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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 61, Lot: 2177. Estimate $500. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 25 September 2002. 
Sold For $550. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

LEO III and CONSTANTINE V. 720-741. AV Tremissis (1.24 gm). Rome mint. dNLEO-PAMYL, crowned facing bust of Leo III, holding globus cruciger and akakia / DNOCONS-TANTIN, crowned facing young bust of Constantine V, holding cross potent; in field, star and G. DOC III 80; BMC 49; SB 1534. Well centered, VF. ($500)

Leo III, founder of the Isaurian dynasty, became emperor in 717 and soon became unpopular in Italy by increasing taxes in Sicily and Calabria and initiating the Iconoclast Controversy, considered anathema in Italy. The origins of Leo's Iconoclasm are obscure; it had the support of high clerics in Asia Minor and had the effect of splitting the empire and destroying many irreplaceable works of art. As he referred to biblical prohibitions against images, hostile charges that he was influenced directly by Muslim or Jewish views seem to be unfounded.