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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Second Known Theodore Hyperpyron

Triton XXI, Lot: 895. Estimate $5000.
Sold for $37500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Theodore I Comnenus-Lascaris. Emperor of Nicaea, 1208-1222. AV Hyperpyron (32mm, 4.39 g, 6h). Uncertain (Nicaea or Magnesia) mint. K[Є RO-]HΘ-ЄI, facing beardless bust of Christ Pantokrator; IC-XC across field / [...]Π T ΘЄOΔωPO[C], Theodore, wearing crown and loros and holding labarum, and St. Theodore, in military outfit and holding spear, standing facing, holding patriarchal cross between them. I. Jordanov, “Mise au jour d’un monnayage hyperpere byzantin de la premiere moitie du XIIIe s.” in Études Balkaniques 4 (1989), Fig. 1 (erroneously illustrated on p. 110; same dies); otherwise unpublished. Superb EF. Extremely rare, the second known.

The first hyperpyron attributed to Theodore was published by Jordanov in 1989 (see reference above). Now, nearly 30 years later, a second example, sharing the same dies, has come to light. Both coins depict the emperor with a forked beard, and the only emperors in this period with a forked beard are Andronicus I, Theodore I, John III, and Michael VIII. The military saint on the reverse is St. Theodore, identified likewise by his forked beard as well as the legend. He is the patron saint of Theodore I, and the form of this reverse is exactly the same as that of the first type of billon trachea of Theodore I (DOC IV, pl. XXVII, 5) which has the seated Virgin as the obverse. The bust of Christ on the present coin might indicate the superior denomination.

We would like to thank Simon Bendall for assistance in the attribution of this coin.