Fifth Known Half Miliaresion
|Sale: Triton X, Lot: 838. Estimate $5000.
Closing Date: Monday, 8 January 2007.
Sold For $5000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
641-668. AR Half Miliaresion or Siliqua (2.02 g, 6h). Constantinople mint. Struck 652-654. d N CONSTAN TIN[US PP AV], full-length figure of Constans, crowned and wearing chlamys, standing facing, holding globus cruciger in right hand / Cross potent on three steps; palm fronds flanking. S. Bendall. "A New Silver Ceremonial Coin of Constans II," NumCirc
CXIII.5 (October 2005), p. 306; Triton IX, 1634; Hauck & Aufhäuser 19, 490 and 491 (the latter = Rauch 79, 2619); otherwise unpublished. Good VF, toned, area of flat strike, slightly clashed dies. Extremely rare. Only the third known example.
By the seventh century the silver miliaresion (miliarense) introduced during the reign of Constantine I had virtually vanished from the scene. Its occasional appearance as a donative has led to its being described as a "ceremonial" issue, struck for coronations and other imperial celebrations, although these may not have been the sole occasions for the striking of miliaresia. Even rarer are the fractional issues; only a scattering of surviving types have been found for Phocas and Heraclius, some known only by a unique specimen. This half miliaresion of Constans, unknown until 2005, joins that limited population. The obverse type has only one parallel, in the follis of Constans dated Indictional year 11 (652/3 AD), struck at Syracuse (SB 1108), and is probably contemporary with the miliaresion issue (SB 986) with facing bust. It is uncertain if there is a specific event to be tied to these issues, and they may have simply been distributed to worthy members of the imperial court and important guests. Curiously, this standing figure seems to provide the closest design prototype for a unique miliaresion of Justinian II (SB 1257A) and the subsequent standing caliph type introduced by the Umayyad ruler al Malik at the end of the century. It should also be noted that while there is documentary evidence for the denomination "miliaresion" as used for a silver coin, the name given its fractional counterpart, the "siliqua," is a later term of convenience, not found in contemporary texts.