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Constantine IV, Æ Follis, Syracuse


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While visiting Chicago last week, I stopped into the Harlan Berk shop downtown and bought the Constantine IV Follis below in person. A long time has passed since I bought something directly "over the counter" like that. They sent me to the Ancient Coins department and they did a little searching for the piece, but in about 15 minutes they brought it to me in a room lined with books on ancient coins and antiquities. The office itself proved quite an experience. On the table sat a small chest of $20 cheapies that we rummaged through while waiting. That box had some decent stuff in it for the price. As for the Follis, I like the obverse, but the reverse doesn't look too appealing. So it goes with many Byzantines: you take what you can get. But, they also gave me a break on the price, so it ended up being a memorable trip all around. I highly recommend the experience. The only downside is that it missed the Byzantine portrait thread. Maybe next time?

Constantine IV Pogonatus (668 - 685), with Heraclius and Tiberius, Æ Follis (20mm, 4.38 g). Syracuse mint; Obv: No legend, Crowned and cuirassed facing bust, holding globus cruciger; Rev: Large M, flanked by Heraclius and Tiberius standing facing; TKW monogram above, [SC]L in exergue; MIB 104; SB 1207

Edited by ewomack
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19 hours ago, Ancient Coin Hunter said:

Nice Constantine IV. I agree that with Byzantines it's pretty much hit and miss on portraiture most of the time. As a civilization they had different priorities than realistic busts, and symbolism played a much bigger role.

Yes, that is exactly why Byzantine coins appeal to me. I love the abstraction and the sometimes even cartoony depictions of people on the coins. One of my favorites remains the Constans II portraits. It's definitely a slightly different taste, but it fits with mine.

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