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Tiberius III Apsimar Æ Follis...


ewomack

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Yet another Byzantine coin from the murky era of the very late 7th century. During this time, the quality of the coinage had begun to deteriorate rapidly, as did the empire itself. Tiberius III was the last of two rulers between the two reigns of Justinian II. He reigned for about 6 to 7 years before a slit-nosed Justinian II made his triumphant return through an aqueduct pipe to reclaim his throne. Leontius, the previous emperor who had overthrown Justinian II, and Tiberius III then both had their own noses and tongues slit before Justinian II supposedly used them as footstools while watching games at the Hippodrome. After a large dose of such public ridicule, both were then executed and Justinian II began an ominous reign of terror. This ended In 711, when Justinian II found himself and his son overthrown and executed. Such lovely times. Tiberius III, who some historians consider a capable ruler, overthrew Leontius in 698 and exiled him to a monastery - a very lenient punishment for a Byzantine emperor. Yet Arab armies kept Tiberius III more than occupied during his short reign. Like the coins of many emperors of this era, even somewhat decent specimens seem in short supply. This coin preserves a decent amount of the portrait, though it takes a little raking light to reveal the full facial details. The reverse has a very strong monogram and pretty decent remnants of the typical "M" and one of the fronds on the right. Sear includes a drawing of this type, but with the wrong monogram. The accompanying text references monogram 42, which matches the monogram on the coin. The flan has obviously seen better days and looks almost as if Justinian II himself got to it. The picture included in Sommer, 16.10.2, has a similarly shaped flan. Two variations exist, with and without a star to the left of the obverse portrait. It's hard to tell whether the star exists or not on this example, but the dealer's text claims it as the type with the star (so Sear 1395, not 1395A). This probably represents one of the rarer Byzantine types in my pile. Though not a lovely coin by any means, I find it a fascinating symbol of the rough times going on in the Byzantine empire at the time. Things wouldn't improve for quite a while.

698_to_705_TiberiusIII_AE_Follis_01.png.91d84f60328f544314bb9e5d29b9bb7f.png698_to_705_TiberiusIII_AE_Follis_02.png.34c1e9ed4f871460df426c4e51cb298a.png

Tiberius III Apsimar (698-705, struck 698-702), Æ Follis, Syracuse, Obv: no legend, crowned and cuirassed facing bust, holding spear and shield; star to left; Rev: Large M, monogram above (Sear Monogram #42), palm fronds flanking, SCL in exergue; 15-19mm, 2.4g; DOC 32, MIB 79, Anastasi 337, Sear 1395


Please share any Tiberius III coins you have!

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@ewomack pretty solid coin for what it is. Portrait is in good/almost great shape for what these looks like. Very cool coin.

i have one Tiberius III piece, although admittedly I don’t reach for it much. The facial portrait is so important and this piece just doesn’t have it. (I’ve really gotten critical on portraits recently selling coins with bad portraits to replace them)

this piece is a SB 1367 from Constantinople. Very obviously it has the face off the flan. The rest of the obverse is very nice though. Reverse leaves a lot to be desired. Very rough and poorly struck.

The coin does have excellent provenance though.

ex Ed Waddell

ex Mike Gasvoda

ex CNG

IMG_1678.jpeg.9d66ca9ded253a2b1410e0b53dc90fab.jpegIMG_1679.jpeg.c9c171407ccda71a60bfacd4a8edf90f.jpeg

 

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Posted (edited)

@ewomack That's a very interesting example. The portrait has many interesting details. The reverse also has some interesting details. The monogram above the large "M" is very clear. I agree, that Tiberius III coins seem to be scarce.

@ela126 That's an interesting example. It has an interesting provenance. I've occasionally looked at Waddell's coins, but they are almost always out of my league.

@Nerosmyfavorite68 That's an interesting solidus, with many interesting details. Gold Byzantine coins are interesting.

Coins of this era, the depths of the Dark Ages, are fascinating to me.

