Some Unlisted Palaeologan Types

1. "B-B"/Standing Emperor type.

In Numismatic Chronicle 2001 Simon Bendall reconstructed a find* of Palaeologan coins of Andronicus II and Andronicus III. One coin mentioned in Bendall's article (p.266) was an unrecorded trachy with a large "B-B" (actually "B/B") on the obverse and and a standing emperor holding a patriarchal cross and labarum(?) on the reverse. This coin was reported to Bendall by H.J. Berk's, through whom part of the find was sold. This coin however did not, as far as I am aware, appear in any of the Berk's sales of the find material, which raised doubts (in my suspicious mind at least) about the correctness of the description of the coin.

However, what appears to be another example of this type was offered in May 2005 on Ebay, and a third appeared in Jan. 2006. These two coins are shown below. Both coins are neatly struck on slightly scyphate flans, and one coin has a short legend A?/N/? to the right on the reverse. The latter coin, although offered as part of a large find of mainly Andronicus II types, had a rather different patina to most the coins in that find, and hence may have come from a separate source. More recently, a further example (or perhaps the original example?) was published by Bendall in Num. Circ. 2007, p.304, #9.

This type is evidently an issue of Thessalonica, and the short legend suggests that this is a mid to later period issue of Andronicus II.

* This hoard (which was presumably found in 2000) is now referred to in the literature as Thessalonica (VII) 2001.

"B/B"/stdg Emp. trachy of Andronicus II (1.32g).

"B/B"/stdg Emp. trachy of Andronicus II (1.78g).

2. Seated emperor holding Lis Sceptre and Orb.

Two examples of this type appeared in Bendall's Hoard of 2000 (as GM104-1456 and BBS116-687). Three more examples appeared in a recent (2004) find of Andronicus II types , and one of these is shown below. (The Gorny & Mosch coin is also pictured in Bendall's hoard report in Num. Chron. 2001 as Pl. 50, Coin A - it differs in some minor details from the other examples, such as the folds in the emperor's robes, but is presumably basically the same type).

At first sight this type is a variant of S.2369 of Andronicus II, with the large Lis sceptre in the emperor's right hand and the large patriarchal globus in the left. But 2369 is a large and presumably early type, while the variant is clearly smaller and presumably later (with only a short garbled legend). The obverse of this type shows a large reversed B below to the left, linked to a large normal B to the right by what seems to be a V, or perhaps an M, with an X(?) above*.

(This type has close similarities to an unlisted type found by Dochev at Turnovo (Dochev 1992, p. 248,7; Pl. 17,4) where the obverse is again obscure, but has B's either side of some sort of monogram, which itself seems to be the same as a coin reported by Bendall (N. Circ. 2002, p.195, 6)**. However, on the Dochev and and Bendall coins the emperor wears a diamond panelled loros and seems to hold a sceptre cruciger and (on the Dochev coin at least) an akakia, while the obverse B's are reversed as compared with recent coins considered here).

Presumably this type is an issue of Thessalonica, and judging from the short legend it could date from the middle to later period of Andronicus II's reign, although the monogram suggests Michael VIII. (This type seems light for Michael - the heaviest example of this type known to me weighs 1.77g, and Dochev gives an average(?) weight of 1.65g for the five examples of his type, which he takes to be an issue of Constantinople).

Seated emperor holding Lis Sceptre and Patriarchal Orb (0.84g).

*  An example of this type with a reasonably clear obverse was offered as Lot 1195 of the Rauch sale of 18 Sept. 2013,

** An example of this type was offered by Lanz Numismatics as Lot 685, Sale 146 in May 2009.

3. Andronicus II and Michael IX(?) holding Orb.

This apparently unlisted type, shown below, is basically similar to the well known billon trachy of Alexius III, but is clearly Palaeologan in style.

    Trachy of Andronicus II & Michael IX? (1.4g, clipped?).

