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Alexius I Comnenus , a collection.


Simon
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Its not complete but getting closer. All of the coins are post reform and each denomination is now represented.

The El Aspron Trachy was not easy. I have only 1 of the 4 types listed. 

As for Billion traches I am missing the coronation pieces ( Both very rare.) I do have an example of SBCV-1917 I excluded it because I question its authenticity. 

The tetartera portion is complete, 3 different lead tetartera, 4 City Tetartera , and  7 Thessalonica tetartera. The last is rarest of them all, simple DOC 41, no Sear number. This example and another in the Museum of Thessalonica are the only two currently known.  I left out the Philippopolis trachy SBCV-1936 because I needed a round number. I just chose one of each example but I do have numerous examples of the coppers. 

The coins are in Sears order , Constantinople first then Thessalonica.  The coins are in scale with each other.

z.jpg.5c3f3c885725f652ecdcf7424faef290.jpg

Please feel free to post your examples of Alexius Coinage, pre reform or post. 

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b279.jpg.9fdee969cab02ed6a9090bd1d3373676.jpg

Alexius I/ Transitional
AR Histamenon Nomisma
1081 to 1082 AD
Obvs: ::KЄRO ΛΛЄϞIω IC XC, Christ bearded and nimbate wearing tunic and kolobion. Holds gospels in left hand
Revs: ·ΔIMITI ΔϵCΠTH, St. Demetrius standing 3/4 facing presenting labarum to Alexius which holds sword and grasps shaft of labarum.
27x29mm, 4.17g.
Thessalonica mint
Ref: Sear 1904, DOC 4.1

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Alexius I Comnenus, AD 1081-1118. Æ Tetarteron (21mm, 3.48g, 6h). Thessalonica mint. Obv: I-C / X-C; Facing bust of Christ Pantokrator, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium and colobium, and raising right hand in benediction, book of Gospels in left hand, pellet in each limb of nimbus cross. Rev: AΛZI ΔЄCΠ; Bust of Alexius facing, wearing crown and jeweled chlamys and holding cruciform scepter and globus cruciger. Ref: SB 1929; DOC 38. About Very Fine, nice detail.

image.jpeg

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4 hours ago, Simon said:

It's not complete but getting closer. All of the coins are post reform and each denomination is now represented.

Simon, that is a wonderful group. I only wish the image were larger so each coin could be appreciated.

I love it when someone can show a theme that this their own and not dictated by fashion. Not many of us are trying to complete a type set of post-reform coins of Alexius I !   However, I do like coins of Alexius, especially the inexpensive AE.  Here is my page on his coin reform:

http://augustuscoins.com/ed/Byz/Alexius.html
 

and here is one of the anonymous folles attributed to him:

SB1901ClassKAlexiusIn1983.jpeg.5236a9f969e5d6a7cc11499f07b98e37.jpeg

 

Class K is distinguished by the borders of large pellets.
This piece: 25-22 mm. 6.92 grams.
Bust of Christ facing, IC XC either side, inside a rim of large pellets. 
3/4-length figure of Mary standing, orans, facing, inside rim of large pellets. 
Sear 1901.

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That is a great set! I really love the Alexius Tetartera. 

Here are two "flat bronze" coins that I have down as Alexius (but I made those attributions at least 10 or maybe 20 years ago, so I wouldn't swear to their accuracy):

image.jpeg.755de78114b0afc0ee34dbb477ea91d8.jpeg  image.jpeg.dc318ba49f009432a0c3944fbb0270a5.jpeg

Maybe I'll post my pile of AE Tetartera if I can get a group shot!

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Please pardon the second consecutive post!

Here's a quick group shot of my pile of Tetartera (rather, half Tetartera, I think these are usually called). Nothing too special there. Unfortunately doesn't look like any Alexius I in this group [edit: oh, bottom right -- thanks!]; mostly (or all) Manuel I and John II. I put the ones I like best up toward the top row (especially the two John II near the center, which I've always wondered if they weren't billon, but I have seen any reference to say they are). 

Anyway, I've always really liked this denomination, the small flat coinage of the Byzantine Empire, which was apparently always in short supply (and not well liked by the public):

image.jpeg.dc2ed39cf5a827b37118130a8af5b263.jpeg

Edited by Curtis JJ
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10 minutes ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

I've been wondering recently; what did they do for small change, 900-1070's AD, when the follis was the only AE's?

It's an interesting question! If you haven't seen it before, the article focuses on the period after 1092 (Alexius I's monetary reform, including Tetartera), but it helps give a sense of the issues, and it may touch on the earlier period at times. I found it very interesting and useful:

P.Papadopoulou. 2010/2022. "The Big Problem of Small Change in the Byzantine World (12th and 13th centuries)," in First International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Studies Symposium. Istanbul:‎ Koc University Press. (Symposium in 2007.)

https://www.academia.edu/788213/P.Papadopoulou_The_Big_Problem_of_Small_Change_in_the_Byzantine_World_12th_and_13th_centuries_2010_

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6 hours ago, Valentinian said:

Simon, that is a wonderful group. I only wish the image were larger so each coin could be appreciated.

