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Gold Coin of Nikephoros I

Gold Coin of Nikephoros I

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Nikephoros III Botaneiates

Nikephoros III Botaneiates, Latinized as Nicephorus III Botaniates (Greek: Νικηφόρος Βοτανειάτης , 1002 – 1081), was Byzantine emperor from 7 January 1078 to 1 April 1081. He was born in 1002, and became a general during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos, serving in the Pecheneg revolt of 1048–1053. His actions in guiding his forces away from the Pechenegs following the Battle of Zygos Pass, in which they suffered eleven days of harassment before finally reaching the Byzantine city of Adrianople, attracted the attention of fellow officers, and he received the title of magistros as a reward. Nikephoros served in the revolt of Isaac I Komnenos against the Byzantine Emperor Michael VI Bringas, leading forces at the decisive Battle of Petroe. Under Emperor Constantine X Doukas he was made doux of Thessalonica, where he remained until c. 1065, when he was reassigned as doux of Antioch. While doux of Antioch, he repelled numerous incursions from the Emirate of Aleppo. When Constantine X died in 1067, his wife, Empress Eudokia Makrembolitissa, considered taking Nikephoros as husband and emperor, but instead chose Romanos IV Diogenes. The need for an immediate successor was made pressing by the constant Seljuk raids into Byzantine Anatolia, and Eudokia, Patriarch John VIII of Constantinople, and the Byzantine Senate agreed that their top priority was the defense of the empire and that they needed an emperor to lead troops to repel the Turks. Nikephoros was the favorite candidate of the senate, but was in the field leading troops in Antioch and was still married. Romanos, once chosen to be emperor, exiled Nikephoros to his holdings in the Anatolic Theme, where he remained until he was brought out of retirement by Emperor Michael VII and made kouropalates and governor of the Anatolic Theme.

Nikephoros came into conflict with Michael in 1078 when he pleaded with the emperor to address the worsening situation in Byzantine Anatolia, insulting Michael with his frankness. In order to protect himself, Nikephoros gathered an army of native troops and Turkish mercenaries and declared himself emperor on 7 January 1078. [1] Nikephoros gathered a strong support base due to his military acumen and family renown and was crowned at Nicaea on 24 March, [2] after which he entered Constantinople and seize the throne. As emperor, Nikephoros faced numerous revolts, including those of Nikephoros Bryennios, Nikephoros Basilakes, and Constantine Doukas, as well as an attempted assassination by the Varangian Guard. Nikephoros embraced the trappings of emperor, performing many acts to increase his legitimacy and support, such as spending large amounts on donatives for the army and his supporters, forgiving all debt in arrears, and instituting minor legal reforms. Diplomatically, Nikephoros secured the submission of Theodore Gabras and Philaretos Brachamios, governors of Trebizond and Antioch, respectively, who had become de facto independent of the Byzantine Empire due to the constant incursions of the Seljuks into Byzantine Anatolia.

In 1081, the Norman Duke Robert Guiscard of Apulia prepared to invade the Byzantine Empire under the pretext of defending the succession of Constantine Doukas, who had been engaged to Robert's daughter Helena. Alexios I Komnenos was entrusted with an army and sent to defeat the Norman threat, but instead conspired with his relative John Doukas to seize the throne. Alexios raised a rebellion against Nikephoros and was able to quickly encircle Constantinople and besiege it, due to the lack of a defensive army. Nikephoros was unable to secure the support of either the Seljuk Turks or Nikephoros Melissenos, his traditional rivals, and therefore was forced to prepare for abdication. Nikephoros decided that his only choice was to abdicate in favor of Melissenos, who was nearby in Damalis in Anatolia, and sent messengers to him across the Bosphorus however, these messengers were intercepted by George Palaiologos, a general of Alexios, who persuaded them to support Alexios. Alexios and his forces broke through the walls of Constantinople on 1 April 1081 and sacked the city. [3] Nikephoros fled and sought sanctuary inside of the Hagia Sophia. Nikephoros was taken from there to the Monastery of Peribleptus, where he abdicated and became a monk.

Byzantine Military

The raw power of money is underrated in history. Money buys not only political influence, it buys the military power to defend yourself and enforce your will on others. Roman gold coins represented that power for thousands of years.

