NICEPHORUS I, with Stauracius.
|Sale: Triton IX, Lot: 1660. Estimate $2500.
Closing Date: Monday, 9 January 2006.
Sold For $3250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
802-811 AD. AV Semissis (1.74 g, 6h). Syracuse mint. Struck 803-811 AD. NICI FOROS b', crowned facing bust of Nicephorus, holding globus cruciger and akakia / S CIS dESP', crowned facing bust of Stauracius, holding cross potent globus and akakia. DOC III 7; Spahr 346-348; SB 1609. EF, lustrous, struck on an irregular flan. Rare. ($2500)
The portraits are larger and more angular than the typical Syracusan gold of Nicephorus, as illustrated by the Spahr specimens, and the legends show greater deterioration from the norm. Although it is difficult to argue for progressive reduction in quality over such a brief reign, this might represent a very late issue, perhaps struck circa 810 AD, when Nicephorus was unsuccessfully striving to oppose Pepin's advance into northern Italy. The emperor Charlemagne's proposed marriage to Irene had been thwarted by her overthrow, but Frankish forces still expanded the empire's domain at Constantinople's expense.