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    Description

    Enigmatic Constantine VII-Romanus Solidus

    Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (AD 913-959), with Romanus I Lecapenus (AD 920-944) or Romanus II (after AD 945). AV solidus (21mm, 4.29 gm, 6h). NGC Choice XF 5/5 - 3/5. Constantinople, AD 943-944 (?). + IhX XPS RЄX-RЄGNANTIЧM, full-length figure of Christ, seated facing on throne with curved back, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium and colobium, right hand raised in benediction, book of Gospels in left / + COhSTAhTIhOS CЄ R-OMAh' Єh' XΩ b' R', crowned, standing facing figures of Constantine VII (on right), bearded, wearing loros with cross on sleeve, and Romanus II (shorter, on left), wearing chlamys with cross on front, both on rectangular dais, each holding globus cruciger in outer hand and jointly holding long patriarchal cross with globular terminus between them. Sear 1749. DOC (Constantine VII and Romanus I) 10. Very rare!

    From the Morris Collection. Ex. Classical Numismatic Group 28 (8 December 1993), lot 519.

    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.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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