Here's my Tiberius III 40 nummi coin. It was sold in 2011 at the CNG Triton XIV auction. And, interestingly, it was sold in 2015 at the CNG Electronic Auction 355.

image.jpeg.5cfe86189405adcaceed137370ca488b.jpeg

Tiberius III. AE 40 Nummi Follis. Minted 698 AD To 705 AD. Syracuse Mint. Sear 1395. DO 32. Maximum Diameter 22.2 mm. Weight 3.20 grams. Obverse : Tiberius III Bust Facing Front, Wearing A Crown Which Has A Cross On Top, Holding Spear In Front Of Body, Shield In Left Hand. Reverse : Large M, Monogram Above, "SCL" Mint Below. Overstrike.

Edited by sand
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Scoring good bronze from this century is an achievement, well done! The best portraits are (hardly surprisingly) reserved for the gold. I recently added this one but there are extraordinary folles that are more sought after than these generic solidi. 

Rasiel Screenshot_20240503_042946_Chrome.jpg.7826e7a07f8e01d3fb50cee02117a4c9.jpg

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One of my favorite periods, even though the coins are in horrible conditions due to multiple re-strikes and overall quality of the dies. I have several of these, but here is a sample of the different types:

Byzantine Empire: Tiberius III Apsimar (698-705) Æ Follis, Constantinople (Sear 1366; DOC II.8; MIB 73)

Obv: DTibЄRI-ЧƧPЄ-AV or similar; Bust facing, with short beard, wearing crown with cross on circlet and cuirass, and holding spear diagonally, across his body and shield with horseman device
Rev: Large M; cross above, to left, A/N/N/O, to right, regal year; Γ below; CON in exergue

image.jpeg.1a56947a1552cb03a8a3985cdd0345f4.jpeg

 

 

Byzantine Empire: Tiberius III Apsimar (698-705) Æ Half Follis, Constantinople (Sear 1368; DOC II.12; MIB 75)

Obv: DTibЄRI-ЧƧPЄ-AV or similar; Bust facing, with short beard, wearing crown with cross on circlet and cuirass, and holding spear diagonally, across his body and shield with horseman device
Rev: Large K; cross above, to left, A/N/N/O, to right, regal year; Γ below; CON in exergue

image.jpeg.0a04a538296b6a558db38ff35f7d7b60.jpeg

 

Byzantine Empire: Tiberius III Apsimar (698-705) Æ Follis, Constantinople, RY4 (Sear 1367; DOC II.11b)

Obv: Emperor standing, wearing military garb, paludamentum, and crown with cross; In right hand, globus cruciger and in left, long cross
Rev: Large M; cross above, to left, A/N/N/O, to right, Δ; B below; CON in exergue
Dim: 29 mm, 3.30g

image.jpeg.ee178d30eb5c09684174361d79e6821a.jpeg

 

Byzantine Empire: Tiberius III Apsimar (698-705) Æ Half Follis, Constantinople (Sear 1369; DOC II.13; MIB 76)

Obv: Legend normally illegible or only fragmentary; Tiberius standing facing, wearing crown and military costume, and holding globus cruciger and long cross
Rev: Large K between A/N/N/O and Δ; above, cross(?); beneath, officina letter Δ
Dim: 3.7 g, 27 mm

image.jpeg.bb8febdbcc5b76d6a306b8da217a8986.jpeg

 

Byzantine Empire: Tiberius III Apsimar (698-705) Æ Follis, Syracuse (Sear 1395, DOC II.32)

Obv: No inscription; Bust facing, wearing crown with cross. In right hand, spear held before body. On left shoulder, shield with horseman device. In left field, star
Rev: Large M between two palm branches, above monogram; SCL in exergue

image.jpeg.20b89dd616035f6bd69ce32ab36fff8c.jpeg

 

Byzantine Empire: Tiberius III Apsimar (698-705) Æ Follis, Syracuse (Sear 1396, DOC II.33; Anastasi 341; MIBE 80)

