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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
10300953

Rare Early Trebizond Issue

CNG 103, Lot: 953. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $1200. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Andronicus I Gidon. Emperor of Trebizond, 1222-1235. AR Aspron Trachy (25mm, 3.06 g, 6h). The Virgin Mary standing right, placing right hand on chest, left hand raised in benediction; six-pointed star to left / Christ Chalkites standing facing, right hand raised in benediction, holding Gospels in left . S. Bendall, “A further note on a possible early coinage of the Empire of Trebizond,” NumCirc CXIV.4 (August 2006), 1; S. Bendall, “An early coinage of the ‘Empire’ of Trebizond?,” NumCirc CX.3 (June 2002), 1 = DOC IV p. 537, 1 = SB 2148 (ornament on Virgin’s maphorion, no star in obv. field). EF, toned, graffito (“X”) on reverse. Rare.


This coin belongs to a rare issue that has been attributed to Nicaea in the past, but Simon Bendall's analyses of these coins reveal that they are more likely early issues of Trebizond under Andronicus Gidon. It could possibly be his second issue after a seemingly unique copper trachy with his name followed by “Comnenus,” a family from which he did not hail. The extreme rarity of that issue may indicate that his fallacious association with the Comneni was not well received.

The icon of Christ Chalkites was kept in vestibule of the imperial palace at Constantinople and was closely associated with the emperor. Its appearance here may reflect hopes of a reunited Byzantine Empire.