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An exceptional 'local' coinage from Frankish Morea in the 14th century


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I won this last summer from Solidus but it reached me when we were all three of us fighting Covid and the wife was due to give birth plus we were scheduled to move to a new place. So this gem took a back seat and by the time we were healthy again we had a new baby, I had a lot of work to do at the new place plus getting ready to start a new job.

So here it is one year late:


AE19mm, 0.83g, fourree denier tournois, a contemporary forgery, local issue, perhaps in Attica, Epiros or Neopatras, cca. 1318/20 and after(?)
+ [m]I : OPISC : NPBAM : cross pattee;
+ ●: I0IoI ̧̛● CN : NPA :● chateau tournois
cf. Seltman Class E(?)


This is an exceptional specimen from an unofficial issue, possibly made in the territories held by the Catalan Company in Attica and the former Duchy of Neopatras, emulating the tournois of Achaea and possibly of Ioannes II of Neopatras, around 1320. The silver plating is almost complete and rather thick, the style is close to the official product, but the legends are utterly impossible, although fully distinguishable and some letter forms and the double-dotted stops are likely influenced by the deniers of Athens of ca. 1305 (:GVI DVX GR20Γ). There are also signs of ligatured letters, similar to the specimen first presented by Lord Grantley as 'Princess Anna' (Late Crusader... p.48). But this particular type is not recorded by either Lord Grantley, nor Seltman, nor Baker et al (Coinage and Money in Medieval Greece 1200-1430). The strong silvering indicates a professional operation possibly directly or indirectly supported by the Catalan interests to defraud the markets of Achaea. Following Seltman's classification (Late Deniers Tournois of Frankish Greece) this specimen could fall under category A (dated by the author roughly during the reign of Gautier de Brienne -- but it is probably later, likely post-dating the conquest of Neopatras in 1318).

Very rare with almost full silvering. Very rare with full readable legends. Like some of the specimens I presented in OMNI 2021, the style and quality points to a semi-official operation, under the control of an actual polity -- most likely the Catalan Company. Not in Baker's Coinage and Money in Medieval Greece 1200-1430 either, but it is worth noting that the stops in the reverse legend are reminiscent of the Guillaume II de Villehardouin's GV113 as recorded by Baker p. 1386.

The coin has suffered from some bronze disease underneath the silver plating, leaving the metal brittle and partially corroded.

Solidus has had multiple such issues available in their previous auctions, possibly a consigned collection of late Frankish Greece material. More research is always needed with these.

Edited by seth77
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@seth77, your seamless and unfailing command of the numismatic literature, and the historical context, never ceases to amaze.  To quote Van Morrison, 'I'm a soul in wonder.'  ...And thank you, for holding up the Medieval tent, while I, for one, was procrastinating on not one but two prospective OPs.

...While dealing with a Lot less than you folks have been.  Yikes.  As if you needed my advice on any of this, just, Please, take good care of this amazing coin, and only better care of yourselves.

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Great write up and neat coin @seth77. I am glad that you are all recovered and doing well with the new baby, home and job. Glad you got a chance to write this up. Here is my example from the Frankish Crusader states.


Crusaders, Duchy of Athens
Regency of Helena Angelina for Guy II de la Roche (AD 1287-1291)
BI Denier Tournois, Thebes mint, struck ca. AD 1287-1288(?)
Dia.: 19 mm
Wt.: 0.82 g
Obv.: + ⦂ ThEBE ⦂ CIVIS ⦂ Chateau tournois
Rev.: + ⦂ G ⦂ DVX ⦂ ATENES ⦂ Cross pattee
Ref.: Malloy 86, Tzamalis GR105

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