Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Irene Solidus Of Syracuse

    Irene, as sole Augusta (AD 797-802). AV solidus (19mm, 3.82 gm, 6h). NGC MS 5/5 - 5/5. Syracuse, AD 797-798. [IREh] AΓOVST, bust of Irene facing, wearing loros and crown with pendilia, cross on semicircle and two triangular pinnacles, holding cross potent in right hand / IRIEN AΓOVST, crowned facing bust of Irene, wearing chlamys and holding acacia in left hand, two horn-like projections (back of throne?) behind. Spahr 339. Sear --, cf. 1601 differing reverse bust type). DOC 4 variant (same). Extremely rare, one of perhaps three known examples! Well struck and lustrous.

    The brief sole reign of the Empress Irene marked the first time a woman ruled the Roman or Byzantine Empires in her own right. Alas, the experiment could not be called a success. The wife of the short-reigning Emperor Leo IV, Irene soon came to dominate domestic affairs in his government. When Leo died in 780, Irene ruled as regent for her adolescent son Constantine VI. In 790 she was temporarily ousted by her son, but he showed no talent for ruling and Irene, in turn, had him ousted and blinded in 797, seizing sole power for herself. She tried to win popularity with generous handouts, but soon ran out of money just as the empire faced a series of military disasters. Furthermore, the accession of a female promoted the Pope in Rome to declare the imperial throne vacant, and he crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne "Emperor of the Romans" in 800. In 802 Irene was ousted in a coup led by her finance minister Nicephorus. The novel coinage of Irene's sole reign depicts the Empress on both sides in similar poses, as seen on this extremely rare issue from the provincial mint of Syracuse. The reverse is of particular interest, showing two horn-like projections from her shoulders which are probably the back of the famous "lion throne" of the Imperial palace in Constantinople.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2018
    7th-8th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 330

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 1 day left to consign to the 2020 April 22 - 27 Central States World Coins Signature Auction - Chicago!

    Learn about consigning with us

    Great coins, lovely catalogs, accurate description and grades (whether raw or slabbed).
    M.G. ,
    New City, NY
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2020 February 20 - 23 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
    2020 February 20 - 23 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
    REALIZED $13,034,923
    2020 February 9 A Special Collection of Frankfurt Coins World Coins Monthly Online Auction
    2020 February 9 A Special Collection of Frankfurt Coins World Coins Monthly Online Auction
    REALIZED $55,978.00
    2020 January 9 - 13 FUN World Paper Money Signature Auction - Orlando
    2020 January 9 - 13 FUN World Paper Money Signature Auction - Orlando
    REALIZED $1,720,013