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    Extremely Rare Basil I Issue

    Basil I the Macedonian (AD 867-886), with Constantine and Eudocia. AV solidus (21mm, 4.30 gm, 6h).  Constantinople, AD 867-868 or 882. +bASILIOS AЧGЧST 'b', crowned facing bust of Basil I, wearing loros, holding globus cruciger with patriarchal cross in right hand and acacia in left / COhSTAhT 'S ЄVdOCIA *, crowned facing busts of Constantine, beardless, on left, and Eudocia on right; Constantine wears chlamys and holds globus cruciger, while Eudocia wears loros and holds cruciform scepter; between their heads, cross. Sear 1703. Berk 268. DOC 3. Extremely rare! NGC (photo-certificate) AU 5/5 - 3/5, edge marks.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex Dreesmann Collection, Part II (Spink & Sons, London, July 2000), lot 635. 

    This rare issue is unusual in that it portrays the empress Eudocia. If the date of AD 882 is correct, this is a memorial issue struck at the time of her death. Grierson has suggested it may be a coronation issue from AD 867-868.

    A peasant born to an Armenian family in the hinterlands of Macedonia, Basil came to Constantinople as a young man seeking his fortune, and can hardly have done any better. Despite having no education or money, he parlayed an appointment as a groom in the Imperial stables into a friendship with the Emperor Michael III "The Drunkard," who appointed him co-emperor in May of AD 866. Basil next contrived the murder of the powerful Caesar Bardas, then, in September of 867, he did away with Michael himself. Once installed as uncontested ruler, he proved himself as gifted as he was cunning, crafty and ruthless. He continued the military expansion begun by his predecessors and dealt the Arabs and Slavs several heavy defeats while consolidating and strengthening the empire's new frontiers. He also crushed a rebellion by a heretical Christian sect, the Paulicans, snuffed out the last vestiges of Iconoclasm, and made peace with the Papacy by replacing the controversial patriarch Photius, thus healing the so-called Photian schism. Most importantly, he founded a stable dynasty that would last two centuries and bring the Byzantine Empire to its medieval peak. His eldest son, Constantine, seen with his father on this gold solidus, predeceased him in AD 879 and the succession fell to the scholarly Leo VI "the Wise," under whom the "Macedonian Renaissance" would reach its full flowering.

    This coin from the Dimitriadis Collection has been issued a photo-certificate by NGC. It may be sent in for encapsulation after the auction at the request of the buyer, free of charge. E-mail SamS@HA.com if you would like to utilize this option.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2014
    3rd-10th Wednesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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