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Latin Tetartera?


Simon

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This article is pertaining to coins from the end on the 12th century, early 13th century during the time period of the fall of the Constantinople to the crusaders from the west. 

As of recent, an old argument has resurfaced and that is the tetartera said by Michael Hendy to be issued by the Latins were issued by another culture. These coins are not seen frequently but two of them are very attractive designs. The second problem is the coins were once thought to be Bulgarian Imitations, these coins are no longer universally thought to be Bulgarian but now known as “faithful imitations”. Minted by who, and exactly when, still alludes us. Faithful imitations were minted some believe before 1204  A.D. by Alexius III and others believe created by the Latin rulers and of course Bulgarian minted is still a contestant. 

In the most recent publication that starts with the Alexius coin reform Julian Bakers book Coinage and Money in Medieval Greece 1200-1400 ,  he eliminates Latin tetartera from his catalog because of its circulation and an obscure old passage of Metcalfs work. He cites David Metcalf eliminating the coins as Bulgarian imitations, unfortunately the passage he refers to basically eliminates all Latin issued tetartera, including two coins that were not Latin issues but are now attributed to Alexius IV and the restored rule of Isaac II (SBCV-2019,2020).  The passage does not make it clear what Metcalf thought the source of these coins were but it's alluded to be Bulgarian.

The original article is old but reprinted in “Coinage of the crusades and the Latin East”. I have the second edition, printed on page 95 but the numbers he uses in the article are from Hendy’s Coinage and Money in the Byzantine Empire 1081-1261, DOC IV was not published until 1999. So to update the info the coins in question are SBCV-2058, 2059 and 2060.

In the paragraph Metcalf eliminates not just 3 tetartera as being non Latin but he also eliminates the Isaac II and Alexius IV tetartera as not Latin either, this is due to the fact they are not found in the Corinth excavations. Well, 4 years after the 2nd publication of his book The last two were reattributed from Latin rule to the restored rule of Isaac II and the first rule  Alexius IV tetartera.

The first one I have always considered to be my favorite of the Latin rule designs, the cross on the reverse looks like a fishhook or anchor ( St Clements cross) an unusual image never used in Byzantine coinage before, its normally described leaved patriarchal cross.

2c.jpg.93bcb19e828aefbe1dfadf4c5b222794.jpg

SBCV- 2058 Half tetarteron 17mm 1.59gm

The second one is interesting because of the choice of Saints, St Constantine and St Helena. St Constantine was used by Alexius III in his trachea, more than likely the most common of the 12th century trachea. He was a Saint in the Orthodox Christianity but not in the Latin Catholic faith. So would the Latins make a St. Constantine coin?

 Helena appeared in coinage during her life but not as a saint. She was made a Saint by all of the different Christain faiths starting in the 6th century.

This example is rather nice for the issue, nice black patina. 

1c.jpg.5eb78297f73923e50380edff4ea856c0.jpg

SBCV-2059 Half tetarteron? 20mm 2.28gm

The third one is crude, the unnamed king appears to be stumpy, not an attractive die, it looks crude and could have been made by anyone but this one has another tie in, its imagery is identical to a Latin trachy SBCV-2035 an interesting theory is it was made as an experimentally tetarteron to coincide with the trachy.

3c.jpg.a41ac31c54630e9ccef0624c89de4f7f.jpg

SBCV-2060 Half tetarteron 17.11mm 1.5gm

So Julian Bakers omission of these coins from his book was more than fair since his book dealt with coinage in Greece, these coins never appeared in any of the archeological finds in that land.

 

 I don’t agree him citing Metcalf, especially when Metcalf determined them to be of Bulgarian origin and we have since retitled these coins Faithful Imitations because it is uncertain why the Bulgarians would copy Byzantine coinage. Metcalf was excellent with hoard analysis, but I think to properly attribute a coin you need to add more info, most importantly style and subject matter.

