Featured The trouble with t̶r̶i̶b̶b̶l̶e̶s̶ trachys

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Quant.Geek, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    Is this Manuel, John, Alexius tetarteron?
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  3. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    It is John II, Half tetarteron. The shield shape is triangle , that is unique to that issue.


    OBV Bust of St. Demetrius beardless and nimbate, wearing tunic, breastplate, and saigon. Holds in r. hand sword and l. shield.

    REV Bust of emperor wearing stemma, divitision, collar piece, and paneled loros of a simplified type; holds in r. hand labarum headed scepter and in l. gl. cr.
  4. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    Thank you.
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  5. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    A new bit of info and a nice example to add to the thread.

    This article is regarding Why they were made, not how. It is very interesting. No definitive answer but a good read. ( I mentioned this in a non related thread earlier.)


    The coin recently added to my collection is part of my hunt to complete the coinage of John II Comnenus. SBCV -1952 27mm and 4.08gm This completes the billion trachea part of my hunt. It is an interesting example, strange patina , you can see traces of the silver underneath. Nicely struck and a strange depiction of the child Christ. The reverse has most of the legend. I am not sure how the wear dot in the center got there. r3.jpg
  6. Black Friar

    Black Friar Supporter! Supporter

    My guess on the "spot" is a test mark to see if it was silver through and through. That would account for the wear on the corresponding spot on the obverse.

    I have six examples of John II, Comnenus aspron trachy (S 1944), that are heavily silvered as well as a Manuel I (DO 10b6). The John II examples were from an ancient dealer who bought a whole group and marketed them as gold at a very good price.

    I bought them as such and when I received them it became obvious to me they weren't electrum but heavily plated silver. He lived near David Sear and took them over to him. Sear condenmed them as electrum.

    The dealer called me back with the news and of course reduced the price significantly. I purchased two more. My thought was that they were struck to deceive and used as payment (electrum) for bribes or some such.

    To be honest, the example attached of the John II is the only one I photoed, I do have better. The Manuel piece, is attached as I think it's a very pretty coin.

    Thanks to seth77 for sharing his article. I have been following the Academia articles, they are fascinating and have increased my knowledge and have answered more than one question I have had over the years of collecting Byzantine coinage.

    Attached Files:

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  7. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    It is a small world, at least the coin world. I bought this one S-1944 type B from a dealer long before vcoins, I think it was an off shoot of NOL and it was around the year 2000, the Pacific Northwest dealer I bought the coin from told me nearly the same story, a group of coins SBCV-1944 types A and B so heavily silvered that they were mistaken for electrum, the dealers in dispute sent them to David Sear and he noted they were silver, solving the dispute. He had several coins and told me others had already sold. I bought one, this is mine with its most current picture, not my best job, I was playing with a new lens.

    DOC had mentioned the average rate of silver in John II trachea was 6 to 7% and the highest recorded was 11%. His sons coins Manuel averaged 4 to 6% and Isaac II went down to 3 and 2%. I am sure our examples are much higher than 11% t6.jpg
  8. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Gonna revive this thread with a flat(tened) trachy of... who is this? Michael VIII?

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  9. Black Friar

    Black Friar Supporter! Supporter

    This looks quite Latin Empire in style and fabric. I see several examples in Hendy, DOC Volume 4, part II, Plate 53 #35.1/2. Time frame 1204-64. This is a very fluid time for coinage as in some cases in the Latin Period there were so many principalities. Believe it or not, while it's been in the ground, it was quite well struck. Cool piece.
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  10. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

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  11. Black Friar

    Black Friar Supporter! Supporter

    Bingo, I agree, just couldn't make up my mind. Good show.
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  12. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Here is something that Byzantine specialists will definitely appreciate. Any guesses what it is?

    trachy latin.jpg
  13. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    You never put up easy ones Seth, this is post 1203 and I will have to check my books to find a match.
  14. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Where would be the fun in easy ones
  15. David MacDonald

    David MacDonald New Member

    Could you suggest some basic bibliography for those of us who might want to get involved with trachies (trachys?)
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  16. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter


    Dumbarton Oaks catalog volume IV. Above is the link , it is now free online.
    As a billion coinage , trachea begin in the coin reform of Alexius I Commenus in 1092.

    This is still the best source.
    There is another catalog its not free is CLBC. It is not without problems, much of the written information is lacking but it has accurate line drawings for each coin up to the mid 13th century and that makes it worth the price.

    Here is a link to that catalog.
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  17. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    CLBC 11.35.2 SBCV - DOC IV -

    Latin OBV Virgin? REV Nimbate Saint

    That is my best guess, the obv. has no sign of the virgin but the dots above. the Rev. is a nimbate saint.

    What did you attribute it as Seth?
  18. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    I think it is similar to 11.20.2 and not sure it even is in DOC (or maybe similar to IV-21.2?). These are rather hard to pin down but the general type is Type U, described as Virgin orans half-length / Saint Paul by Metcalf or Saint Nicholas facing / Saint John the Baptist (holding something or maybe not) according to Grierson. Malloy et al describe both variations and assign them to the corresponding Type U by Hendy (Malloy 23-24, p. 328).

    There is also an interesting discussion about the dating of this type in the broader context of the similar reverse types: Archangel, Virgin orans to the right, Virgin orans facing, Peter and Paul embracing and finally this one, very likely John the Baptist as per Grierson. These types seem to have been minted in rather fast sequence.

    Similar, but in better shape spec here: https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=2580056
  19. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    This is what i thought it was.
    The number from Naumann is correct 11.20.2 depicts st John the Baptist on one side and St. Nicholas on the other. The image in CLBC appears very different.
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  20. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    I dont have CLBC to check Naumann's id, but the picture provided is very similar to the one I posted earlier and that bearded saint on the obverse doesn't really look like the Virgin.


    So either there's something I'm missing, there are two separate types (as per Malloy) or CLBC is misjudged its one example known and considered the obv to be the Virgin when in fact it wasn't?

    Could you please add the CLBC entry for 11.20.2 as per Naumann?
  21. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    Here is 11.20.2. . The beard on the reverse seems to match.
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