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In the Beginning ......... the coins of Anastasius


Simon
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In most Eastern Roman catalogs (Byzantine) they start with the coin of one man, Anastasius 491-518. The reason for this I would suspect is the Copper coin reform he created was a good place to start.

I am not qualified to give you the whys, but he did create Copper coinage that had a marked value and brought back to his empire the large coppers.

His coins are interesting to say the least, here are some of my favorites from my collection.  

Pre reform, smaller follis

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 SBCV-15? not sure if that is a cross above M.  CON mint and 22.88mm and 8.8gm

 

Next the monster coins , these follis are part of his copper coin reform,

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SBCV-19  38.67mm  20.1gm  CON mint

Now a post reform half follis,

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 SBCV-25var 27.33mm and 7.49gm Constantinople mnt.

 

Now here are the gold, I do not have a solidus but here is a smaller denomination a semissis.

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 Anastasius I, 491-518. Semissis (Gold, 18 mm, 2.01 g, 7 h), Constantinople, 507-518. DN ANASTA-SIVS PP AVC Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Anastasius I to right. Rev. VICTORIA AVCCC / CONOB Victory seated right, inscribing XXXX on shield set on knee; in field to left, star; in field to right, staurogram. DOC 9. MIBE 10. SB 7. Graffiti and edge bend, otherwise, very fine.

Now this is s my favorite, the smallest gold, a tremissis.

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Anastasius I AV Tremissis. Constantinople, AD 491-518. D N ANASTASIVS P P AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust to right / VICTORIA AVGVSTORVM, Victory advancing right, head to left, holding wreath and globus cruciger; star in right field, CONOB in exergue. MIBE 13; DOC 10; Sear 8. 1.49g, 15mm, 4h.
Near Extremely Fine.
From the collection of Z.P., Austria.

Sear lists 53 types of coins, Metcalfs work "The Origins of the Anastasian Currency reform" has over 250 types of the follis alone. and if you have any Anastasius coins please share, it would be interesting how many examples we could put in one thread.

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Nice coins @Simon

The Roman bronze coins decreased in size in the 4th century AD and 5th century AD (on average, although there were exceptions). It seems like this was because of inflation in the Roman Empire. The average "nummus" bronze coin declined from 10 grams in weight and 30 mm in diameter with 5% silver during the time of the Tetrarchy including Diocletian in 294 AD, to approximately 1 gram in weight and 10 mm in diameter with no silver by the time of Anastasius I in 498 AD. Then, in 498 AD, Anastasius I created a 40 nummi bronze coin, called a "follis" by present day numismatists, which was supposed to be worth 40 of the old small nummus coins (therefore it had the Greek numeral for 40, the letter "M", on the reverse). However, the first version of the 40 nummi coin weighed only 3 grams to 10 grams, and had a diameter of 20 mm to 25 mm. Numismatists call this version the "small module". Ordinary citizens were unhappy with it, because its weight was nowhere close to the weight of 40 of the old small nummus coins. Therefore, in 512 AD, Anastasius I created a larger version of the 40 nummi coin, which weighed between 15 grams and 20 grams, and had a diameter of 31 mm to 40 mm. Numismatists call this version the "large module". This coin still did not weigh as much as 40 of the old small nummus coins, but it was large enough and impressive enough that ordinary citizens accepted it. The 40 nummi coin represented further inflation, because it weighed way less than 40 of the old small nummus coins. But at least the average bronze coin was large again, and therefore more useful as coinage, along with new 20 nummi coins, 10 nummi coins, and 5 nummi coins. After reaching a maximum diameter of up to 45 mm in 540 AD under Justinian I, the 40 nummi coin gradually shrank to 14 mm to 18 mm in diameter by the end of the 8th century AD, and lost the letter "M" on the reverse, as the Byzantine Empire lost northern Africa including Egypt, most of Italy, and the Holy Land. More inflation, I guess. Then, in the 9th century AD, some larger 40 nummi follis coins began to appear, with diameters up to 30 mm. Why? I don't know.

Here are my 2 Anastasius I coins. These are seller photos.

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Anastasius I AE Nummus. Eastern Roman Empire. 491 AD To 498 AD. Constantinople Mint. Sear 13. 8 mm. 0.99 grams. Obverse Anastasius I Bust Facing Right. Reverse Monogram.

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Anastasius I AE 40 Nummi Follis Large Module. 512 AD To 518 AD. Constantinople Mint. Sear 19. 32 mm. 15.33 grams. Obverse Anastasius I Bust Facing Right. Reverse Large M Mint "CON" Officina A.