In Yordanov’s book “Coins and circulation in Medieval Bulgaria 1081-1261” none of these coins appear (including Alexius IV), in fact the last tetarteron to appear in the book is Alexius III SBCV- The last of the Constantinople issues.

4.jpg.af3eb98c02e00cb2057044a0a6c95d32.jpg

Alexius III Tetarteron SBCV-2014 21mm 2.7gm

 

We know the need for tetartera was still occurring in the 13th century, imitation tetartera has been proven to be created in the 13th century and perhaps as late as the 14th. Ironically these coins being imitated were from rulers that had died a century earlier. But these three (Latin) tetartera never seemed to make it in mass to the area that predominately used tetartera, the Greek Balkans.

 

Another mystery in Later Byzantine coinage.

If not the Latin's, who made these coins? 

Further thoughts any info I have missed (Hoard finds?), Peter and Paul hoard?

Do these coins even belong grouped together? They are very different; the subject matter is strangely out of sync with each other.

 

Any thoughts, other examples, would be very appreciated.

Thank You,

Simon

 

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A mystery (space for research).

Tetartera circulated widely in south greece. After 1204 it is believed that there was a mint in south greece producing ''imitative'' tetartera.

It was the lack of low value coinage after the collapse ?

My thought is that these ''imitative'' tetartera circulated widely until the denier tournois of the crusader principalities.

Their ''imitative'' character leaves little space for standardised weight.

Comment : ''St Constantine was used by Alexius III in his trachea, more than likely the most common of the 12th century trachea. He was a Saint in the Orthodox Christianity but not in the Latin Catholic faith. So would the Latins make a St. Constantine coin?''

They circulated for orthodox people under the latins, they did that to establish their authority.

The latin peter and paul trachea, represent st paul (orthodoxy) and st peter (catholicism) embracing. (We are one - christians, let us govern you !!)

Keep researching.

 

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1 hour ago, theotokevoithi said:

They circulated for orthodox people under the latins, they did that to establish their authority.

Honestly I agree with you here as well as Michael Hendy as these coins being issued by the Latins but I also respect the opinion of David Metcalf, that same opinion is being voiced by people who studied under him.  Julian Bakers book basically put these as a footnote but as I also noted the coins did not circulate in Greece so they were never a focus of his study. He also eliminates the Thessalonica 12th century mint based off of Metcalfs writings as well. He believed the second mint was a private operation just outside of Constantinople. (This is also based off Metcalfs writings.)

So if the evidence is leading them (Metcalf, Baker) to another creator this seems to be a loop without an answer. The coins that were called Bulgarian imitations (Now faithful imitations) were imitations of trachea of Manuel I, Isaac II and Alexius III. These coins were normally of lighter weight and poorer design, but they were imitations of official minted coins. Two of these tetartera  are attractive well struck, in fact as tetartera go these were creative designs. As for them being Bulgarian official issues Yordanovs book eliminates them ever being found in Bulgaria. As an additional twist, both Hendy and Grierson attributed these coins to the Thessalonica mint. Sommer does not include them in his catalog.

As for Imitation tetartera you are correct were made but once again not with unique designs, some were created during each rulers rule but others seem to be made late into the 13th century but again imitating rulers long gone. Tetartera was never recalled or brought out of circulation, it was basically a coin that several generations were familiar with.

I have not found these coins listed in any hoard data, it would have to be on hoards found after 1969 because I am uncertain how they would be described before that. 

31 minutes ago, catadc said:

Just to leave here my SB2059

Nice example @catadc, they are a pain to find. Thanks for posting it. 

Edited by Simon
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I agree, there are multiple opinions.

- There is a speculation that the latin rulers used / permitted mobile private mints operated by the Venetians (technical knowledge). Continuing the tradition of military mints in an age of war. 

- The Bulgarians and the Magnates (x byzantine aristocracy) also minted imitative issues for local use and soldier payment reasons. The soldier payment was usually in billon trachea.

