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    Leontius: Portly Usurper

    Leontius (AD 695-698). AV solidus (19mm, 4.43 gm, 6h). Constantinople, 7th officina. D LЄO-N PЄ AV, facing bust of Leontius, bearded and wearing crown with cross on circlet and Loros, holding akakia in right hand and globus cruciger in left / VICTORIA AVΣЧ, cross potent set upon three steps; Z//CONOB. Sear 1330. DOC 1g.2. MIB 1. Rare. A little weakly struck at bottom of obverse / top of reverse. NGC (photo-certificate) MS 3/5 - 3/5.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Private purchase from Spink & Sons, London, February 1988.

    Governor of the newly created Theme of Hellas in Greece, Leontius was proclaimed Emperor after the overthrow of Justinian II in AD 695. His first mistake was not executing his predecessor; instead he cut off Justinian's nose and banished him to the Crimea. With the Byzantines in turmoil, the Arabs went on the offensive in North Africa and captured Carthage in AD 698. The fleet Leontius sent to relieve the city instead rebelled and proclaimed its admiral Apsimar as Emperor. Leontius abdicated and was initially spared, but was murdered after Justinian II's return to power in AD 705. The coins of Leontius boast unusually realistic portraiture, portraying him as a portly man with a close-cropped beard. 

    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
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