Money used in the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the West consisted of mainly two types of coins : the gold solidus and a variety of clearly valued bronze coins. By the end of the empire the currency was issued only in silver stavrata and minor copper coins with no gold issue.

The start of what is viewed as Byzantine currency by numismatics began with the monetary reform of Anastasius in 498, who reformed the late Roman Empire coinage system which consisted of the gold solidus and the bronze nummi .

The only regularly issued silver coin was the Hexagram first issued by Heraclius in 615 which lasted until the end of the 7th century . It was succeeded by the initially ceremonial miliaresion established by Leo III the Isaurian in ca. 720, which became standard issue from ca. 830 on and until the late 11th century, when it was discontinued after being severely debased.

The gold solidus or nomisma remained a standard of international commerce until the 11th century , when it began to be debased under successive emperors beginning in the 1030s under the Emperor Romanos Argyros (1028�).

The Byzantine solidus was valued in Western Europe, where it became known as the bezant , a corruption of Byzantium .

Aelia Eudoxia, wife of Arcadius No.: 617 Light miliarense, Constantinople 400-404, AR 4.46 g. AEL EUDO – XIA AVG Diademed and draped bust r., wearing earring and necklace crowned above by the Hand of God. Rev. The Empress seated on throne facing, wearing diadem (?) and mantle, crowned above by the Hand of God at sides, two crosses.
. The rarest fifth century silver was struck for empresses. For Aelia Eudoxia , wife of Arcadius (Byzantine Emperor 395-408), a light miliarense shows the elaborate helmet-like hairdo favored by imperial ladies of this era. On the reverse she sits enthroned, flanked by plain crosses, while the “hand of God” reaches down to crown her. Aelia Eudocia (the similar names are an endless source of confusion), wife of Theodosius II , appears similarly coiffed on a rare silver siliqua of Constantinople, but the reverse is simply a cross in a wreath.

Gold Medallion of Constantine I
Multiple solidus struck at Sirmium in 324.
More than 10 years after his victory under the sign of the cross, the
emperor is shown wearing the radiate crown, a reflection of his
continued devotion to the Sun God, Apollo.

The Economy of the Eastern Roman Empire

The Roman Empire effectively created one large free trade zone. Under the protection of a central military goods could be produced and shipped from Africa to the Balkans and from Mesopotamia to Italy. A universally accepted imperial currency of gold, silver and copper coins helped stimulate trade.

Constantinople was a prime hub in a trading network that at various times extended across nearly all of Eurasia and North Africa. Some scholars argue that, up until the arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century, the Eastern Roman Empire had the most powerful economy in the world.

Copper follis of Emperor
Anastastius I (491-518)

The state exercised formal control over interest rates, and set the parameters for the activity of the guilds and corporations in Constantinople, in which the state has a special interest (e.g. the sale of silk ) or whose members exercised a profession that was of importance for trade. The emperor and his officials intervened at times of crisis to ensure the provisioning of the capital and to keep down the price of cereals .

Silk was used by the state both as a means of payment, and of diplomacy. Raw silk was bought from China and made up into fine brocades and cloth-of-gold that commanded high prices through the world. Later, silk worms were smuggled into the empire and the overland silk trade became less important. After Justinian I the manufacturing and sale of silk had become an imperial monopoly, only processed in imperial factories, and sold to authorized buyers.

Other commodities that were traded, in Constantinople and elsewhere, were numerous: oil, wine, salt, fish, meat, vegetables, other alimentary products, timber and wax. Ceramics, linen, and wooven cloth were also items of trade. Luxury items, such as silks, perfumes and spices were also important.

Trade in slaves is attested, both on behalf of the state, and, possibly, by private individuals. International trade was practiced not only in Constantinople, which was until the late twelfth century an important center of the eastern luxury trade, but also in other cities that functioned as centers of inter-regional and international trade, such as Thessaloniki and Trebizond .

Follis of a new type, minted in large quantities in celebration of Emperor Theophilos' victories against the Arabs from ca. 835 on. On the obverse he is represented in triumphal attire, wearing the toupha , and on the reverse the traditional acclamation "Theophilos Augustus , you conquer" .