Theory for tetarteron circulation in south greece (1204-1260) : There is always the possibility that the imitative tetartera (local private minting) of the population were recalled, collected and melted to produce the crusader principalities billon denier tournois in order to establish latin feudalism. The silver was given by the latin feudal lords. If this is the case, it explains why we cant find them. There was a possible exchange : Give us the copper tetartera to get the new billon denier for use.

Unforunately, i dont know contemporary written sources for these details.

My example is a characterised small module latin trachy : But i believe it was a reduced by cutting large module  trachy  to be used as a tetarteron (1/4) in balcans or greece. The rest of the coin was remelted to produce more tetartera (they did not mind for the silver content of the  trachea : nonexisted in this period). The private mints used everything they could find. A theory.

Good luck, the tetartera are difficult collecting items (we cant find them all, we don t know all the produced types). Their pricing should be higher than let s say john iii s hyperpyron or michael viii s hyperpyron, historically thinking.

20240408_0234.jpg

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5 hours ago, theotokevoithi said:

Good luck, the tetartera are difficult collecting items (we cant find them all, we don t know all the produced types). Their pricing should be higher than let s say john iii s hyperpyron or michael viii s hyperpyron, historically thinking.

Thank You but I have now completed the entire 12th century, it took 20 years, as far as I know its the world's only known privately owned complete collection of the tetartera of the Eastern Roman emperors on the 12th century. I can say that because the collection includes Alexius DOC 41, John II DOC DOC15, and the last one I needed to complete the collection was a half tetarteron of Isaac II DOC 6, I acquired an example in dec 2022. .  I do not have a complete collection of Isaac Usurper of Cyprus, I am missing his Saint George half tetarteron. (Mentioned in DOC IV but not pictured.) 

I specialize in the 12th century Byzantine coinage but I am still a dozen coins from finishing the century (Several Hyperons, a couple of trachea from Alexius and one of the El Aspron trachea from Manuel.). Once I had all of the tetartera the rest were added because they easier to find.  

The reason for this discussion is I will publish the collection and mention all information I can regarding each type. I have been doing this randomly since the project started a short time ago.

I have been an active member of coin boards from the beginning ( Yahoo groups.), I have learned a lot from other collectors and I have tried to share with other collectors all the information I have acquired through the years. However, the main focus of the book will be the least talked about coinage, the tetartera. 

Now this board has some very good minds for 13th century and beyond coinage and I was hoping that perhaps the coins were mentioned in hoard finds that they would have encountered , D.M Metcalfs original notation on the series came from his document of the Peter and Paul hoard. I dont have that article or the contents of that hoard. 

As for the other mystery's, I agree, we have lots of opinions but very little evidence. A perfect example is the clipping of the coinage, did it start in Alexius III rule or during Alexius IV  or the Latins. An interesting theory is it was started during the rule of Alexius IV and the restored rule of Isaac II to create money" Faithful Imitations" to pay the crusaders the price agreed upon for the throne. Hoard evidence is not conclusive to when exactly the coins were created.  Lots of theory's but until we find something written we will never know for certain. 

As for these Latin Half tetartera, I will revisit my library to find any hoard finds.  Still, I welcome any answers, opinions and I thank you for yours @theotokevoithi

 

Edited by Simon
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Great mission, these tetartera.

The  coin clipping, by state authority, started by Andronicus I Comnenus but not for producing tetartera. He clipped hundreds of Byzantine electrum trachea of John II and Manuel I which have had their original weight cut approximately in half through hammering and clipping. The size technically remained the same , in order to cheat the receptors.

This kind of emperor was Andronicus i .

https://www.academia.edu/37338322/Andronicus_Comnenuss_Invasion_Money_of_1181_1182

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7 minutes ago, theotokevoithi said:

The  coin clipping, by state authority, started by Andronicus I Comnenus but not for producing tetartera. He clipped hundreds of Byzantine electrum trachea of John II and Manuel I which have had their original weight cut approximately in half through hammering and clipping. The size technically remained the same , in order to cheat the receptors.

