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CNG Feature Auction 126

Lot nuber 942

Zeno and Leo Caesar. AD 476-477. AV Solidus (21.5mm, 4.49 g, 6h). Constantinople mint, 5th officina. Good VF.

CNG Feature Auction 126
Lot: 942.
 Estimated: $ 1 500

The Family of Constantine Collection, Coin-in-Hand Video, Gold

Sold For $ 2 000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

Zeno and Leo Caesar. AD 476-477. AV Solidus (21.5mm, 4.49 g, 6h). Constantinople mint, 5th officina. Pearl-diademed, helmeted, and cuirassed bust facing slightly right, holding spear over shoulder and shield / Victory standing left, holding long jeweled cross; star to right; Є//CONOB. RIC X 906; Depeyrot 107/1; Biaggi –. Lightly toned, metal flaws and lamination errors, minor deposits. Good VF. Very rare.

From the Family of Constantine Collection, assembled with guidance by Roland Michel, Geneva. Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 24 (5 December 2002), lot 367; William Herbert Hunt Collection (Sotheby’s New York, 5 December 1990), lot 35.

This issue has long puzzled scholars and catalogers due to the wording of the obverse legend, D N ZENO ET L EO NOV CAES. The issue was previously thought to be a reference to two separate caesars under the usurper Basiliscus belonging to the period of his reign from 475-476 (cf. J. P. C. Kent, "Zeno and Leo, the Most Noble Caesars" in (NC 1959, pp. 93-98 and pl. VIII)). However, current scholarship has determined that the coin does in fact belong to the early period of Zeno’s second reign and that the Leo Caesar it references refers to Basiliscus, the son of the turncoat general Armatus, renamed to the more acceptable Leo. When Armatus betrayed the usurper emperor Basiliscus and aided the rightful deposed ruler Zeno in his return to power, he made Zeno promise to name his son as caesar. While this promise was briefly honored, once Zeno was securely restored, he disposed of his associate, the junior Basiliscus/Leo, and executed Armatus.

The final winners of all CNG Feature Auction 126 lots will be determined during the live online sale that will be held on 28-29 May 2024. This lot is in Session Three, which will begin 29 May at 9 AM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 22.5% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 25% for all others.

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