Byzantine Coinage

The wealth of the Byzantine emperor was equalled only by the kings of Sasanian Persia and the caliphs of Baghdad.

A vivid description of the Byzantine court's sense of superiority toward the "barbarian" West has been preserved by Liutprand of Cremona, the ambassador of Emperor Otto II to Constantinople in 950, who quotes a high court official's arrogant comments:

Coin with Head of Alexander

Silver coin of Alexander the Great, minted in Lampsakos (Lapseki), Turkey
MINTED 305&ndash281 BC

Just over 2,000 years ago there were, in Europe and Asia, great empires whose legacies are still strongly felt in the world today &ndash the Roman Empire in the West, the empire of Ashoka in India and the Han Dynasty in China. I want to examine how power in such empires is constructed and projected. Military might is just the beginning &ndash it&rsquos the easy part. How does a ruler stamp his authority on the very minds of his subjects? In this area images are generally more effective than words, and the most effective of all images are those we see so often that we hardly notice them: coins. So the ambitious ruler shapes the currency: the message is on the money, and that message can live on long after the ruler is dead. Although this silver coin shows the image of Alexander the Great, it was struck at least forty years after his death, on the orders of one of his successors, Lysimachus.

The coin is about 3 centimetres (just over an inch) in diameter, slightly larger than a 2p piece. It bears the profile of a young man, with straight nose and strong jaw line, showing Classical good looks and strength. He&rsquos gazing keenly into the distance the tilt of the head is commanding, suggestive of vigorous forward movement. It is an image of a dead leader, but one clearly intended to carry a political message of power and authority now.

You find exactly the same phenomenon in modern China, where the red currency notes carry the portrait of Chairman Mao. It could seem strange that the very lifeblood of what is now a spectacularly successful capitalist economy, its money, carries on it the portrait of a dead Communist revolutionary. Yet the reason is clear. Mao reminds the Chinese people of the heroic achievements of the Communist Party, which is still in power. He stands for the recovery of Chinese unity at home and prestige abroad, and every Chinese government wants to be seen as the inheritor of his authority. This appropriation of the past, this kind of exploitation of a dead leader&rsquos image, is nothing new. It has been around for thousands of years, and what&rsquos happening today to Mao on the Chinese currency was happening more than 2,000 years ago to Alexander.

Minted around 300 BC, this is one of the earliest coins to carry the image of a leader. Alexander the Great, whose head is represented on the coin, was the most glamorized military ruler of his age &ndash possibly of all time. We&rsquove got no way of knowing whether this is an accurate likeness of Alexander, but it must be him, because as well as human hair this man has ram&rsquos horns. It is the horn symbol, well known throughout the ancient world, that leaves the viewer in no doubt that we are looking at an image of Alexander. The horns are associated with the god Zeus-Ammon &ndash a hybrid of the two leading Greek and Egyptian gods, Zeus and Ammon. So this small coin is making two big statements &ndash it asserts Alexander&rsquos dominion over both Greeks and Egyptians, and it suggests that, in some sense, he is both man and god.

The reverse of the coin shows Athena Nikephoros, and Greek letters spell &lsquoof King Lysimachus&rsquo

Alexander the man was the son of Philip II of Macedon, a small kingdom a few hundred miles north of Athens. Philip expected great things of his son, and he employed the great philosopher Aristotle as his tutor. Alexander came to the throne in 336 BC at the age of 20, with an almost limitless sense of self-belief. His stated goal was to reach the &lsquoends of the world and the Great Outer sea&rsquo, and to do this he embarked on a series of wars, first crushing rebellions by Athens and the other Greek cities, then turning east to confront the long-standing enemy of the Greeks &ndash Persia. Persia controlled at that point the greatest empire on earth, sprawling from Egypt across the Middle East and central Asia to India and almost to China. The young Alexander campaigned brilliantly for a total of ten years, until he defeated the whole of the Persian Empire. He was clearly a driven man. What drove him on? We asked the leading expert on Alexander, Robin Lane Fox:

Alexander was driven by the heroic ideals that befitted a Macedonian king, ruling over Macedonians, the ideals of personal glory, prowess he was driven by a wish to reach the edge of the world, he was driven by a wish to excel for ever his father, Philip, who was a man of significance but who pales almost to a shadow beside Alexander&rsquos global reputation.