I know the article and have cited it before. More interesting is that it would be coinage of Alexius II , I noted and found the article when I was trying to find an unmodified Manuel SBCV-1974. My example would fit into his article.  As you see hammered and clipped.

1974.jpg.2c1671bbfd585746f0cd638489110000.jpg

 

Their was a movement of clipping around the end of the century, or after it the primarly effected Manuel Isaac II and Alexius III coinage.  Here is a beautiful example of an Alexius III that had been clipped, judging by its condition it did see much circulation. 

2011clip.jpg.ebd94b224f130d087f39cfe1a87beff1.jpg

 

I went through several books to find any site finds about the Latin tetartera, no site finds noted anywhere. They were placed as being minted in Thessalonica by style alone. Both Grierson and Hendy cited this.  I did find the Peter and Paul hoard but no mention of any tetartera at all. No additional information from any of the authors. 

 

 

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Tetartera finds (local knowledge)

https://books.openedition.org/efa/8292          Limnes  Hoard / Argolis  9 tetartera (english)

https://books.openedition.org/efa/8277           Acronauplia Hoard / Argolis 18 imitative tetartera       (translate points 8-18 from greek to english)

In point 17 Galani proposes Leon Sgouros (despotis, married daughter of Alexius iii) , as the creator of the imitative tetartera somewhere in Nauplion, Argos, Corinth, Athens.

The story of the ''saronic gulf group'' tetarteron type is well known.

All of these are still opinions.

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Since I am not in the know regarding the tetarteron and its minute particularities I have some questions:

1. is the 'new' argument based solely on the work of J. Baker? I'm sure you know I am a big fan of his work on the denier tournois of the Frankokratia and the previous circulation of the original Frankish blueprint, but we should keep in mind that what he writes in his 'Medieval Greece...' book is extremely conservative, fixing on certainties or near certainties and leaving very few spaces in between for theories dubbed as 'alternatives' -- for instance I can't find much help for my interest in the 'forgeries' or 'local imitations' of the Frankish denier tournois, a field that not only accepts but requires space for theories, arguments and conjectures. In many ways this is also what you need for these tetartera, no?

2. if these are not 'Latin' or 'Bulgarian' then it probably leaves the Empire of Nicaea as possible minting authority. And since they are rare and few specimens are known, then the finding place is is even more relevant to attribute them.

3. the tetartera that are tentatively assigned to Venetian interests such as at Corinth or on the Via Egnatia are copies of known types from the 12th century, not new types with distinct iconography. In fact as in the case of the trachea, the clearly 'Latin' types (A-D) are different from the later types (Asen types?) and certainly different from the 'religious types' (Peter and Paul Hoard); for 'Thessalonica' types the Series III types follow closely the late Komnenodoukas types and the novelties only appear later, possibly into the rule of Michael VIII; finally the 'Nicaea' tetartera of the later Nicaea Empire c. 1250s are often of wild discrepancy quality-wise, possibly implying a central minting (Magnesia) and 'provincial' minting operations not-that-on-par with the center coinage.

I know I did not answer any of your questions, but perhaps my thinking aloud helps you towards new conjectures.

Edited by seth77
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Your thinking helps.

Everyone, like J.Baker, needs for his book some solid assumptions in order to create a book structure. With so many numismatic uncertainties he had to make decisions and explain things.  His priority was the official minting and simple assumptions are better than complex assumptions.

--For the ''OF UNOFFICIAL MINTING'' trachea we talk for Bulgarians / Magnates of thrace / Latins.  Even the Italian Normans imitated byzantine scyphate coinage earlier.

(I underline that then people used to self - define by their religion (primary) and language and not by their ethnicity)

--For the ''OF UNOFFICIAL MINTING'' tetartera, among many others, John iii Vatatzis is considered a serious candidate.