Edited by sand
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AnastasiusISB19B.JPG.3fcd55ebe1b105ac7f4d95f756f930fa.JPG
Anastasius I - Constantinople mint. Struck ca 512-517 AD. DN ANASTASIVS P P AVG, pearl diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right / Large M, star to left, cross above, star to right, officina letter B below, mintmark CON. DOC I 23i; MIB I 27; SB 19.

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Great coins @Simon and great write-up @sand!

I don't really collect early Byzantine coins that often, so these three are my only coins from Anastasius reign. They coincidentally happen to represent the three types of coinage from his reign.

Anastasius - Sear 13 - Constantinople - Nummus

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Anastasius - Unpublished / Sear 16 var. (Wreath surrounding the reverse) - Constantinople - Small-module Follis

Bild

Anastasius - Sear 22 - Constantinople - Large-module Follis

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Edited by Zimm
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Here is a large and heavy follis. The heavy examples, struck after the lighter introduced follis, ranged from around 16-18.5 grams. This example is slightly heavier.

Anastasius, 491-518 A.D.

Type: Large AE Follis, 39 mm 19 grams

Obverse: DN ANASTASIVS PP AVG, Diademed draped and Cuirassed bust right, star on right shoulder (rare)

Reverse: Large M, Epsilon below. Cross above M, star in left field, Mintmark CON

[IMG]

[IMG]

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As @Simon's article mentions, the "follis" decreased in size until the 10th century when the Christ folles started being issued. Here is a 9th century example:

Constantinople mint

Michael II the Amorian and Theophilus, AE Follis, 23 mm 6.2 grams, glossy black patina

820-829 A.D.

Michael supported iconoclasm, which disallowed the use of icons in favor of script and and related artistic themes which almost certainly was a reflection of the influence of Islam on Byzantine art. Nevertheless, coins featuring the visage of the rulers were still struck. Theophilus was known for a pair of golden roaring lions on either side of his throne, accomplished by steam power. He traded gifts with the powerful Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad, Harun Al-Rashid.
[IMG]

[IMG]

Edited by Ancient Coin Hunter
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I think that the AE4 minimi belong with the other 5th century minimi in RIC X. They were definitely struck before the coinage reform and in use in the last decade of the 5th century, together with the ones of Leo, Zeno etc. They should have been in RIC X.

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😇Wow 😮! All the 40 nummi coins are coming out of the closet, so here's another one 😀.547948539_AnastasiusAE40nummiSear19.jpg.10010021315bd09efb06a44e20a42bd9.jpg

The coin pictured below bears the portrait & name of Anastasius, but was struck by the king of the Ostrogoths, Theodoric. By the time this coin was struck Rome had fallen to the barbarians, however, the Romans prospered under Theodoric & honored him with a mausoleum that still stands in the city of Ravenna 😇.

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Mausoleum of Theodoric, Ravenna, Italy. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia. 

 

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Byzantine Empire: Anastasius I (491-518) AV Tremissis, Constantinople (Sear 8; DOC 10; MIBE 12)

Obv: DN ANASTASIVS PP AVG; pearl diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVSTORVM; Victory advancing right, head left, holding wreath and cross on globe, star to right; CONOB in exergue

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Byzantine Empire: Anastasius I (491-518) Æ Half Follis, Constantinople (Sear 25; DOC 24; MIBE 33)

Obv: Diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right
Rev: Large K; cross to left, Γ to right

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Byzantine Empire: Anastasius I (491-518) Æ Half Follis, Constantinople (Sear 23; DOC 18; MIBE 31)

Obv: Diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right
Rev: Large K; cross to left

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Byzantine Empire: Anastasius I (491-518) Æ Half Follis, Nicomedia (Sear 38; DOC I.31; MIBE 47)

Obv: DN ANASTA-SIVS PP AVG; Diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right
Rev: Large K; cross to left between N and I
Dim: 19 mm, 4.31 g

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Byzantine Empire: Anastasius I (491-518) Æ Half Follis, Nicomedia (Sear 42; DOC I.36; MIBE 48)

Obv: DN ANASTA-SIVS PP AVG; Diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right
Rev: Large K; cross to left between N and I; star to right, O above, Δ below
Dim: 21 mm, 4.09 g

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@Simon if you have no objection to previously posted coins, I can contribute.  Here are four solidi of Anastasius, with the reverses illustrating the traditional Nike with standing cross, Chi-rho, and rho headed cross.   The switch to the novel chi-rho has been said to mark the 500th anniversary of the birth of Christ.   I am not aware of any historical evidence for the assertion, but the Nike with cross had been used for a long time, so it is possible this change commemorates something, and the timing fits.  

