Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice
Florida United Numismatists (FUN) and New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) Auctions are rescheduled and have moved to Dallas. Get details.


    Finest Known Mezezius Solidus

    Mezezius (AD 668-669). AV solidus (20mm, 4.48 gm, 7h). NGC Choice MS★ 5/5 - 5/5. Syracuse, 5th officina. d n MЄZЄZI-VS PP AVЧ (second Z retrograde), bust of Mezezius facing with short beard and long mustache, wearing cuirass and plumed helmet with frontal cross, globus cruciger in right hand, shield decorated with horseman motif in left / VICTORIA-AVϚЧ Є, cross potent with base set on three steps, CONOB below. Sear 1146 (this coin). Berk 167 (this coin). BMC (Constantine IV, Carthage) 54, Pl. XXXVII, 12. MIB 9 (Constantine IV, Constantinople). DOC (Constantine IV, uncertain Balkan mint) 71.

    Extremely rare and the finest known, with about seven total known specimens for this emperor.

    From the Penn Collection. Ex Important Private Collection of Byzantine Coins (Sotheby's, 2 November 1998), lot 286 (cover lot); Lanz, Auction 14 (18 April 1978), lot 497

    Constans II was assassinated in his bath at Syracuse on 15 September AD 668, possibly as a result of the heavy financial burden imposed on Sicily to support the emperor's presence there. The Armenian noble, Mezezius (Mzhezh in Armenian), one of the conspirators, was proclaimed emperor by the army in Sicily. There are two sources which detail the end of his usurpation, which lasted after about seven months. The eight-century historian, Theophanes the Confessor (Chronographia 352.4-7), writes Constantine IV marched on Sicily and successfully captured Mezezius and the other conspirators and executed them, taking back the Byzantine throne for the Heraclian dynasty. An opposing source, the Liber pontificalis (1.346), detailing history from the time of Peter to the ninth century, describes troops from Africa and Italy arriving shortly after Constans' murder, with the exarch of Ravenna suppressing the revolt, beheading Mezezius and sending his head to Constantine IV in Constantinople.

    The coinage of Mezezius was not recognized until 1978, when this specimen, with clear legends, first came to light. Earlier reference works attributed the few known specimens to Constantine IV.

    The other known specimens include:

    1) British Museum (BMC 54=Grierson 559)
    2) Barber Institute, Birmingham
    3) Hess-Leu (April 1963), lot 326 (possibly the Barber Institute specimen)
    4) An Important Collection of Standard Byzantine and Other Related Dark Age Gold Coins (Bonhams, 3 December 1980), lot 181
    5) Gemini, Auction II (11 January 2006), lot 531
    6) Bertolami Fine Arts, Auction 12 (29 October 2014), lot 1023

    Estimate: $50,000 - $100,000.

    View all of [The Penn Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Proxy Bidding Ends
    21st Thursday 5:50 pm CT
    Auction Dates
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
    Proxy Bidding Time Remaining
    5 Days 22h 57m 4s
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: 86
    Page Views: 1,528

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

    This lot is in: 2 - Signature® Floor Session Platinum Night (Live Floor, Live Phone, Mail, Fax, Internet, and Heritage Live):
    (Lots 31001-31326) - 6:00 PM Central Time, Thursday, January 21, 2021.
    (Proxy bidding ends ten minutes prior to the session start time. Live Proxy bidding on Heritage Live starts 7 days before the live session begins and continues through the session.)

    Show All Session Information

    Show Auction Type Info

    Exhibition Viewing Times, Title Page, Floor Session and License Information

    Additional Location Info:
    Heritage Auctions
    2801 W. Airport Freeway
    Dallas, TX 75261

    Current Bid:
    Bid Protection
    w/ Buyer's Premium (BP) : $37,200.00 Minimum Next Bid: $32,000 ($38,400.00 w/ BP)
    Track Item