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    Rare Nicephorus II Nomisma

    Nicephorus II Phocas (AD 963-969), with Basil II. AV histamenon nomisma (21mm, 4.39 gm, 6h).  Constantinople, AD 963-964. + IhS XIS RЄX RЄΣNANTIhM, bust of Christ Pantocrator facing, wearing cruciform nimbus, raising right hand in benediction, and holding book of Gospels cradled in left arm / + hICHFOP CЄ ЬASIL' AЧΣΣ Ь R', crowned facing busts of Nicephorus (on left), bearded and wearing loros, and Basil, beardless, wearing chlamys pinned at right shoulder, holding long patriarchal cross between. Sear 1776. DOC 1.3. Rare, Light reverse scrape. NGC (photo-certificate) AU 5/5 - 3/5, edge marks.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex "An Important Private Collection of Byzantine Coins" (Sotheby's, New York, 2 November 1998), lot 490. 

    One of the greatest generals of his age, Nicephorus Phocas led the armada that reclaimed Crete for Byzantium after 130 years of Arab rule. He followed up by annexing Cyprus and capturing Aleppo. These stupendous victories led the army, following the death of Romanus II in March AD 963, to acclaim Nicephorus as Emperor. Returning to Constantinople, he married Theophano, the widow of Romanus II, and proclaimed himself protector of her two young sons Basil II and Constantine VIII, who became subordinate Emperors. Nicephorus continued the offensive against the Caliphate, which fell back on all fronts before the disciplined Byzantine forces. Theophano, however, found him physically repulsive, remote and austere, and sought refuge in the arms of a dashing soldier, John Tzimisces. Together they plotted and carried out the murder of Nicephorus in December of AD 969. 

    It is during this reign that the term "solidus" is replaced by "histamenon nomisma" as a name for the standard Byzantine gold coin. A second, slightly lighter denomination, the "tetarteron nomisma," was also introduced.

    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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