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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton V, Lot: 2315. Estimate $500. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $475. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ISAAC II, Angelus. 1185-1195 AD. EL Aspron Trachy (4.39 gm). Constantinople mint. MHP QV, Mary enthroned facing, holding the nimbate head of the infant Christ / [ICAAKIO ÐEC], Isaac standing facing, holding cruciform sceptre and akakia, being crowned by Archangel Michael; X/M by Michael. DOC IV 2; BN 1-8; Hendy pl. 20, 7-8; SB 2002. Good VF. ($500)

Obtaining an impression on both sides of the obverse of the Byzantine scyphate coinage was a clumsy process, as this coin clearly illustrates. Notice that on the left hand side the back of the throne is composed of two lines and is curved, while on the right hand side, the back of the throne is illustrated by a single, straight line. This illustrates a peculiar minting technique where the Byzantine mint workers employed the use of two obverse dies to obtain a clear impression on a cup-shaped (scyphate) coin, a detail which was first noticed by Simon Bendall and subsequently published by himself and David Sellwood (viz. "The method of striking scyphate coins using two obverse dies, in the light of an early thirteenth century hoard," NC 138 (1978), pp. 93-104, pls. 25-26). For other examples, see D.M. Metcalf, Classification of Byzantine Stamena in Light of a Hoard Found in Southern Serbia, Situla 9 (Ljubljana, 1967), nos. P28, P51, P141, P143, P167 and 498.