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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 61, Lot: 2182. Estimate $3000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 25 September 2002. 
Sold For $4750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PAPAL-BYZANTINE ROME. CONSTANTINE IV (668-685) and POPE ST. VITALIAN (657-672). AR 1/8 Siliqua (0.26 gm). Struck circa 668-672. Crowned and beardless facing bust, wearing chlamys and holding globus cruciger / Elongated monogram of Pope Vitalian. M.D. O’Hara and I. Vecchi, “A Find of Byzantine Silver from the Mint of Rome for the Period AD 641-752,” SNR 64 (1985), 15; SB 1233A; Berman 8 (Pope Stephen III or IV). EF, flan chip, some weakness in obverse. Extremely rare. ($3000)

Ex Leu-NAC Auction, (May 1993), lot 585.

This class was unknown before 1985 and is of considerable interest. It was during the pontificate of Vitalian that the first visit by an Emperor to Rome in over three hundred years, by Constans II in 663, ended in a public relations disaster. Constans II’s campaigns against the Lombards invariably meant the ruthless extortion of his Italian subjects, added to which the infamous despoiling of the gilded roof of the Pantheon gave him a reputation almost as bad as Gaiseric.