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    Description

    Nicephorus I (AD 802-811). AV solidus (20mm, 3.77 gm, 6h). NGC MS 5/5 - 4/5. Sicilian mint, probably Syracuse, ca. AD 802/3. NI-FOLOS (sic) bAS, crowned facing bust of Nicephorus, wearing chlamys pinned at right shoulder, holding cross potent in right hand and akakia in left / IhSUS XRIS-TUS NICA X, cross potent on base and three steps, flanked by C-I. Sear --. DOC --. Füeg -. Spahr -. Apparently unrecorded in any standard reference; for similar examples see CNG 105, lot 1056, Nomos 12, lot 240, and NAC 75, lot 696 (all from same dies). Extremely rare, crisply struck and lustrous.

    The former imperial treasurer, Nicephorus I came to power in the coup that toppled the controversial Empress Irene. Nicephorus was a strict conservative with considerable military and administrative experience. He at first placed the familiar Cross Potent on the reverse of his coins, but later replaced this with a portrait of his young son and hoped-for successor, Stauracius. This extremely rare solidus from the Syracuse mint still retains the Cross Potent, and probably belongs to the first year of the reign, AD 802-803. Though relatively successful in domestic and foreign affairs, the regime came to grief in AD 811 when the army of Nicephorus and Stauracius was ambushed and destroyed by the Bulgarian Khan Krum. Nicephorus perished in the disaster, and Krum had his skull made into a drinking cup, which became part of the Bulgarian royal regalia.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2018
    20th-23rd Friday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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