Alexander&rsquos victories didn&rsquot just depend on his armies. They required money &ndash and lots of it. Luckily, Philip had conquered the rich gold and silver mines of Thrace, the area that straddles the modern borders of Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. That precious metal financed the early campaigns, but this inheritance was later swelled by the colossal wealth Alexander captured in Persia. His imperial conquests were bankrolled by nearly five million kilos of Persian gold.

With irresistible force, huge wealth and enormous charisma, it&rsquos no wonder that Alexander became a legend, seeming to be more than mortal, literally superhuman. In one of his early campaigns into Egypt, he visited the oracle of the god Ammon, which named him not just the rightful pharaoh, but a god. He left the oracle with the title &lsquoson of Zeus-Ammon&rsquo, which explains the characteristic ram&rsquos horns in images of him like the one on our coin. He was received by many of the conquered peoples as though he were a living god, but it&rsquos not altogether clear whether he actually believed himself to be one. Robin Lane Fox suggests he saw himself more as the son of god:

He certainly believed he was the son of Zeus, [that] in some sense, Zeus had entered into his begetting, a story possibly told to him by his mother Olympias herself, though he is, in earthly terms, the son of the great king Philip. He is honoured as a god, spontaneously, by some of the cities in his empire, and he is not displeased to receive honours equal to the gods. But he knows he&rsquos mortal.

Alexander conquered an empire of more than two million square miles and founded many cities in his name, the most famous being Alexandria in Egypt. Although nearly every large museum in Europe has an image of Alexander in its collection, they are not consistent and there&rsquos no way of knowing whether he looked like any of them. It was only after Alexander&rsquos death in 323 BC that an agreed, idealized image, constructed for public consumption, came into being &ndash and that&rsquos the image found on our coin. The reverse of the coin reveals that this is not Alexander&rsquos coin at all &ndash he&rsquos making a posthumous guest appearance in somebody else&rsquos political drama.

The other side of the coin shows the goddess Athena Nikephoros, bringer of victory, carrying her spear and shield. She is the divine patroness of Greeks and a goddess of war. But it&rsquos not Alexander that she&rsquos favouring, because the Greek letters beside her tell us that this is the coin of King Lysimachus. Lysimachus had been one of Alexander&rsquos generals and companions. He ruled Thrace from Alexander&rsquos death until his own death in 281 BC. Lysimachus didn&rsquot mint a coin that showed himself. He decided instead to appropriate the glory and the authority of his predecessor. This is image manipulation &ndash almost identity theft &ndash on a heroic scale.

Alexander died in his early thirties, and his empire quickly disintegrated into a confusion of shifting territories under competing warlords &ndash Lysimachus was just one of them. All of the warlords claimed that they were the true heirs of Alexander, and many of them minted coins with his image on them to prove it. This was a struggle fought out not just on the battlefield but on the currency. It&rsquos a textbook early example of a timeless political ploy: harnessing the authority and the glamour of a great leader of the past to boost yourself in the present.

Dead reputations are usually more stable and more manageable than living ones. Since the Second World War, for example, Churchill and de Gaulle have been claimed by British and French political leaders of all hues when it suited the day&rsquos agenda. But in democratic societies, this is a high-risk strategy, as the political commentator and broadcaster Andrew Marr points out:

The more democratic a culture is, the harder it is to appropriate a previous leader. It&rsquos very interesting at the moment to see the revival of Stalin as an admired figure in Putin&rsquos Russia, having been knocked down as a bloodthirsty tyrant before. So the possibility of taking a figure from the past is always open, but the more conversational, the more confrontational, more democratic, the more argumentative a political culture is, the harder it is. You can see this in the case of Churchill, because there are still lots and lots of people who know a great deal about what Churchill thought and said. Any mainstream party which tried to say &lsquowe are the party of Churchill&rsquo would get into trouble because Churchill changed his mind so much that he can be quoted against you as often as he can be quoted in favour of you.

Dead rulers are still very present, and they&rsquore still on the currency. A thoughtful alien handling the banknotes of China and the United States today might well assume that one was ruled by Mao and the other by George Washington. And, in a sense, that&rsquos exactly what the Chinese and American leaders want us all to think. Political giants like these lend an aura of stability, legitimacy and above all unquestionable authority to modern regimes struggling with huge problems. Lysimachus&rsquos gambit still sets the pace for the world&rsquos superpowers.

