcing it today. "Introduction to Byzantine Coins (491-1453)" is here:

    Take a look!

    Here is a large photo with some Byzantine coins which are discussed on the site.


    Byzantine coins are interesting. Many have great stories. (Here is one about Constantine VII I told in an old thread: )

    Many are inexpensive. I admit that if you want sharp EF coins, Byzantine copper is not for you. But if you want history, they've got it!

    Show us anything Byzantine!
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  3. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    I am a US collector that happened upon this gorgeous Anonymous Follis earlier this year. I been addicted since. IMG_3619.JPG IMG_3621.JPG

    Attached Files:

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  4. catadc

    catadc Well-Known Member

    That is great work.

    The coin below was waiting for my return from vacation. 20190828_184423.jpg 20190828_184340.jpg
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  5. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    Great coins and awesome work with the site Valentinian.

    Here are a couple of Byzantines.
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  6. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Good overview as far as I see on a skim. This is what is needed not only here but for several other areas of possible interest to beginners. I have two kinds of Byzantine coins, those I show here all the time and those not worth showing here ever. You get my favorites again and again.

    Quoting from the site:
    [​IMG]John VIII, 1423-1448.
    Stavraton = 1/2 hyperpyron. 24-22 mm. 6.73 grams.
    Again Christ is on the obverse. This time the revere has two concentric lines of legend, most of which are usually illegible or flat-struck like this one. The name would be from 1:00 to 2:00, but is not legible here. Finding one with a legible name would significantly increase the price.

    Sear 2564.

    Silver coins of this quality are quite available.

    Mine has the IWHN from 1:00 to 2:00 and struck me as a deal when I bought it from CNG in 1990. There are two opinions on the obverse/reverse matter. Some will say that Christ is the more important so is on the obverse no matter what. Others would look at the metal curled up on the Christ side and say that it suggests that side was the upper die and upper dies are the reverses. I do love the I on my coin since it proves beyond any doubt that the coin is not a KW Constantine XI. Of course we all know that being in my collection is equally valid proof. The best of the KW coins are rarely semi-legible and sell fro great sums. If I had one, I'd sell it.

    Randy A. showed a lovely Christ portrait Anonymous bronze with all the facial features intact. I'll show the same coin with no nose but better legends on both sides. Either is not easy to find; both on the same coin is something special - really special. My answer here is to own several coins which add up to full detail. Those who want all on one flan will pay. rz0504fd946.jpg

    This one illustrates the fact that many Byzantine coins are struck on older coins. There are some issues that are scarce with absolutely no trace of an undertype. Personally I prefer the wild and crazy jumbled messes with a strong preference for coins that can be fully identified from both strikes. Often it helps to photograph a coin twice placing the top of the undertype on top of the second.
    Heraculus year 6 shop 5 Constantinople / Justin II year 5 shop 5 Constantinople

    Byzantines are a good area for finding favorites that many others would not appreciate. I believe that condition is not as important as interest on most coins but on Byzantine:
    I hope you all will buy only the EF perfection and gold beauties. Leave the wild bronzes for me.
  7. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

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  8. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    I take take the photos myself :). I consider it something of a sub-hobby. I am far from expert at it and have benefited greatly from the advice of many of the members on the forum.
  9. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    I look at a lot of talented photographers of coins here on CT. Your images just blew me away....... Apologies for the thread derail....
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  10. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Great web site and coins! It interesting the Eastern Roman empire is called the Byzantine empire today and they called themselves Romans. I have purchased a few coins and given most of them away as Christmas presents.
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  11. tartanhill

    tartanhill Well-Known Member

    WOW!!! Thanks.
  12. Rheingold

    Rheingold Well-Known Member

    That's mine...I love it....Justin II, Gold Denar 20190801_175642~3.jpg
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  13. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Great site, Valentinian. I appreciate your efforts - I visit all the time.

    Byzantine coppers are all I can afford, but I find them to be a lot of fun to collect and attribute. And yep, they can be very affordable - I paid a dollar for this one:

    Byzantine - Romanus IV - Follis Aug 2019 (0).jpg
    Byzantine Empire Æ Follis
    Romanus IV Diogenes
    (1068-1071 A.D.)
    Constantinople Mint

    IC-XC over NI-KA flanking bust of Christ facing, / Cross with C-R / P-Δ in angles.
    SB 1866; DOC III, part 2, 8.
    Overstrike: Unidentified Follis (?).
    (8.90 grams / 26 mm)
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  14. Plumbata

    Plumbata Well-Known Member

    Thanks for putting that site together, I'll be studying it soon.

    That huge Nikomedia Justinian follis (#14 in the picture) is AWESOME! What is the diameter and weight?
  15. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Thank you, @Valentinian ! I have not really moved into this area, however you have influenced me to capture the few I have. Here are a couple of mine:

    BYZ Andronicus II - Michael IX AD 1295-1320 AR Basilikon 22mm 2.1g Constantinople Christ enthroned - Andronicus l Michael r labarum DOC V 1 Class VIII

    BYZ Manuel I Comnenus 1143-1180 CE Aspron Trachy 35mm 4-6g Christ Gospels Labaran globus cruciger Virgin maphorium SB 1966 scyphate
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  16. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Here are a couple of mine:

    Justinian, Heraclius, and some unknown dude.







    That last one was $2.00 from the bargain bin. Haven't tried to clean it up yet.
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  17. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Here is an anonymous folle and a folle of Michael the Amorian and Theophilos, the Amorian being an iconoclast.




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  18. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    That one is 43 mm and 22.37 grams. It seems to me the large ones from Nikomedia tend to be a bit larger than the large ones from other mints.
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  19. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    @Valentinian Are you familiar with Byzantine weights? Two of my Byzantine (or late Roman) weights use letters in monogram:
    L I for one Libra (pound)

    Byzantine bronze spherical weight GamB Sextans Leu N 6.30.19.jpg
    O U for ounce

    Have you seen this on coins?
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  20. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    @rrdenarius , I know only a bit about weights (I have Bendall's book on them). I do not think Byzantine coins have occasion to put an indication of their weight on them. I know, for example, some Roman silver under the tetrarchy has "XCVI" for 96 (to the pound) and some AE under Constantius II has "LXXII" for 72 (to the pound). I don't recall any Byzantine copper having such an indication of weight.
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  21. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    I scanned the book again and found a reference to A for Libra and gamma for (a word with Greek letters) at the bottom of page 7. I missed connecting A = Libra = As / pound and OV gamma gamma IA = ounce.
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