(In his age he was the last hope of the ROMAIOI, he became an orthodox saint, he adopted like the Lascarids the Hellenic self identification, he had strong foothold in greece and balcans, he incited revolts of the populations against everyone else and his hyperpyron circulated widely. The motif of his hyperpyron is still used for modern religious pendants in Greece.)

(I also mention that the Venetians were part of the byzantine empire until 8-9 th century, sharing the same artistic eastern byzantine principles even in their coins)

Many candidates for unofficial coinage.

Archaeology and organised taxonomy of the finds will decide, we have no detailed historical sources.

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2 hours ago, theotokevoithi said:

Tetartera finds (local knowledge)

https://books.openedition.org/efa/8292          Limnes  Hoard / Argolis  9 tetartera (english)

https://books.openedition.org/efa/8277           Acronauplia Hoard / Argolis 18 imitative tetartera       (translate points 8-18 from greek to english)

In point 17 Galani proposes Leon Sgouros (despotis, married daughter of Alexius iii) , as the creator of the imitative tetartera somewhere in Nauplion, Argos, Corinth, Athens.

The story of the ''saronic gulf group'' tetarteron type is well known.

All of these are still opinions.

Thank you, their are lots of hoards with tetartera but none I can find for these three coins. Now to make the problem harder is tetartera did not get a used name until Hendys book coinage and Money in 1969, before this they were known as folles or small flat coin. I was just reading a Metcalf article noting Manuel Folles written by in the mid 1960's. So even if it was found in a hoard pre Hendy what would they have called it, small unknown folles? Most hoard notes are not great for unknown coins, no description. Thank you for the other ideas and the gulf group became famous because they were circulated imitations. unattractive, extremely thin and crude is design, most designs were of the very basic types.  Here is an example I have not rephotographed in a while. 

7.jpg.df59854b0dbfbaf0479a68d17514951e.jpg

SBCV-1932 15.59 mm and .6gm

1 hour ago, seth77 said:

1. is the 'new' argument based solely on the work of J. Baker? I'm sure you know I am a big fan of his work on the denier tournois of the Frankokratia and the previous circulation of the original Frankish blueprint, but we should keep in mind that what he writes in his 'Medieval Greece...' book is extremely conservative, fixing on certainties or near certainties and leaving very few spaces in between for theories dubbed as 'alternatives' -- for instance I can't find much help for my interest in the 'forgeries' or 'local imitations' of the Frankish denier tournois, a field that not only accepts but requires space for theories, arguments and conjectures. In many ways this is also what you need for these tetartera, no?

Seth, we learn with questions, both of us so please  dont hold back. 

To start Julian Bakers Book is excellent, I do not like his treatment of the 12th century in some of the statements because they are controversial. The elimination of the Thessalonica mint was based off a old writing of D.M. Metcalf, but chasing the exact place he took it from is a challenge, he cites the books and pages but Metcalf was not definitive in these statements. The article I just read was not cited but it was Metcalf believing there was a string of mints making low end coinage as well as the main mint. In Bakers work he said one mint outside Constantinople. Now I understand they new each other  and he would favor his work over others but Metcalf changed his mind a lot, so finding the final therios are difficult. 

The book is about 13th century coinage that was circulating in Greece, tetartera continued to circulate but not these coins, so his eliminating them as being important but in the notes he cites Metcalf as these not being Latin. That started me on a hunt on why every other catalog has them as such. So I began following his note trail and nothing is conclusive, including why the other authors thought they were. To make the problem even greater I cant find a single find of these coins. Not in the archeological sites  and not in notes of lost coins. So now I am trying to figure how these being attributed in 13th century Latin rule started. Again, the first place I went was Bakers book, the two volume set is superb and its not dealing with my 12th century BUT he has start there , if you dont understand the 12th century you wont understand the 13th. The coinage an extention.  

2 hours ago, seth77 said:

2. if these are not 'Latin' or 'Bulgarian' then it probably leaves the Empire of Nicaea as possible minting authority. And since they are rare and few specimens are known, then the finding place is is even more relevant to attribute them

Your right, but no one is saying that, they were attributed to Thessalonica on style alone. But again no info on site finds, anywhere. 

