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    Rare Constantine VII - Romanus I Solidus

    Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (AD 913-959), with Romanus I Lecapenus (AD 920-944) or Romanus II (after AD 945). AV solidus (22mm, 4.38 gm, 6h).  Constantinople, AD 943-944(?). + IhX XPS RЄX RЄGNANTIЧM, full figure of Christ Pantocrator, with cruciform nimbus, seated facing on lyre-backed throne, raising right and in benediction and holding book of Gospels on left knee / + COhSTAhTIhOS CЄ R-OMAh' Єh' XΩ b' R', standing facing figures of Constantine (beardless, on left), wearing crown and chlamys, and Romanus (on right), on rectangular dais, each holding globus cruciger in outer hand and grasping long patriarchal cross between them. Sear 1749. DOC 10. Berk 277 (this piece). Very rare! Well struck and lustrous. NGC (photo-certificate) Choice AU? 5/5 - 5/5.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex Important Private Collection of Byzantine Coins (Sotheby's New York, 2 November 1998), lot 485.

    This rare type is controversial, with DOC and others giving it to Romanus I and Constantine, while Sear attributes it to Constantine and Romanus II (AD 945-963). The main difficulty is that the name of Constantine comes first, but the beardless figure on the left (indicating primacy) is clearly smaller and younger than the  figure on the right, a position usually reserved for the subsidiary ruler. On the surface this would seem to indicate the younger figure is Constantine VII and the elder Romanus I, and point to an issue early in the joint reign. Other factors, including the ornate and much more evolved figure of Christ, seem to indicate a issue from much later in the reign, after Romanus I was deposed (in December AD 944)and Constantine's son Romanus II was raised to the purple (in April AD 945). These factors seem to point to a special ceremonial issue, supported by the fact that the coins are of unusually fine style and struck on broad flans; also, the design depicts the two Imperial figures standing on a raised dais. Pending further study and/or discoveries, the jury remains in session. 

    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: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 320

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    We also followed the bidding online yesterday here in Salt Lake for the other 3 coins - great fun. Prices realized met or exceeded our expectations.
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