|279, Lot: 645. Estimate $100.
Sold for $65. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
527-565. Æ Follis (40mm, 21.64 g, 7h). Constantinople mint, 5th officina. Dated RY 12 (AD 538/9). Helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, holding globus cruciger and shield; cross to right / Large M; cross above, date across field; Є//CON. DOC 37e; MIBE 95a; SB 163. VF, earthen brown patina.
The second great reform of Byzantine coinage (after that of Anastasius) occurred in 538, when Justinian’s Count of the Sacred Largess, Peter Barsymas, extended the provisions of a law of 537 which required imperial regnal dating on all government documents, with bronze coins being regarded as documents. Gold solidi must have been covered under different regulations. The portrait of the bronze follis was changed to a facing imperial bust in military garb, and a regnal date, starting with year 12, was added to the reverse. These new folles were of an almost medallic nature; the weight was increased to 22 grams and the diameter up to 45mm, creating one of the broadest coins to circulate in antiquity. An impressive expression of imperial will, but inconvenient for everyday use, the size was reduced starting in year 14, and by RY 16 the large flan issues had disappeared.