Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    First Christ Portrait

    Justinian II, first reign (AD 685-695). AV solidus (18mm, 4.45 gm, 6h). NGC Choice MS 4/5 - 5/5. Constantinople, 9th officina, AD 692-695. IhS CRISΤDS RЄX-RЄΣNANΤIЧM, facing half-length bust of Christ with long hair and full beard, wearing pallium and colobium, cross behind head, raising right hand in benediction, book of Gospels cradled in left arm / D IЧSTINI-AN-ЧS SERЧ CHRISΤI Θ, full-length figure of Justinian II standing facing, wearing crown and loros, cross potent on steps in right hand and akakia in left; CON-O-P below. Sear 1248. DOC 2, Part 2, 7g.1. MIB 8. Full mint bloom obverse with remarkable, realistic portrait. Frosty, lustrous reverse with solid strike.

    The portrait of Christ on the obverse of this solidus is the first numismatic representation of Jesus, and immediately followed the ruling of the Trullan Synod of AD 692 that Christ could be depicted in human form. Justinian II was ostentatiously devout and placing the divine image on his coinage was a reflection of this. The image is remarkably naturalistic and lifelike, and was likely based on the mosaic image of Christ in the apse of the Great Palace of Constantinople, which was itself influenced by Hellenistic depictions of Zeus. Some scholars have argued that Justinian's choice to produce this new type came in response to the Umayyad caliph 'Abd al-Malik's minting of Byzantine-style solidi bearing the Islamic statement of faith (the shahada) in AD 692, which he used in payment of tribute to the Emperor prior to the eruption of the Battle of Sebastopolis the same year.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    17th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 447

    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
    Consign to the 2020 April 22 - 27 Central States World Coins Signature Auction - Chicago.

    Learn about consigning with us

    I want to thank you for all of your assistance relative to my coin collection.
    Alan D.,
    Boston, MA
    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

    2019 December 5-7 US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 December 5-7 US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $9,500,675
    2019 December 5 - 6 HKINF World & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    2019 December 5 - 6 HKINF World & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    REALIZED SO FAR $3,848,428
    2019 December 4 - 6 HKINF World Paper Money Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    2019 December 4 - 6 HKINF World Paper Money Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    REALIZED SO FAR $1,667,425