 

2 hours ago, seth77 said:

3. the tetartera that are tentatively assigned to Venetian interests such as at Corinth or on the Via Egnatia are copies of known types from the 12th century, not new types with distinct iconography. In fact as in the case of the trachea, the clearly 'Latin' types (A-D) are different from the later types (Asen types?) and certainly different from the 'religious types' (Peter and Paul Hoard); for 'Thessalonica' types the Series III types follow closely the late Komnenodoukas types and the novelties only appear later, possibly into the rule of Michael VIII; finally the 'Nicaea' tetartera of the later Nicaea Empire c. 1250s are often of wild discrepancy quality-wise, possibly implying a central minting (Magnesia) and 'provincial' minting operations not-that-on-par with the center coinage.

Bingo! These coins are not imitative of anyone's coinage. They are not Bulgarian ( Never found there) I cant rule out Constantinople or Nicea but they will depend on where examples are found. I will chew on the rest of what you wrote I have an appointment to make. 

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1 hour ago, theotokevoithi said:

Everyone, like J.Baker, needs for his book some solid assumptions in order to create a book structure. With so many numismatic uncertainties he had to make decisions and explain things.  His priority was the official minting and simple assumptions are better than complex assumptions

I totally agree. I need Pagona Papadopoulou to finish her paper on the century. I am certain she will add new information to the knowledge base.

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A similar Nicia image, note the cross on the reverse, a full tetarteron though. This is the only connection I have seen so far.

9.jpg.d4fa7dc220797051deb578936ab08ff3.jpg

2157 Anonymous2 (Magn.) AE Tetarteron – SBCV-2157 DOC IV 9 Type G


OBV Radiate, floriated, cross

REV Three-Quarter-length figure of St. Theodore, bearded and nimbate, wearing tunic, breastplate, and Saigon Holds in r. hand sword resting over shoulder in l. shield

( This coin is lacking an inscription for St Theodore, should be appearing in two columnar groups.)

Size 20mm

weight 2.9gm

DOC lists 3 examples weighing between 2.07gm to 2.60gm and sizes 20 to 22m

 

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On the naming tetarteron (leaving aside the earlier small gold issue with same name) :

Tetarteron : One of Four parts

Tessera : (Four) The Glass Tesserae for the religious mosaics was 1.5 grams each

Generally speaking : a little piece of something solid metallic, stone, glass etc

 

In a heraldic book of 1600-1700 ( passage posted here earlier) the first coronation lead ''tetarteron'' of Alexius i, Irene and John ii is mentioned as SFRAGIDION = Stamp .

In Greek speaking byzantine areas, the lowest  coin of base metal was always called OVOLOS = Obol by the population.

A comment on the subject : After 1204 it was the beginning of feudalism in greece and balcans. The latins changed the social system, according to the west. I consider every ruler feudal lord of a castle and surrounding area and not official state. So why a John iii tetarteron is official and a Leon Sgouros tetarteron not ? John iii was a big feudal lord and Leon Sgouros a small feudal lord.

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My opinion on the cross type of the Nicaean tetarteron Simon posted :

-Great coin (artistic value)

-The type of the cross in my opinion is influenced by western influenced GIGLIATO TYPE COIN

We have testaments from 1090 refering to  chichata / chiata / cherata from the island of Patmos.

The island of Chios (neighbouring to Patmos) must have  had a Genovese colonial influence earlier than we believe, maybe a trade colony. They probably produced imitative coins there before the genovese Maona company which followed. Nicaean Magnesia is in the opposite asian shore. Rhodes island who produced gigliata later is neighbouring too.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The existing numismatic theory (on the name of the coins) is that chichata / chiata / cherata of the testaments are Nicephorus iii histamena which were of silver content in reality and not gold or decent electrum.