The obverse is B? Christ (beardless) with a large H in the right field (and on another example from different dies) the left field. (The H's are possibly dating sigla of some sort). The reverse shows two emperors, most likely Andronicus II and Michael IX, standing in loroi with sloping waist bands, holding a globus cruciger between them, and each figure also holds a sceptre cruciger. There is a partially visible circular legend(?) on the reverse, showing, above centre, "...N(rev'd) X...."

Although this type was part of the "2004" hoard, a large find of mainly Thessalonican types, it is tentatively attributed here to Constantinople on the basis of its general similarity to the trachea and assaria of that city, noting particularly the sloping waistbands, which also seem to distinguish it from the coins of Michael VIII & Andronicus II, or Michael VIII with Constantine.

For another example see NAC 56-842, with slightly different robes and a legend something like "X/M/A/N" to the right

Note that this coin is clearly different in style from the similar (John III?) type described in Num. Circ. 1978, p.178 (No. 1), and Jord. p.78, "Theodore II" Type III (pl. XXXI, 7, and cf. p.126), where the left hand figure wears a chlamys, and from Nos. 1047-9 in the Peter and Paul hoard (Num. Chron. 1973), where the left hand figure also wears a (different) chlamys and the right hand figure is seemingly nimbate. (This last type is possibly a Latin version of the Alexius III trachy).

4. Trachy of Andronicus II and Michael IX? similar to assaria S.2433/2452.

The obverse of this scyphate type is a triple-lined Palaeologan monogram, while the reverse has the two emperors holding a labarum between them (it is not clear which figure is senior) . This type has similarities to several other known types, but in the end it doesn't seem to match any of them.

The reverse of this type is basically the same as that on several Constantinople trachea of Andronicus II and Michael IX, so at first I thought that it was a mule, but there is apparently no trachy of Constantinople (or Thessalonica for that matter) with the obverse shown here, and we now have two examples of the new type from different pairs of dies.

The design is also generally similar to the that of the assaria S.2433 & 2452, but the monogram is triple-lined (as on S.2449), and there are pellets left and right, while on the reverse the emperors are nearly full length and don't hold sceptres. Also the reverse legend is different, perhaps reading something like "Andronikoc" on the left and "Mxdec.." on the right, in columnar form.

Overall this type is largely unknown in the west, but is possibly the same as Dochev 1992, p.255,12, although the Dochev drawing shows no obverse pellets, and the legend shown ("Andr-nik", in circular form, above) is apparently that of S.2433 - perhaps he has conflated the trachy and the assarion. This composite type is in turn presumably the basis of the trachy of basically the same description listed (but not shown) in DOC V as an issue of Andronicus II and Michael IX (p.153, Table 18B, No. 18).

Trachy of Andronicus II and Michael IX? (2.04g).

Trachy of Andronicus II and Michael IX? (1.33g - broken).

The question now is, where does this type come from? Stylistically it is, as we have noted, similar to several issues of Constantinople, but the only two examples of the type known to me outside Turnovo (both shown above) came from the "2004" finds of  mainly Thessalonican types, which suggests that it is an issue of Thessalonica, so there is an interesting problem here.

5. Shield Type (cf. "S.2363").

Two examples of this type are shown below, both from the recent "2004" finds of mainly Andronicus II types from Thessalonica.

 "Shield" type of Andronicus II (1.62g) .

"Shield" type of Andronicus II (0.9g).

The obverse of this type is a double-lined mediaeval style "shield" with a star? device of 6 points in the centre - the reverse shows the emperor standing l. in loros and St Demetrius? r. holding something  between them, and each also holds a short spear. The new(?) type has what appears to be a circular legend, and is of light to middle weight, so that, given its scarcity, it is presumably an early mid period issue of Andronicus II. (Note that on one of the two coins shown above there is a star between the reverse figures, so perhaps we are actually dealing with two types here).

