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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 61, Lot: 2197. Estimate $1000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 25 September 2002. 
Sold For $3500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

VISIGOTHIC KINGDOM OF SPAIN. ERVIG. 680-687 AD. AV Tremissis (1.43 gm). Emerita mint. +ID IN M N ERVIGIVS RX, facing bust of Christ with cross behind head / +EMERITA PIVS, cross potent of three steps. Miles 415a; MEC 267; Heiss 5; Chaves 317. VF, slightly ragged edge. Rare. Unusual stylistic variant. ($1000)

Ex Classical Numismatic Group Auction 55 (13 September 2000), lot 1501.

This exceptional type which is clearly the facing head of Christ precedes the introduction of the celebrated bust of Christ types of Justinian II from about 692 (cf. MIB III, 8-9). Both issues reflect the theological polemic of the time, how and if to represent Christ in art. Iconoclasm in the Byzantine east seems to have been provoked by the condemnation of Monothelitism by the 6th Ecumenical Council of 680 at Constantinople.

The Visigoths at first served the empire with reasonable fidelity. It was not until the reign of Suinthila (621-631) that the final expulsion of the imperial prefecture, set up in Athanagild's time in southern Spain, was effected. The fourth council of Toledo, presided over by St. Isidor during reign of Sisenand (631-636), completed the subjection of the now decadent monarchy and passed government to ecclesiastical authority.