I write this to emphasize that in a so difficult matter of coin attribution of the period, every opinion is needed and is respected. No one knows but in the future people like Simon will probably find a version close to the truth. A book can be corrected in future, it is a base for others to work on a matter.

chic motif.jpg

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I agree a lot needs to be revised @theotokevoithi, anything after the 12th century, the coinage gets murky. The Latin tetartera I started with really are proof of this, most catalogs just said Latin issue, it was not until I read Bakers book that I realized there is a dissenting view regarding these coins and when I followed the evidence there really is none that they are of Latin issue or any other solution.

Coin catalogs follow the works of academics, collectors follow the catalogs. So these coins in my opinion will be referred to as Latin for as long as people collect them.

  David Sear wrote a catalog that allowed every collector to communicate. It is affordable, it been reprinted several times but not updated. Until someone tries to make another major catalog it will remain that way. The last catalog written was by Sommer, it's in German but he clearly states it does not include all Byzantine coins, in fact it does not even come close to the number of types that David Sear included.  The Dumbarton Oakes series is now free online but not catching on. They were expensive when they came out and normally purchased only by institutions. (When I bought DOC IV from Dumbarton Oakes, in 2002, they said they had not sold any to private individuals yet, I was the first.)  CLBC is another catalog written primarily on 12th and 13th century but it is rushed They included new information but excluded a lot of proven information as well.

Years ago a man named George E. Bates took a huge undertaking and wrote a catalog on Byzantine coins " A Byzantine Coin Collection.", it was privately printed in 1981 , in a very small edition size, it must have taken years to compile, and it is clearly a typed document. (It did not include the Latin tetartera.)

The following was written in the intro. (I love the brave soul part.)

9g.jpg.641a0ad12a1dac0a3ce3d5f05d1b545b.jpg

 

 

 

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As I understand it the post 1204 section of Sear 2nd edition was largely the work of Simon Bendall and Michael O'Hara, advised by Hendy.

George Bates was the author of the report on the 1234 Byzantine coins found during the second series of archaeological explorations of Sardis by Harvard College from 1958 to 1968. 

Ross G.

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9 hours ago, Glebe said:

As I understand it the post 1204 section of Sear 2nd edition was largely the work of Simon Bendall and Michael O'Hara, advised by Hendy.

@Glebe Ironically, I had acquired this coin at a German auction, a few years later I purchased "a in works auction catalog" from the Simon Bendall collection of books. The catalog had been compiled and photographed by Michael O'Hara.  My exact coin was in the catalog as unknown, possibly Nicaean. I am uncertain what year the catalog was being created or why Simon Bendall had the catalog, (He also had photos of the Richard of Lionheart coin listed as Alexius II). I have no idea if this auction ever took place and if Michael was the owner of these coins. ( I would believe so.)

3c.jpg.c6c8f53f63d7ae19e79a03c4147e6233.jpg

a1.jpg.a4befc86d8c9f2be31ead799d329c18f.jpg

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Its interesting to see the attributing evolution. In Hendy's 1969 Coinage and Money, the coin is not included. In 1999 DOC IV it is. The argument that is Latin is based on another trachy with the same imagery. In fact, it has the strongest argument as to being Latin out of the three coins. The first two are based on the Thessalonica mint style and coin imagery. 

 

As for the Bates book I was lucky enough to find a copy a few years ago, honestly, I never reference it but it is an interesting piece of coin memorabilia. The details of some of the coin designs are hand drawn next to the typed text. Crude but effective. I had a copy of his more famous Sardis book, but I rarely used it. 

 

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What I do not understand - why are some tetartera so rare? If it was the lowest denomination, it would imply it was minted in large numbers. Simon mentioned that it was never recalled. Therefore, large numbers + long period of circulation + small size = high chance to get lost. We can understand that few will hoard tetartera rather than any higher denomination, thus low to no presence in hoards makes sense. Still, some are very, very rare. Would this support the idea mentioned above that some were minted by local authorities (sort of Roman provincial or medieval regional)? Or simply that were minted in low numbers to begin with?