At first sight these coins seem to be variants of S.2363 (DOC V 751), with the shield as a sort of stylised version of the "pair of wings", but now I think that S.2363 itself may be some sort of mule, and perhaps not connected to the current coins. (There are no examples of S.2363 in the Bendall's PCPC or the Ashmolean, and the DOC V picture is based on the single example in Bertele's L'Imperatore Alato, which is not very clear).

6. Variant of S.2277/78 of Michael VIII.

This obverse of this type is as S.2277, and the reverse is similar to 2278 (Gr.1364, PCPC 43) but  the emporor holds an orb in his left hand rather than an akakia (and there is no manus dei). I have seen a second example of this type from different dies, weighing (reportedly) 2.1 gm, and another possible example with a patriarchal globus. For another possible example of this type see Bates at Sardis, Coin 1222.

Variant of S.2277/78 of Michael VIII (1.56g).

Update (Mar. '16): This type actually appears to be the same as Coin 12 below of Andronicus II.

7. Variant of S.2371 of Andronicus II?.

The reverse of this type is apparently as S.2371, but with a standing winged emperor in loros and sagion holding the orb in his right hand and a sceptre of some sort in his left. The obverse is a brockage image of the reverse. One example appeared in Bendall's 2000 hoard (N. Chron. 2001, p. 266, coin 144), and another, possibly from the same reverse die, is shown below. The relatively heavy weight of the Bendall coin (1.9g - the coin here is somewhat undersized) and the fine style suggests that this is an early type of Andronicus II, very likely a variant of S.2371, but it could possibly be an issue of Michael VIII (cf. S.2305).

S.2371a - Variety of S.2371? (1.4g).

8. Variant of LPC 80:23 of Andronicus II and Michael IX.

This type is the same as LPC 80:23 (= PCPC 234, not in Sear) except that the obverse has a patriarchal cross instead of an ordinary cross, and there are no stars above. It is more than just an accidental variety since we have several examples from different dies, e.g, Berk's lots BBS116-706 and 134-577. Since this type appeared in Bendall's 2000 hoard of mainly Thessalonican issues it is presumably, like LPC 80:23, an issue of Thessalonica rather than Constantinople.

Variant of LPC 80:23 (0.77g).

9. Trachy of Andronicus II? similar to S.2357A.

The coin shown below, with the Virgin orans on the obverse and a ruler (in loros) and military saint on the reverse, is similar to the rare (unique?) trachy S.2357A of Andronicus II found by Dochev at Turnovo (Dochev 1992, Pl. 17, 2; DOC V, Table 18A, 30). However, on the Dochev coin the emperor holds a sceptre cruciger in his right hand and is crowned by the saint, whereas here the emperor has his hand on his chest, and the two figures seem to be holding something betwen them. (This coin is also generally similar to the Latin Type N, but there the ruler wears a chlamys, and the style and legends are clearly different).

This coin was one of a series of Palaeologan coins offered on the market in mid 2009 (mostly Constantinople types, predominantly assaria of Andronicus II and Michael IX, and of Andronicus III*), and the legend down the left hand side of the reverse seems to read "A/N/.../OC/...", so it is presumably an issue of Andronicus II at Constantininople.

Or it could possibly be an issue of Andronicus III - apart from the clearly anomolous type S.2477, all single ruler types from Constantinople with the name Andronicus are assigned to Andronicus II, but there is in fact no conclusive reason why some of these could not be issues of Andronicus III.

Trachy of Andronicus II? similar to S.2357A (1.69 gm).

*  Most of these coins have similar patinas, so that it is tempting to assume that they are from a hoard, but they are being offered with earlier Byzantine types with the same patinas from a wide range of periods, so that it would seem more likely that all the coins are actually from stray losses in a particular location

10.  Trachy of Michael VIII? from Magnesia?

This obscure type shows b. St Demetrius on the obverse, while on the reverse a ruler is seated on a high-backed throne, holding a Lis sceptre in his right hand and what seems to be a cross over an arc in his left, possibly representing a globus cruciger. In the second example the saint apparently holds a patriarchal cross in his right hand, although this may be from an undertype (PCPC 39?) as it doesn't seem to show on other examples. Above the throne right is a small lis, matching the lis sceptre on the left. Note that this is possibly the same type as the coin offered (but not shown) as Lot 132.2 in the Despot sale (LHS Numismatics Sale 97).