Obv: Tiberius standing facing, wearing crown, holding long cross and globus cruciger
Rev: Large M; crosses flanking, monogram above, star below; SCL in exergue

image.jpeg.6f337fe03a6ad0d0dc2606d8883f51e4.jpeg

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The coins of the late 7th and early 8th can be wonderful when properly struck, but most of the time the flans are simply abysmal. I've personally only gained interest in the period over the past year or so, so I don't have many coins to show. I lack good photography equipment, so please excuse the poor quality of the photo. Here is my example of Sear 1366 though.

image.jpeg.d7198442c0fd3a37b3a0c74877e0f0ae.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

That's a good example @ewomack. My collection of late 7th century Byzantine is limited to Constans II at this point, who struck his own series of terrible coins. By now the empire was faltering, was at war on its Eastern border against the Arabs, and prospects must have appeared dim. The effort to take over Carthage had failed as well as the attempted reconquista of North Africa.

Edited by Ancient Coin Hunter
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Posted (edited)

What I like most about posting here is seeing the amazing examples that everyone else brings in. Thanks for sharing, everyone. So far, this thread has had far more Tiberius III samples than I ever anticipated. It's great to see more and more Byzantine appreciators on this forum.

On 5/2/2024 at 9:12 PM, ela126 said:

@ewomack pretty solid coin for what it is. Portrait is in good/almost great shape for what these looks like. Very cool coin.

i have one Tiberius III piece, although admittedly I don’t reach for it much. The facial portrait is so important and this piece just doesn’t have it. (I’ve really gotten critical on portraits recently selling coins with bad portraits to replace them)

Thank you and I agree about portraits. I'm really into nice Byzantine portraits myself. Nonetheless, the example you posted is still very interesting and has great provenance.

 

On 5/2/2024 at 9:25 PM, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

That's a very nice example!

And that's a very nice solidus! Thanks for sharing!
 

On 5/2/2024 at 9:50 PM, sand said:

@ewomack That's a very interesting example. The portrait has many interesting details. The reverse also has some interesting details. The monogram above the large "M" is very clear. I agree, that Tiberius III coins seem to be scarce.

They do seem scarce, and I'm guessing they remain relatively rare. That's why the plethora of examples posted in this thread has surprised me. Your example has a very nice flan and is far more complete than the one I posted. I like your flan much better than mine, but I like the details on mine more. I think we have 2 examples that perfectly demonstrate the tradeoffs endemic to Byzantines. The good and the bad typically balance each other out piece by piece. Perfect examples, where everything seems good all in one coin, seem almost impossible to find. One must make do with tradeoffs.
 

On 5/2/2024 at 10:34 PM, rasiel said:

Scoring good bronze from this century is an achievement, well done! The best portraits are (hardly surprisingly) reserved for the gold. I recently added this one but there are extraordinary folles that are more sought after than these generic solidi.

Thank you and that's a very nice solidus! The gold posted here has added some brightness against the more drab copper. I'm guessing the coppers of this period were continuously destroyed or extensively overstruck as emperors kept overthrowing each other. One wonders whether using a Tiberius III Follis during Justinian II's second reign would raise suspicions of loyalty towards the user? If so, people probably got rid of them or had them melted down. Who knows? The long tradition of Byzantine overstriking suggests that emperors often tried to blot out their predecessors, especially when nastiness ensued. Or perhaps the poor quality coins didn't stand up to heavy circulation? Whatever the case, the 8th century remains numismatically fascinating despite being a little less aesthetically pleasing.
 

On 5/3/2024 at 9:46 AM, quant.geek said:

One of my favorite periods, even though the coins are in horrible conditions due to multiple re-strikes and overall quality of the dies. I have several of these, but here is a sample of the different types:

Wow, what an onslaught of Tiberius III! You posted many fantastic examples and types. How long did it take you to amass that collection?

 

6 hours ago, Zimm said:

The coins of the late 7th and early 8th can be wonderful when properly struck, but most of the time the flans are simply abysmal. I've personally only gained interest in the period over the past year or so, so I don't have many coins to show. I lack good photography equipment, so please excuse the poor quality of the photo. Here is my example of Sear 1366 though.