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To answer your question @catadc

Short circulation of some issues ( E.g. Alexius DOC 41) or limited need that would be the post Latin Conquest 1204 world. Look at the small module trachea, they were basically the same weight. The post 1204 issues were circulating in turkey, not Greece. They did not circulate there before; it was almost a reminder to the Constantinople refugees they were still Eastern Roman. 

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John III tetarteron

As for the In the 12th century the longer the rule of the emperor the more coins he produced, in the century taxes were paid in gold and the change the government provided was in trachea and tetartera. These coins were not recalled, they continued to circulate. Exceptions to this would be some of the early trachea of Alexius I. We know the population was use to dealing with older currency for two reasons, hoard finds, old coins found with new. The other reason were many of these types were imitated in the 13th and perhaps 14th century. 

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Imitation tetarteron of Alexius SBCV- 1931 ( Note inverted letters on OBV.)

 

The Constantinople issues contained silver and were not circulated outside the city. No imitations of these coins exist. They are very rarely found in sites outside the city. The coins were originally found in such small quantities they were thought to be ceremonial. Since the 1960's finds they have proven to be a circulating currency, in one of the rare moments of correspondence between a teacher and a student they discussed the buying power of two coins both called tetarterons but very different buying powers.

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Alexius SBCV-1923 City tetarteron silvering intact.

 

The issues from Thessalonica were issued in large quantities for Greece, these are far more common and again depending on the length of the Emperors rule and the current economic need. 

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Manual SBCV-1980 Half tetarteron

Other issues were once thought to be rare are no longer considered rare because the quantities that are selling from areas that had no academic excavations, most notable Cyprus. 

That is why some issues are more commonly found than others, not necessarily imitations but quantity created but also because where they were minted and the economic need for the denomination during that emperor's rule and the duration of that rule. 

The other sign of rarity is more of an illusion, I remember I searched for years for an example of specific types, it was not really a rarity issue it was just none were on the market at the time. Coins listed in Sear as extremely rare they can be easily found. 

Edited by Simon
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Simon ''Short circulation of some issues ( E.g. Alexius DOC 41) or limited need that would be the post Latin Conquest 1204 world.

Look at the small module trachea, they were basically the same weight. The post 1204 issues were circulating in turkey, not Greece. They did not circulate there before; it was almost a reminder to the Constantinople refugees they were still Eastern Roman. ''

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Exactly, they used coinage as a reminder of byzantine origin and with the hope to reestablish the empire. Every feudal lord (especially the orthodox christians)  wanted the role of the continuator of E.R.E. They made wars for this (against each other and against the latins).

For balcans my opinion is that maybe there was a withdrawal of these copper issues to be melted and produce the crusader principalities denier tournois.

The silvered tetartera was of low mintage and regional use.(low number and no imitations-silver costs).

Keep up the good work.

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@theotokevoithi, thanks for the link!  Duly bookmarked.

Granted, I don't have any Byzantine coins with this motif.  But it gets echoed, near-contemporaneously, all the way over in Aragon, during the opening phases of the Reconquista.  In this context, the usual interpretation is that this is a pairing of the cross with the 'Tree of Life.'  I can only speculate whether there was any level of Byzantine inspiration or not.  But as close as the chronology is, it's fun to think so.

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Sancho Ramirez,1063-1094.  SAN.CIVS REX; Rev. ARAGON across the 'tree.'  MEC v. 6, 47.

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Pedro I, 1094-1104 (featuring Pedro's 'man bun').  PETRUS REX; rev. as above.  MEC v. 6, 49.

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A leaved cross on a christian ruler s coin, that can be tolerated by muslims (either the turks of anatolia or the arabs of spain). More an artwork than a religious symbol, in order to ensure everyone is happy !!!

That s the joy of revolutionary assumptions, regardless of the degree of certainty !!!!

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