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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Extremely Rare Anastasius II Tremissis
Fourth Known?

CNG 109, Lot: 769. Estimate $1500.
Sold for $11000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Anastasius II Artemius. 713-715. AV Tremissis (16mm, 1.43 g, 1.436h). Constantinople mint. Struck 713. Crowned facing bust, wearing chlamys, holding globus cruciger and akakia / Cross potent; CONOB. DOC 1 = MIB 6 = SB 1466 (“unique”). Good VF, minor flatness in areas. Extremely rare, possibly the fourth known.

From the earliest issue of Anastasius II, which lacks his given name, Artemius. Artemius was protasekretis, or chief of staff of the imperial court at the time of the overthrow of Philippicus on 3 June 713, and appears to have gained the throne solely due to the lack of another viable candidate. He took the throne name of Anastasius upon his coronation the next day. Judging by their extreme rarity, coins with his throne name alone may have been produced for only a few weeks or even days. The Constantinople mint quickly went over to the standard “Artemius Anastasius” legend, although there appears to have been more flexibility in the western mints. Anastasius II proved an energetic ruler during his brief reign, preparing for the looming conflict with Arab armies in Asia Minor, but the still-disaffected Opsikion troops deposed him after less then two years in favor of Theodosius of Adramyttium. Anastasius fled to sanctuary at a monastery in Thessalonica, but in 719 returned to Constantinople at the head of a mercenary army of Bulgars. The fratricidal confrontation between Anastasius and Leo III was ended when the Bulgars betrayed him to Leo, who had him beheaded.

In addition to the Dumbarton Oaks specimen, there are two examples in CoinArchives: Rauch Sommerauktion (2012), lot 1740 (hammer €1800); and Triton IX (2006), lot 1653 (hammer $5000).