Similarly, I've only started to delve into this era recently because I already had "decent enough" examples from each Byzantine emperor from Anastasius I to Constantine IV. I had seen the intimidating prices for the nicer coins of this era and declared "I will keep away." Then, well, perhaps the completest in me took over. I found decently priced, though relatively more expensive, and decently preserved (for the types) Justinian II and Tiberius II examples. So, here I am in the murky century that I planned to completely avoid. I'm going to try to take it easy, though, because hobbies shouldn't be sources of bankruptcy.
 

5 hours ago, Ancient Coin Hunter said:

That's a good example @ewomack. My collection of late 7th century Byzantine is limited to Constans II at this point, who struck his own series of terrible coins. By now the empire was faltering, was at war on its Eastern border against the Arabs, and prospects must have appeared dim. The effort to take over Carthage had failed as well as the attempted reconquista of North Africa.

Yes, things seemed to really start going downhill numismatically with Phocas and Heraclius, though signs of deterioration go as far back as Tiberius II Constantine. And I agree, the bronzes of Constans II don't fare much better. The Constans II below is one of the best examples, image wise, that I've seen (I'm sure better ones exist), but the flan still has that 8th century feel to it. Things get a little bit back to normal in the 9th century, but Byzantine coins never reached the levels of quality of the Western Roman empire. Nonetheless, that's one of the reasons that I love Byzantines.
641_to_668_ConstansII_AE_Follis_01.png.534679853fd5c560265147890ec3a5d1.png641_to_668_ConstansII_AE_Follis_02.png.597c41a436dec77c733add8493604d91.png
Constans II (641-668), AE Follis / 40 Nummi, Syracuse, 652-3, AE 23-27mm. 6g. Constans standing facing, wearing crown and chlamys, holding globus cruciger in right hand; I/H/Δ to l., I/A to right / Large M; cross above; SCL. MIB 208; DOC 179; S. 1108.
 

Edited by ewomack
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@ewomack It didn't take long, maybe two years or so. These coins are frequently available now (at least the more common ones above), in comparison to a few years ago when you rarely seen them, or the very least was quite expensive. The other rulers during the twenty year anarchy is a different story.

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16 hours ago, quant.geek said:

@ewomack It didn't take long, maybe two years or so. These coins are frequently available now (at least the more common ones above), in comparison to a few years ago when you rarely seen them, or the very least was quite expensive. The other rulers during the twenty year anarchy is a different story.

Interesting. So Tiberius III coins might not have the rarity one would think? From what you said, it sounds like they seemed rarer at one point, and then many examples came out onto the market in the recent past. So perhaps that created a new reality? I don't recall seeing loads of Tiberius III coins in my recent searches, but randomness may account for some of that.

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Ewomack has a delightful example.  Is it tiny? My horrible AE Sicily example is tiny.

I'm so glad that I bought my solidus; it's by far the most mirror-like gold coin that I have.  I missed out on buying a lovely Divus Augustus as, and the dealer kindly offered me a discount.  It was either that or a somewhat unattractive example of a Syracuse Tetradrachm.

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I wouldn't consider Tiberius III to be super-common, but he's not super-rare, either.  For whatever reason, AE coins of that general period from Constantinople are far scarcer than Sicilian issues.  It would be much harder to find a decent Constantinople follis.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Ewomack has a delightful example.  Is it tiny? My horrible AE Sicily example is tiny.

Many would probably consider the Tiberius III Follis I posted as "tiny." Its diameter wavers somewhere between 19mm - 22mm, so somewhere between the diameter of a US cent and a nickel. Though I expected those numbers, its small size still surprised me a little when I first opened it.

 

34 minutes ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

I wouldn't consider Tiberius III to be super-common, but he's not super-rare, either.  For whatever reason, AE coins of that general period from Constantinople are far scarcer than Sicilian issues.  It would be much harder to find a decent Constantinople follis.

