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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton V, Lot: 2319. Estimate $1500. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CONSTANTINE XI DRAGASES. 1448-1453 AD. AR 1/8 Stavraton or 1/16 Hyperperon (0.57 gm). Constantinople - Imperial mint. Facing bust of nimbate Christ; • • / [K T I N], facing bust of Constantine. DOC V 1789, pg. 237, tab. 32, j; S. Bendall, "The Coinage of Constantine XI," RN XXXIII (1991), 136 (this coin); SB -. Toned EF. Rare. ($1500)

Ex Spink, NumCirc, vol. XCVIII, no. 9 (November 1990), 6749.

By the time Constantine succeeded his brother John VIII on the throne, the Byzantine Empire consisted of a small parcel of land in Morea and the city of Constantinople. When the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II decided to eliminate what had become a minor nuisance to the Turks, the final result was inevitable. Constantinople was taken by siege, and the last emperor died fighting at the battlements, rejecting the pleas of his courtiers to flee to safety. His heroic and gruesome death (his body was so mutilated that it was only identifiable by his clothing) led to a popular mythology very similar to that surrounding other medieval heros such as Charlemagne; Constantine had never died and would return at some future time to free Greece from her conquerors. The sparse miserable examples of the final coinage of Constantinople were probably struck in the final months of the city's existence as payment to the handful of soldiers and dedicated foreign mercenaries that held the walls to the end against overwhelming odds.