And it worked for Lysimachus himself &ndash up to a point. He&rsquos a mere historical footnote in comparison to Alexander he didn&rsquot get an empire, but he did get a kingdom, and he hung on to it. Twenty years after Alexander&rsquos death, it was clear that his empire would never be reconstituted, and for the next 300 years the Middle East would be ruled by many cultured but competitive Greek-speaking kings and dynasties. The most famous monument of any of these Greek-speaking states, the Rosetta Stone, features in Chapter 33. But my next object comes from India, where the great emperor Ashoka linked himself to a different kind of authority to strengthen his political position &ndash not the authority of a great warrior, but one of the greatest of all religious teachers &ndash the Buddha.

Coin with head of Alexander

  1. Click on the image to zoom in. Copyright Trustees of the British Museum
  2. The reverse of the coin. Click on the image to zoom in. Copyright Trustees of the British Museum
  3. Marble portrait head of Alexander the Great. Copyright Trustees of the British Museum
  4. Map showing where this object was made. Copyright Trustees of the British Museum

This coin was issued by Lysimachus, the former general of Alexander the Great. After Alexander's death, Lysimachus ruled part of Alexander's empire in Bulgaria, northern Greece and Turkey known as 'Thrace'. Lysimachus used Alexander's portrait on his coins to emphasise his position as Alexander's successor. Alexander was worshipped as a god after his death. Here he sports the ram's horns of the god, Zeus Ammon, whom Egyptian priests claimed was Alexander's father. On the reverse of the coin is the goddess Athena.

Who was Alexander the Great?

Alexander was born in the kingdom of Macedon in 356 BC. By the age of 25 he had conquered Greece, Egypt and Persia, creating an empire spanning 2 million square miles. Following his death in 323 BC, Alexander's generals began to squabble over his legacy. Since they could not claim a blood-tie, these generals tried to legitimise their rule through other connections with Alexander. Eventually they divided the empire into three main kingdoms in Macedon, Egypt and Persia and went on to form powerful dynasties.

Lysimachus was a great hunter and it was said that Alexander shut him in a cage with a lion to test his prowess

Heads or tails?

With this startling image of Alexander the Great we are at the beginning of a tradition of portraiture on coins that extends to the modern day. But why does such portraiture begin only around 300 BC, three centuries after the invention of coinage, and why with Alexander the Great?

The clues lie in the portrait itself. Alexander is not portrayed as a man, but as a god. He bears the attribute of Zeus Ammon, an allusion to the claim that he was this god's son. As such, the 'portrait’, in fact fits into a tradition that had existed since the birth of coinage.
The head of a deity was an entirely appropriate subject for depiction on a coin, and thousands of examples exist in the corpus of Greek coinage. So Alexander the 'god', not Alexander the 'man' is the design of Lysimachus' coin. And this fact explains too why it was only now that the head of someone we would regard as a man could appear on a coin. For it is with Alexander the Great that the Greek process of deifying once mortal men begins in earnest. In the case of Alexander this portrayal began only after his death, but within a generation of this living kings would be portrayed on coins, albeit initially with attributes that suggested their deification.

At one level, it strikes the modern eye as odd that the Greeks should have been so reluctant to portray a man on their coins. We are used today, especially those of us who live in monarchies, to seeing the current head of state depicted on our coinage.

Yet the impact of such images, although perhaps muted to those who see such portraits on a daily basis, is still powerful in some cultures. One has only to think of the coinage of one of the world’s largest democracies, to see the taboo in action in the modern world. No living individual is yet portrayed on the circulating coinage of the United States, which uses instead a gallery of dead presidents where other nations acknowledge the living.

With this startling image of Alexander the Great we are at the beginning of a tradition of portraiture on coins that extends to the modern day. But why does such portraiture begin only around 300 BC, three centuries after the invention of coinage, and why with Alexander the Great?