Thank you and I agree the details  are important, I just started a project where I could do this. Have all of the coins side by side to give the idea of size. My older photos were good but the big picture never looked right.  For Individual shots check out this album on FAC.

The 12th Century Byzantine Empire. - Classical Numismatics Discussion - Members' Coin Gallery (forumancientcoins.com

The entire collection will be reshot, I am also adding in other examples. The smaller examples might be re cropped , I have not decided yet, I guess the goal right now is to give a visually accurate size.  I also changed the background color to give more accurate images. 

5 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

I've been wondering recently; what did they do for small change, 900-1070's AD, when the follis was the only AE's?

They also used barter system, it made small transactions more difficult. The Comnenus reform made money more accessible and more versatile so the common person could use it for everyday transactions.  A strange occurrence happens  after the reform and the coins were separated . The Greek area used Hyperpyron and tetartera, Asia Minor used El Aspron Trachea and Billion Trachea. The Capital, Constantinople was the only place all denominations circulated. This leads to the same issue you mentioned for pre reform coinage, since the lowest denomination used Asia Minor was the billion Aspron trachy then goods either cost more or a credit system was in place. This is mentioned in the article @Curtis JJ posted. 

I like the examples everyone posted , especially the example @Edessa posted of SBCV-1929, that is a nice example , these coins ( tetartera)were never taken out of circulation so it is hard find nice ones. The group lot @Curtis JJ posted are Manuel and John II with one Alexius I, ( The last coin on the bottom row SBCV-1932, a half tetarteron.)

Here is a better picture of the coins above just one example of each, Hyperpyron, El Aspron Trachy, Billion trachy , City Tetarteron, Tetarteron, Half tetarteron.

z1.jpg.81c8ac21fc39f0641a8e9fd8516a7ec6.jpg

Edited by Simon
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4 hours ago, Simon said:

They also used barter system, it made small transactions more difficult. The Comnenus reform made money more accessible and more versatile so the common person could use it for everyday transactions.  A strange occurrence happens  after the reform and the coins were separated . The Greek area used Hyperpyron and tetartera, Asia Minor used El Aspron Trachea and Billion Trachea. The Capital, Constantinople was the only place all denominations circulated. This leads to the same issue you mentioned for pre reform coinage, since the lowest denomination used Asia Minor was the billion Aspron trachy then goods either cost more or a credit system was in place. This is mentioned in the article @Curtis JJ posted. 

Cool, the coins are admirable examples! 

We have sale examples of Byzantine pre and post reform AE's showing up in Islamic territory.  Was it a vice versa situation?

It would also be wonderful if someone could make a thread about the various symbols/provincial mints of the A2 folles, and even a thread about the different variety of anonymous folles.

I'll have to dig it up sometime; my billon trachy is very silvery-looking, a nice example purchased from Jon Subak in the 90's (I might have made a boo-boo and said Kern before).  The great majority of my Alexius AE are either Allen Berman junk box ones (I loved buying those back then) or something from the local coin shop.

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Pre-1204 is not an area I know very much about, but in my eclectic picks last month I came across this, which I think it's a Greek local variation of an Alexius tetarteron DOC 40:

alexius.jpg.91a21887fce1c8917ffbd405e6d4aa09.jpg

At 18mm 2.15g it's too light to be an Alexian official issue and too heavy to be one of the 'Dyrrachium' types discussed by Pagona Papadopoulou in 'Tetartera d'imitation du XIIIe siecle: a propos du Tresor de Durres' -- but I think it's still a Greek issue, possibly contemporary with the first 'faithful copies' or the 'Bulgaria trachea'.

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21 hours ago, seth77 said:

Pre-1204 is not an area I know very much about, but in my eclectic picks last month I came across this, which I think it's a Greek local variation of an Alexius tetarteron DOC 40:

The imitations tetartera seem to have been minted in the 13th century  and maybe early 14th century and are very abundant. In fact when Michael Hendy wrote DOC IV he did not recognize them as imitation and included them in the findings. So as a result most of the low numbers for the coins are off. At the same time they are not always easy to recognize.

Also it is interesting to note the imitations seem to be only Alexius and his Grandson Manuel. I have never seen imitations of John II tetartera or Andronicus ,Isaac II or Alexius III tetartera.

Julian Bakers book goes into some detail on site finds and such. His book starts in 1200 but he has to write about the 12th century to get there. 

Here is one of my favorite imitations, found in Cyprus, look at the Christ design, almost circles to make the image. This is also interesting because this coin is rarely imitated, too complex compared to others they could have done. 

1929imi1.jpg.2acb2dd4765dad384bf63c5517a971f2.jpg

Here are some other examples of your coin. 

1931imit.jpg.38ddd1a714c320e4394d58da0e5edb48.jpg

Now this one is the Red Barron Version.

1931imit3.jpg.9317056fdf2fdbe27c3da53dc3763ed3.jpg

This last one I believe to be an imitation or at least clipped , im not certain. 

