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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 1117. Estimate $2000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $4000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

IRENE. 797-802 AD. AV Solidus (4.42 gm). Constantinople mint. EIRINH bASILISSH, facing bust of Irene, wearing crown and loros, holding globus cruciger and cruciform sceptre / •EIRINH bASILISSH Q, bust of Irene, as on obverse. DOC III 1a.2; BN AV/01ff; SB 1599. Good VF, weak strike across part of coin. [See color enlargement on plate 20] ($2000)

From the Christopher Connell Collection.

The powerful personality of Irene had always overshadowed that of her son Constantine, and only an army mutiny had prevented her from taking power in 790 AD. After a short period in exile, she returned to Constantinople, and began working at eliminating her enemies. By 797 AD she had discredited her son to the point that she could have him deposed, blinded and murdered with little outcry. Irene too, was deposed in 802 AD after attempting to arrange a marriage between herself and Charlemagne.