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Research Coins: Feature Auction


The Rebel Andronicus IV

Triton XXI, Lot: 898. Estimate $2500.
Sold for $5000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Andronicus IV Palaeologus. Usurper, 1376-1379. AR Basilikon(?) (12mm, 0.57 g, 6h). Constantinople mint. Christ enthroned facing; [I]C-XC across upper field / ANΔPON[I]-KOC ЄΛ', Andronicus standing facing, holding patriarchal cross in right hand. DOC –; PCPC 325; LPC p. 152, 2; SB 2545. Good VF, deeply toned. An attractive example of this extremely rare type.

From the Iconodule Collection.

The tension between John V Palaeologus and his eldest son and heir, Andronicus IV, led the latter to openly rebel. In 1373, Andronicus allied himself with the Ottoman prince Savci Bey, who was leading a revolt against his own father, emperor Murad I. A battle ensued between the joint forces of Andronicus and Savci Bey and those of John and Murad, with the rightful emperors emerging victorious. Savci Bey was subsequently executed while Andronicus was shown greater mercy; he was imprisoned and sentenced to be blinded, but apparently lost vision in only one eye.

With Genoese support, Andronicus escaped from prison in the summer of 1376 and formed an alliance with his old enemy Murad I. Andronicus soon took Constantinople and was crowned emperor, but John V was able to reclaim the throne in 1379 (with the assistance, once again, of Murad). Remarkably, John reinstated Andronicus as heir and co-regent in 1381, but his traitorous son rebelled again in 1385 and died shortly thereafter.