1931imit2.jpg.b5db0613e03829eef040f7577d58743e.jpg

These coins do make the subject much more confusing, to think they were imitating a coin from a ruler that dies almost 70 years before.

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18 hours ago, Simon said:

The imitations  tetartera seem to have been minted in the 13th century  and maybe early 14th century and are very abundant. In fact when Michael Hendy wrote DOC IV he did not recognize them as imitation and included them in the findings. So as a result most of the low numbers for the coins are off. At the same time they are not always easy to recognize.

Also it is interesting to note the imitations seem to be only Alexius and his Grandson Manuel. I have never seen imitations of John II tetartera or Andronicus ,Isaac II or Alexius III tetartera.

Are these same issues Sear's Greek mint?

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7 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Are these same issues Sear's Greek mint?

No, but it deserves an explanation, David Sear based a lot of the time period  on Hendy's  book  "Coinage and Money in the Byzantine Empire 1081-1264", in it ,he surmised some issues were made in a unknown Greek mint.  The coins that more than likely made the confusion were the low weighted imitations. The problem is these coins imitated and included in his books were based off official issues*. He did not realize that imitation issues existed or he just left them out of his book, in turn David Sear left them out of his book. The unknown Greek mint was born.

The imitation issues tend to be lower weight than the originals and were minted ( Hoard evidence is showing) in the 13th century and perhaps as late as the early 14tth century. 

Here is an official issue. In fact it is one of the nicest examples known with complete legends. 

1931.jpg.b6f0f968ab4dff641d3c59621947fefa.jpg

ALEXIUS AE TETARTERON S-1931 DOC 40 CLBC 2.4.7
OBV Jeweled radiate Cross, decorated at the end of each limb with one large globule and two smaller, all on two steps.

REV. Bust of emperor wearing stemma, divitision and jeweled loros of traditional type; holds in r. hand scepter cruciger and in l. Globus cruciger. Complete Inscription

Size 19mm

Weight 3.08

This is a Thessalonica minted coin.

Note from Nomos , Rare with clear inscription. An important example. Very fine

DOC lists 25 examples with weights running from1.09gm to 4.22gm and sizes ranging from 17mm to 23mm

In my description above I mention the weights in the DOC catalog, this is not accurate because they included imitation coins, not realizing they were imitation. 

* Now as a side note Julian Bakers new book "Coinage and Money in Medieval Greece 1200-1430" he throws another loop, based on his mentors writings D.M. Metcalf he excludes the Thessalonica mint and believes ALL coins were minted in Constantinople. He disregards the site find evidence with the concept that the coins traveled from Constantinople.  Even though his book is based on the  13th century , you cannot focus on that century without understanding the coin reform of Alexius.  I simple do not agree with this, once you have gold coins from Constantinople and compare them to Thessalonica issues they are very different in hand. 

Another coin said to come from an unknown Greek mint is SBCV-1932, has been heavily imitated. Why because it was a simple design.  Now recently archeological digs occurred while building the Thessalonica Metro, they found these coins in such vast quantities it is now leading to it being minted  in Thessalonica as well. Here is a nice official example.

1932b.jpg.e448a5a98aea12471beea84615272fd0.jpg

SBCV-1932

So the unknown Greek mint was more than likely created by imitation coins. I do however believe a mint existed in Cyprus during the rule of Alexius but that is another story. 

Edited by Simon
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On 9/2/2022 at 7:50 PM, Simon said:

Its not complete but getting closer. All of the coins are post reform and each denomination is now represented.

The El Aspron Trachy was not easy. I have only 1 of the 4 types listed. 

As for Billion traches I am missing the coronation pieces ( Both very rare.) I do have an example of SBCV-1917 I excluded it because I question its authenticity. 

The tetartera portion is complete, 3 different lead tetartera, 4 City Tetartera , and  7 Thessalonica tetartera. The last is rarest of them all, simple DOC 41, no Sear number. This example and another in the Museum of Thessalonica are the only two currently known.  I left out the Philippopolis trachy SBCV-1936 because I needed a round number. I just chose one of each example but I do have numerous examples of the coppers. 

The coins are in Sears order , Constantinople first then Thessalonica.  The coins are in scale with each other. 

I

z.jpg.5c3f3c885725f652ecdcf7424faef290.jpg

 

Please feel free to post your examples of Alexius Coinage, pre reform or post. 

Impressive collection ☺️!

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4 hours ago, Simon said:

No, but it deserves an explanation, David Sear based a lot of the time period  on Hendy's  book  "Coinage and Money in the Byzantine Empire 1081-1264", in it ,he surmised some issues were made in a unknown Greek mint.  The coins that more than likely made the confusion were the low weighted imitations. The problem is these coins imitated and included in his books were based off official issues*. He did not realize that imitation issues existed or he just left them out of his book, in turn David Sear left them out of his book. The unknown Greek mint was born.

Quite interesting!  Congrats on your best of coin example!

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