The clues lie in the portrait itself. Alexander is not portrayed as a man, but as a god. He bears the attribute of Zeus Ammon, an allusion to the claim that he was this god's son. As such, the 'portrait’, in fact fits into a tradition that had existed since the birth of coinage.
The head of a deity was an entirely appropriate subject for depiction on a coin, and thousands of examples exist in the corpus of Greek coinage. So Alexander the 'god', not Alexander the 'man' is the design of Lysimachus' coin. And this fact explains too why it was only now that the head of someone we would regard as a man could appear on a coin. For it is with Alexander the Great that the Greek process of deifying once mortal men begins in earnest. In the case of Alexander this portrayal began only after his death, but within a generation of this living kings would be portrayed on coins, albeit initially with attributes that suggested their deification.

At one level, it strikes the modern eye as odd that the Greeks should have been so reluctant to portray a man on their coins. We are used today, especially those of us who live in monarchies, to seeing the current head of state depicted on our coinage.

Yet the impact of such images, although perhaps muted to those who see such portraits on a daily basis, is still powerful in some cultures. One has only to think of the coinage of one of the world’s largest democracies, to see the taboo in action in the modern world. No living individual is yet portrayed on the circulating coinage of the United States, which uses instead a gallery of dead presidents where other nations acknowledge the living.

Andrew Meadows, Deputy Director, American Numismatic Society

Comments are closed for this object


Thank you, Neil McG, for the first 30 objects. your quiet enthusiam for the subjects is inspiring and your explanation and illustration of the (pre)history and meaning of the objects is quite outstanding and has given us a whole raft of understanding of the evolutionary path of mankind and society. My wife, stepdaughter and I visited the BM a couple of weekends ago and our treasure hunt for the first 30 objects gave us a huge new perspective of the BM collections that we had not appreciated on previous visits and the hunt culminated with the most stunning piece of art that I have ever seen, the swimming reindeer. At 14000 years old, even the Mona Lisa has been usurped! I look forward to the next tranche and N McG should be put forward for a knighthood or at least one of the high honours for service to our heritage. Thank you BBC R4 and the BM, Keith Arbuthnot

just like to say what a enjoyable and informative series it has been so far. Very well researched and delivered. A very innovative project for 2010. Look forward to the next instalment. Thanks.

Not until 17 May? I recently went through the first 30 and found all fascinating. I know the wait will be worth it.

Striking, how closely British coin designers followed the figure of Athena Nikephoros (May 17th) on the old penny and the later 50p piece, showing Britannia ruling the waves! The penny showed her with her left arm resting on the shield (now bearing the Union Flag) and her right leaning the trident forward the 50p piece reverted to an older form of this, in which the trident rested against her left shoulder, leaving her right hand free to extend the olive branch of peace. What a pity this age-old design is now (I believe) being discontinued on our coinage, which is becoming as cheap in concept as it is in value!

I agree that it regrettable that we are discontinuing the use of Britannia/Athena. But then we are losing all our heritage slowly or rather giving it away or denying it.

Contrary to Mr Meadows' statement India is the world's largest democracy, not the United States.

Informative . must make a plea for more careful grammar however: e.g. "whom Egyptian priests claimed was Alexander's father." That should be "who" subject of "claimed"

I have a professional qualification in fine art,and I am really interested in the basic content of this series of programmes.In spite of this I find it excruciating to listen to.It is the trite and superficial way that incidental music is used that makes it( once again) unlistenable for me.It is as if V.Ashkenazy never delivered his excellent Reith lecture .
I wonder if it could be that radio programmes are often now made as 'pitches' for TV possibilities,with the result that producers are neither committed nor skilled in sound radio as a medium.
I have hardly ever been moved enough by a dissatisfaction to complain like this,but I find the repetitive,predictable and arbitrary use of music in this series a serious fault for anyone with musical sensibility.
I would be interested to know if anyone else finds the use of music in AHOW (I am am recalling listen with mother now!) as seriously detracting from the interesting content .

PS sorry, that should have been Daniel Barenboim (reith 2006) ,not V.ashkenazy.

Sorry, but I have to disagree with Trev(comment 7). The subject of "claimed" is "Egyptian priests" so "who" is correct.

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Gold Coin Values

Gold coin values for the major types of US coins are listed below. The prices are wholesale values and listed in four different "Condition" categories.

The beauty of Uncirculated gold coins depict why every coin collector desires at least one. All are scarce, most dates are rare and over the years gold coin values trend upwards.

