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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 61, Lot: 2236. Estimate $1500. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 25 September 2002. 
Sold For $2500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

HERACLIUS. 610-641 AD. AV Light Weight Solidus of 23 Siliquae (4.29 gm). Struck 610-613 AD. Thessalonica mint? d N hERACLI US P P AVI (blundered legends), helmeted facing bust holding cross / VICTORIA AVCC, cross potent on three steps; IE/C+N+B. Cf. Adelson NNM 138, 180-183 (Tiberius II and Maurice Tiberius); E. Leuthold, "Solidi leggieri da XXIII silique degli imperatori Maurizio Tiberio, Foca ed Eraclio," RIN LXII (1960), -; DOC II -; MIB III 81.3 (dies in exact same style, but no crosses); cf. Wroth pg. 155, 276 (Maurice, attributed to Ravenna); Berk -; Hahn & Metcalf -; SB 822 var. (no crosses in exergue). Good VF, a couple scratches on reverse. Extremely rare and apparently unpublished. ($1500)

Adelson lists a mere four specimens for other rulers, bearing this same mint mark. Three from Tiberius II Constantine display the cross potent, but the issue for Maurice bears the Victory motif. The former are all unphotographed specimens cited in the 19th Century, and the latter is included in Wroth's BMC Byzantine. Adelson states that this coinage is "...[an] authentic Byzantine issue of Western origins." The statement that these are not typical lightweight solidii is included. He duplicates Wroth's attribution of Ravenna, which is carried over into Hahn's MIB for the C+N+B issue of Tiberius II. [New Paragraph] Despite this, the coin depicted as MIB III 81.3 looks very nearly like a die match, such that the same celator must have engraved the dies for the above specimen. Apparently the dies used are normal solidus dies which were subsequently altered. If Hahn's attribution of 81.3 to Thessalonica is correct, then this coin must be from Thessalonica, and perhaps even the entire C+N+B coinage. Perhaps the series is a little understood variety of light weight coinage, and the specimen of Heraclius is most likely the latest example of the coinage. It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of the above coin.