Nailing Down a Byzantine

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by kevin McGonigal, Nov 24, 2021.

  1. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    I'm going through my Byzantine coins and found one I think I misattributed at the time. It is a very small follis, about the size of a US nickel weighing only 3.7 grams and cut almost like a geometric design (rhombus?). It is fairly clear and smooth and parts are legible. What I think it is, is a follis (M 40 numia) of a young Constans II of ca. 650 AD but I cannot make out the lettering and I am not sure of the mint. I would appreciate it if one our Byzantine experts could take a look and nail it down and perhaps fill in what parts the coin's inscriptions I cannot make out an determine the mint. Thanks for any help you can give to me.

    IMG_2133Byzantine follis obv..jpg IMG_2134Byz rev..jpg
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  3. Black Friar

    Black Friar Well-Known Member

    Great accidental find. It's an Arab/Byz piece and I am jealous. Condition is excellent
    and a very well done design and strike for that period. There is no mint name but thats normal for this type Its based on a follis of Constans II and most likely struck
    in Syria. I'm away from home so I can't give you the catalogue number.

    Actually, it's better example of a Byz follis (40 nummi) of this type than a lot of Byzantine issues of this type struck in Constantinople.

    I'm sure others will log into this post, it's a cool coin. Cheers!
  4. Black Friar

    Black Friar Well-Known Member

    More info, I forgot to include. To the left of the image is a blundered ANNO, to the left is the number 3 as (I)II, beneath is a blundered Greek letter A signifying the officina which is the workshop identification where it was minted.
    kevin McGonigal likes this.
  5. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much, Black Friar. I had no idea. I though these Arab copies always removed any traces of Christianity and the coin has three crosses on it. It also explains why I could not make out what the inscriptions were saying. I thought I was going blind. I have no idea what the value of pieces like this might be compared to ones issued by an imperial mint . I remember going through a batch of these coins at a flea market a few years ago. Ten bucks a piece. Your choice. Thanks again for this information.
  6. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    Within the Arab-Byzantine series, the first group chronologically are relatively faithful imitations of Byzantine types, referred to as 'pseudo-Byzantine'. The prototype for the op is SB 1004, year 3, officina A. The obverse legend on the prototype reads InPER COnSt. The op is somewhat blundered. The reverse should read ANA down at left, NEOS in exergue, II/I at right. I read NIS in the exergue rather than NEOS. Album 3506; Goodwin type G. A worthy coin! [edited]
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2021
    GinoLR and kevin McGonigal like this.
  7. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much. A lifetime of coin collecting and only now acquiring such a coin. I'll have to dust off my Byzantine coin books.
    dltsrq likes this.
  8. Black Friar

    Black Friar Well-Known Member

    From one Grumpy ol man to another, thanks for your addition, I was hopeful others would jump in. Kevin you really did score a good one. Byzantine and Arab/Byz are
    a study in the story of numismatics.

    It has been a hallmark of conquerors as they occupy other countries. If we look at the recent monetary history of WWII, both the Germans and Japanese issued substitute currencies for the occupied that at least looked similar to the money
    of the realm.
    kevin McGonigal likes this.
  9. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    I wonder if this one is an official issue of Constantinople in 641/2 or an Islamic Syrian imitation:
    constans II 3.jpg
    The obv. legend is blundered : ЄИ T૪TO [...]OA
    The rev. legend seems correct : ANA ИЄ[O]Ƨ, exergue ЄI (officina letter + regnal year).
    kevin McGonigal and Deacon Ray like this.
  10. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Until a few days ago I would have just chalked this up as the work of an illiterate (or bored) mint worker.Of course it should read, en touto nika (in this, victory. What Constantine had seen in the sky, a fiery chi rho). It does look similar to some other coins of the mid Seventh Century that I would have thought of as blundered Byzantines but I don't know. Maybe some members could take a closer look at this one and tell readers what it is and what to look for to distinguish the one from the other.
  11. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    I think the conquering Arabs did something like this with the Sassanian silver coinage when they occupied Persia.
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