The tremissis is a great portrait for such a tiny coin.  In contrast to the rather generic depictions on the obverses of 04C9D528-85D3-4059-9197-7C2E5288AF0F.jpeg.6ae9d79b3127da99a6b4efedc3aecff9.jpeg7CB5BED8-C187-41F2-94BD-73A8FFA44B1D.jpeg.489ee1e0f2cd14b7d3fc2a01ce93768a.jpegthe solidi, the tremissis captures the look of a rather stern and aristocratic man.  

Here is an imitative solidus of the Ostrogoths, not quite as nice as @Al Kowsky’s, which CNG sold as an official Constantinople mint product.  On the obverse the legends read PF AVG for PIUS FELIX AUGUSTUS, rather than PP AVG for PER PETUUM AUGUSTUS  as on the Constantinople coins.  The spearhead is barbed instead of leaf-shaped.  The reverse reads COMOB in the exergue rather than CONOB for the CONstantinople mint.  image.png.74cf6d591fc3a77fb5ad1262ad72f6e1.png392BB93E-CA01-40C3-8F39-6A404B33A616.jpeg.5ee01ab372cbb0646f4e5f356b2b7c24.jpeg

The coins of the Ostrogoths seem to have furnished as templates for other Germanic tribes’ coins.  Below is an unusual coin which is derived from an Ostrogothic solidus prototype, but the celator was clearly illiterate.  Note the confusion of A and V used right side up or upside down in confusion for one another.  This is the seller’s pic because sadly my photograph of the coin is unusable.   Dorotheum deemed it Ostrogothic, and it came from an Austrian specialist’s collection.  A characteristic of Ostrogothic solidi is that they usually are equal or superior to Constantinople mint products in style, engraving, and production, and this coin is clearly not.  TEJAS on CoinTalk suggested it to be Burgundian, and I think he is likely correct.  

image.jpeg.480b3e0050dafb035b48af2f799a9117.jpeg

The last coin of Anastasius I will show is a Merovingian solidus from the time of Clovis.  This coin came from the Subjack collection, via Andy Singer.  I call it my VICTOBI solidus, although now that I have the pictures all up for comparison, it appears the Burgundian die maker made very similar mistake. BD493F23-CC57-4F2D-B600-F565E7B09327.jpeg.3db731d3754937b4cf966944d9fd8662.jpegD8581C53-F9BA-4CF5-92C1-897C5CFA699F.jpeg.4a092efe0a8a1b18379717cef34c2ac2.jpeg

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8 hours ago, Hrefn said:

@Simon if you have no objection to previously posted coins, I can contribute.  Here are four solidi of Anastasius, with the reverses illustrating the traditional Nike with standing cross, Chi-rho, and rho headed cross.   The switch to the novel chi-rho has been said to mark the 500th anniversary of the birth of Christ.   I am not aware of any historical evidence for the assertion, but the Nike with cross had been used for a long time, so it is possible this change commemorates something, and the timing fits.  

The tremissis is a great portrait for such a tiny coin.  In contrast to the rather generic depictions on the obverses of 04C9D528-85D3-4059-9197-7C2E5288AF0F.jpeg.6ae9d79b3127da99a6b4efedc3aecff9.jpeg7CB5BED8-C187-41F2-94BD-73A8FFA44B1D.jpeg.489ee1e0f2cd14b7d3fc2a01ce93768a.jpegthe solidi, the tremissis captures the look of a rather stern and aristocratic man.  

Here is an imitative solidus of the Ostrogoths, not quite as nice as @Al Kowsky’s, which CNG sold as an official Constantinople mint product.  On the obverse the legends read PF AVG for PIUS FELIX AUGUSTUS, rather than PP AVG for PER PETUUM AUGUSTUS  as on the Constantinople coins.  The spearhead is barbed instead of leaf-shaped.  The reverse reads COMOB in the exergue rather than CONOB for the CONstantinople mint.  image.png.74cf6d591fc3a77fb5ad1262ad72f6e1.png392BB93E-CA01-40C3-8F39-6A404B33A616.jpeg.5ee01ab372cbb0646f4e5f356b2b7c24.jpeg