That makes sense. I thought of Tiberius III in the same way, neither horrendously rare nor horrendously common. On why Constantinople examples seem harder to find: I wonder if the images of former emperors were less tolerated there than in other parts of the empire? Perhaps the old coins were melted down more thoroughly because of the proximity of the carnage? Obviously just a theory based on speculation, but I can see the tolerance for the overthrown emperors being more intense the closer one sat to the actual emperor. Imagine handing Justinian II a coin of Tiberius III? I doubt I would dare, and I'm guessing others at the time thought similarly. But merchants in Sicily? Maybe they didn't think quite as much of it? Who knows?

Edited by ewomack
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Posted (edited)

@Nerosmyfavorite68 comment is correct. I didn't mean that they are common, but certainly more of these coins are popping up than they did a few years ago. CNG posted several lots of these coins, along with Leonitus a few auctions ago and you can always find a Tiberius III coin in one of the Biddr auctions as well. The question becomes getting good specimens, especially the Constantinople ones. As for the other types of Tiberius III, haven't seen them at all:

 

https://cngcoins.com/Lot.aspx?LOT_ID=118206

https://cngcoins.com/Lot.aspx?LOT_ID=118207

Edited by quant.geek
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3 hours ago, ewomack said:

Interesting. So Tiberius III coins might not have the rarity one would think? From what you said, it sounds like they seemed rarer at one point, and then many examples came out onto the market in the recent past. So perhaps that created a new reality? I don't recall seeing loads of Tiberius III coins in my recent searches, but randomness may account for some of that.

If I search Vcoins for "Tiberius iii", I get 10 examples. 7 bronze, and 3 gold. The prices of most of them, are relatively high, especially for the gold examples. Of the 7 bronze examples, 2 were minted in Sicily/Syracuse, and 5 were minted in Constantinople. All of the gold examples were minted in Constantinople. 5 of the bronzes are 40 nummi, 1 of the bronzes is 20 nummi (Constantinople mint), and 1 of the bronzes is identified as 20 nummi but it seems to have both a large "M" and a large "K" which is interesting perhaps a 20 nummi overstruck on a 40 nummi (Constantinople mint).

Of course, this doesn't include other sites such as MA-Shops, and it doesn't include recent auctions. I just thought it was interesting. At least for Vcoins, the number of Tiberius III coins is relatively small. For comparison, if I search Vcoins for "Constans ii", I get 561 coins. If I search Vcoins for "Constantine IV", I get 145 coins, although some of those are from the reign of Constans II showing Constans II with his son Constantine IV. If I search Vcoins for "Justinian ii", I get 32 coins. If I search Vcoins for "Philippicus", 1 of those short reign rulers from this time period, I get only 1 coin, and its price is 5,890 euros.

So, perhaps what @quant.geek is saying, is that Tiberius III coins used to be "rare" or "very scarce", but perhaps they are now merely "scarce" or "uncommon". However, I'm not an expert in the subject.

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Posted (edited)

What is missing in the analysis is budget auctions on Biddr, which has been posting these types of coins rather frequently, albeit at times without even knowing who the issuer was. So, the astute collector can pick these up when they spot them, like I did for far less than what is posted on VCoins or MA-Shops. Aside from the last two coins that I posted, the rest were from Biddr...

Edited by quant.geek
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@quant.geek this is definitely the case. Tiberius III coins seems very close to a few Constantine IV and J2 reign 1 pieces, so at times, simply no attribution is given. A good amount may be slipping through in this way.

i do wonder how many post J2 reign 2 emperors are sailing through. I think a lot of us have our ears up these days. But there are pretty terrible examples out there. 

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I picked up a few 😁, but as you say, there are a lot of eyes and ears open these days and thus its getting harder to walk away with rare beauties on the dime. Here is another Tiberius III that I picked up on Biddr, this one is overstruck on a Leonitus follis:

 

image.jpeg.34de3fa97982fb74953b15181070cd7c.jpeg

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I'm going to try to forget that I heard of biddr. I don't need more sources to buy coins from. 😁

I wish I had started the Byzantine collection back in the days when no one seemed to care about them. It sounds like bargains were absolutely everywhere. Oh well.

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