Handle your coins carefully, all have the potential to far exceed the minimum.

Finding the Rare Gold Coins

Collectors and dealers use the following traits to separate the common from the rare.

  • A check of the date.
  • A close inspection for the presence of a mintmark.
  • A slow deliberate evaluation of the condition.
  • And finally they use a reference to identify any rare, little know variety.

All of these variables: date, mintmark, condition and variety are considered carefully to arrive at your true gold coin values. All are covered below.

Values Listed for the Common Dates in Each Series

Prices of gold coins listed below on the value chart are wholesale and listed in four different "Condition" categories. Additionally they represent the most common coins of each denomination and type. These are the minimums of what you would expect to receive should you sell.

Gold Coin Values
Condition of Coin
DateVery FineExtremely
Gold Coin Values Updated 6/14/2021
$2.50 Liberty 1840-1907
$270 $293 $307 $337
$2.50 Indian 1908-1929
$255 $270 $278 $334
Liberty Five Dollar Gold 1839-1908
$420 $428 $428 $453
Indian Five Dollar Gold 1908-1929
$420 $428 $436 $481
Liberty Ten Dollar Gold 1838-1907
$851 $855 $860 $884
Indian Ten Dollar Gold 1908-1933
$868 $877 $888 $904
Liberty Twenty Dollar Gold 1850-1907
$1,720 $1,723 $1,729 $1,775
Saint-Gaudens Twenty Dollar Gold 1907-1933
$1,720 $1,725 $1,731 $1,783

All US gold coins are scarce and this series is no exception. Small mintages, and widely circulated, resulting in few surviving until today. Almost a one- eighth of an ounce of gold also underlines the high minimum value.

The $2.5 Indian is the smaller version of the five dollar gold Indian. Featuring the Incuse design and minted for a short period, it is eagerly collected. Examine your coins closely, condition is the key to finding higher value.

Always in demand with stable values. Liberty gold coins span decades with many scarce and rare dates. Discover your Liberty five dollar gold coin value.

With a unique Incuse design collectors either appreciate them greatly or consider them unattractive. However their values in uncirculated condition indicate a huge demand. A short series with a few rarities, a loyal following and high minimum values. Check the values of your coins on the chart.

Many rare dates and mints to discover. Liberty tens are a rare and historic coin. Few exist in well preserved condition. Study the details of your coins carefully to find their true value.

A very "modern" design attracts many collectors. They seek better condition coins. Almost a half ounce of gold keeps the minimum value in the hundreds of dollars. However, the high condition coins command the largest premiums.

Huge in size, classic in style and high minimum values. Every collector would like to own a US twenty dollar gold piece. The series abounds with rare dates and mints. Compare your coins to the grading images to find the highest value on the chart.

A true American coin. Large and majestic, very popular with collectors. Always in demand, nicer condition coins attract great minimum values. The gold coin value chart highlights the premiums paid for rare dates, mints and condition.

Continue the journey and discover the value of the rest of your coins.

★ Coin Values Discovery. finds Gold Coin Values and. All old US coin values. It is an excellent index with images and text links to all coin series, from Cents to Gold. Value charts, grading images and descriptions uncover how much your box of old coins is worth.

All US gold coins are scarce, many rare. Having a good idea of their minimum value is important especially when considering selling your coins and finding potential gold coin buyers. Visit specific pages dealing with the exact demolition of your coin and judge closely not only date and mintmark but importantly condition.

Gold Coin of Nikephoros I - History

‘Women on the throne’ was a less common picture during the ancient and medieval times but was not unheard of. A number of civilizations offer their gratitude to these fine and capable rulers who broke down the stereotypical barriers of the society and left behind a glorious legacy. The Byzantine Empire is no excuse. The Coinage of the Byzantine Empire gives an ample amount of examples of the women ruling with iron fist. Coins of Empress Irene are the testimonies of another Iron Lady of the Byzantine Empire.

Empress Irene of Athens was the first female ruler of the Byzantine Empire. Born between 750 and 755 into a noble family of Athens, she was chosen to be a bride of Leo IV – the son of Emperor Constantine V. Overnight, this orphan noble girl became a bride of an Heir of Byzantine Emperor. Emperor Constantine V died making Leo IV the next emperor. By the end of year 776, Leo IV ascended to the throne at the age of twenty-five years, with Irene as his empress consort.