The coins of the Ostrogoths seem to have furnished as templates for other Germanic tribes’ coins.  Below is an unusual coin which is derived from an Ostrogothic solidus prototype, but the celator was clearly illiterate.  Note the confusion of A and V used right side up or upside down in confusion for one another.  This is the seller’s pic because sadly my photograph of the coin is unusable.   Dorotheum deemed it Ostrogothic, and it came from an Austrian specialist’s collection.  A characteristic of Ostrogothic solidi is that they usually are equal or superior to Constantinople mint products in style, engraving, and production, and this coin is clearly not.  TEJAS on CoinTalk suggested it to be Burgundian, and I think he is likely correct.  

image.jpeg.480b3e0050dafb035b48af2f799a9117.jpeg

The last coin of Anastasius I will show is a Merovingian solidus from the time of Clovis.  This coin came from the Subjack collection, via Andy Singer.  I call it my VICTOBI solidus, although now that I have the pictures all up for comparison, it appears the Burgundian die maker made very similar mistake. BD493F23-CC57-4F2D-B600-F565E7B09327.jpeg.3db731d3754937b4cf966944d9fd8662.jpegD8581C53-F9BA-4CF5-92C1-897C5CFA699F.jpeg.4a092efe0a8a1b18379717cef34c2ac2.jpeg

Hrefn, That's a wonderful group of imperial & barbarian gold 😮! I'm surprised CNG missed the attribution on the Ostrogothic solidus. The Merovingian solidus is a real gem that screams "barbarian"☺️. The Dorotheum solidus is fascinating & enigmatic 🤔. The coin is clearly barbarian, but it really doesn't stray far from the Ostrogothic style, so I understand why it was attributed to Theodoric 😉. I have a mysterious gold solidus that defies an exact attribution too, pictured below 😕. The portrait is bizarre & certainly barbaric, but the reverse looks as good or better as an imperial solidus issued by Zeno. What is your take on this oddity 🧐?542151926_GermanicSolidusofZenolate5thcen..jpg.1be7c206a9ce286fc34d4b05ae80dafa.jpg

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@Al Kowsky, I have been puzzled by your Zeno solidus since I first saw its picture.  The short answer is I am not sure where it came from.  I do believe it is not an official Imperial product, though even saying that is more uncertain than one might suppose.   Odovacar probably struck solidi in Zeno’s name in Milan, and they are a diverse group.  Some have the M - D mint mark on the reverse, some do not.  I have seen COMOB in the exergue, and CONOB with the N retrograde.  They are more heterogenous and bizarre in style than later Ostrogothic solidi from Italy.   If I were pressed to guess, I would say it is one of these, but there remains a high degree of uncertainty.    I don’t think it is Visigothic, Merovingian, or Burgundian.  It is literately done but in a barbaric style.   

Great coin, though.  Illustrative of the slow motion collapse of the West.

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1 hour ago, Hrefn said:

@Al Kowsky, I have been puzzled by your Zeno solidus since I first saw its picture.  The short answer is I am not sure where it came from.  I do believe it is not an official Imperial product, though even saying that is more uncertain than one might suppose.   Odovacar probably struck solidi in Zeno’s name in Milan, and they are a diverse group.  Some have the M - D mint mark on the reverse, some do not.  I have seen COMOB in the exergue, and CONOB with the N retrograde.  They are more heterogenous and bizarre in style than later Ostrogothic solidi from Italy.   If I were pressed to guess, I would say it is one of these, but there remains a high degree of uncertainty.    I don’t think it is Visigothic, Merovingian, or Burgundian.  It is literately done but in a barbaric style.   

Great coin, though.  Illustrative of the slow motion collapse of the West.

Hrefn, Thanks for your thoughts ☺️. The 1st time I saw the coin, many years ago, I was sure it was issued under Odovacar, however, I'm not as sure today. I've seen well over 20 coins of Zeno attributed to Odovacar, but none looked like my coin. This coin may never yield it's secrets, but I'm still hopeful 🤔.

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I believe this little fellow is an AE Pentanummium , Im an not certain, the officinae is not listed in Sear, SBCV-53a   1.4gm and 11.24mm The legend in not much help. But he has a pretty green patina and I think someone holed years ago. 

a3.jpg.aeeed3407649fa19b7b52295025b71c2.jpg

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Speaking of Anastasius, one of my (ugly) coins appeals to me because even through the very worn appearance of the coin there is clear evidence of a "Double-Strike" (something that I do not have too many examples of).

 

512-517 A.D. Anastasius I, Constantinople, Half follis,

AE27mm., 6.41gm.

Obv: D N ANASTASIVS P P AVG. Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Rev: Large K; cross to left, G (Greek) to right.
Sear 24.
(N.B. Double Strike)

Magical Snap - 2022.07.26 18.16 - 031.jpg

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