The obverse possibly recalls Michael VIII's type S.2302 of Thessalonica, but overall this type is similar to S.2099 of John III Vatatzes, and hence to the Latin Imitative Type V, although it seems to differ from those types in detail. Alternatively, we note some similarity to PCPC 30 (DO 104-5), probably (like PCPC 39) an issue of Michael VIII at Magnesia.

 Trachy of Michael VIII? from Magnesia? (2.47g).

The above coin was offered among a group of coins of Michael VIII from the mint of Constantinople with similar patinas, although on balance I think an assignment to Michael VIII at Magnesia is more likely, or perhaps even to a Nicaean ruler at that mint.

Trachy of Michael VIII? from Magnesia? (1.20g).
 (Overstruck on PCPC 39?).
 (Image courtesy Aegean Numismatics.)

P.S. (Apr. 2015). It seems that this type is in fact listed as S.2313 of Michael VIII. See the example offered by CNG as Lot 633 in eSale 350.

11.  Trachy similar to S.2320 of Michael VIII and Andronicus II.

This coin shows the Virgin half-length on the obverse, with a cross, or perhaps a medallion of Christ, on her breast. The reverse shows two rulers in simple loroi with saltire waistbands holding a patriarchal cross between them, and also jewelled(?) sceptres. This is the second example of this type (from different dies) that I have seen.

Trachy similar to S.2320 of Michael VIII and Andronicus II (2.47 g).
 (Image courtesy Herakles Numismatics.)

This coin was offered as an issue of Michael VIII among a small group of similar looking coins ranging from Manuel Comnenus-Ducas to Andronicus III, so there are a number of possibilities for the identities of the two rulers. The general style and the relatively heavy weight (2.47 gm) suggest an issue of Michael VIII and Andronicus II, with the saltire waist -bands perhaps more consistent with the time of Michael VIII than Andronicus II (the rounded beards are not necessarily inconsistent with a later issue of Michael VIII).

This type is now listed as CLBC 16.3.

12.  Unlisted Trachy of Andronicus II.

Below is an example of what seems to be an unlisted trachy of Andronicus II, and I have (now) seen three other examples of this type from different dies.
The obverse is B. Christ bearded, with "A" to right and left; the reverse shows the emperor standing in loros & divitision, holding a full labarum and an ordinary or patriarchal globus cruciger.
The legend is clearly "AndronikocDecpot", but the style is perhaps more that of Michael VIII than Andronicus. The mint might seem to be Constantinople, but recent finds suggest a different source, perhaps in Thrace or Asia Minor.
At first sight the obverse recalls S.2277 of Michael VIII, but the style is quite different, and in fact the portrait of Christ matches some examples of S.2261 of Michael VIII.

Trachy of Andronicus II (1.8 g).
 (Image courtesy Savoca Coins.)

N.B: See also Coin 6 above.

©Ross Glanfield

Oct. 2005

Lastest modifications:

    26 June '09: Coin 9 of Andronicus II at Constantinople added.  
    11 Nov. '09: Coin 10 of Michael VIII? added.   
    18 Apr. '10: Attribution of Coin 6 modified.   
    25 Aug. '10: New example of Coin 3 noted.  
    14 Feb. '11: Coin 11 of Michael VIII & Andronicus II? added. 
    20 July. '12:  Attribution of Coin 5 revised. 
    19 Feb. '13: Second example of Coin 10 added.  
    23 Apr. '15: Attribution of Coin 10 changed. 
    11 Nov. '15: Coin 12 of Andronicus II added.  
    24 Dec. '15: Details of Coin 12 revised.   
      9 Mar. '16: Coin 6 = Coin 12? 


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