This is how this Orphan girl became an Empress – the first Empress of the Byzantine Empire. The First Coins of Empress Irene were joint issues, issued along with her Husband. The first coins of Empress Irene are of two types

  1. a) The Gold Solidus that depict the portraits of both king and queen. The King is on right and the Queen is on left. The king is clean-shaven and wearing a crown, with a cross on globe in his hand. Irene is on the left wearing loros and holding sceptre surmounted by a cross. A cross is seen between their head. The reverse shows the portrait of Constantine V flanked by Leo III and Leo IV (The three generations ruled the Empire). All seated facing wearing crown and chlamys.
  2. b) The other Gold was issued when she became a regent for their nine-year-old son Constantine VI. The coin depicts the crowned bust of Irene facing and holding cross on the globe as well as scepter surmounted by a cross on the obverse. This signifies that Empress Irene is now playing the roles of both the Emperor and the Empress. On the other side of the coins, a bust of the new emperor is portrayed.

A couple of weeks after the death of Leo IV Irene was confronted with a conspiracy led by a group of prominent dignitaries that sought to raise Caesar Nikephoros, a half-brother of Leo IV, to the throne. Smart Empress Irene tackled this issue without the loss of a single drop of blood. She replaced all of them with dignitaries who were loyal to her and had Nikephoros and his four brothers ordained as priests, a status which disqualified them from the ruling. After this incident, Empress Irene appears to have been well aware that her position as regent was insecure. Hence she proclaimed herself and the next Empress of Byzantine and began ruling from the throne. Now, on the coins of Empress Irene only depict her Image. These coins of Empress Irene are known for her sole reign.

  1. b) These Gold Solidus depict the facing bust of Irene holding cross on globe and sceptre surmounted by a cross on the obverse and the same bust on the reverse. This type of coin is also found in different variety.
  2. a) This type of coins of Empress Irene bears the portraits of the Empress similar to the previous type. However, in this type, a dot appears on the left flan on the obverse and the letter “C” appears in the left flack on the reverse. The Significance of such variety is not clear.

The Coins of Empress Irene are not only issued in Gold but also are found in copper. Two types of copper Follis were issued during her reign. One as a joint issue with her son Constantine VI and the other for her sole reign!

  1. a) The first type depicts crowned bust of Irene holding cross on globe and cross-headed scepter and the reverse depicts crowned bust of Constantine VI, holding cross on globe, cross with a horizontal line beneath which has large M below with, X to left, N to right, A below.
  2. b) The second type signifies her sole reign. These types depict crowned facing bust of Irene similar to other coins. On the reverse, the coin depicts Large M with XXX to left, cross above, NNN to right, A below.

As monarch, Irene called herself “basileus” (’emperor’), rather than “basilissa” (’empress’). During the reign, Irene had to face many challenges which she tackled with utmost bravery and wit. She subdued a rebellion led by Elpidius, the strategos of Sicily, suppressed Abbasid attacks. She was most notably remembered for ending iconoclasm and the veneration of icons (images of Christ or the saints). However, with the advent new century, she saw her exit from the politics. In 802 the patricians conspired against her and placed Nikephoros, the minister of finance on the throne. Irene was exiled to Lesbos and forced to support herself by spinning wool. She died the following year.

As the first Empress of the Byzantine Empire, Irene had set up and excellent example and a path that was followed by a few women who became powerful empress in the course of time. The coins of Empress Irene prove to be an excellent account to narrate her story.

The Mintage World Team comprises of experts, researchers and writers from the field of Philately, Notaphily and Numismatics who try to shed light on some of the most interesting aspects of coins, banknotes and stamps from not just India but across the globe as well.


1 ounce Chinese Panda Gold Coins available from JM Bullion.

1 ounce Australian Kangaroo Gold Coins available from JM Bullion.

1 ounce Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Coins available from JM Bullion.

1 ounce Krugerrand Gold Coins available from JM Bullion.

1 ounce Vienna Philharmonic Gold Coins available from JM Bullion.

1 ounce American Buffalo Gold Coins available from JM Bullion.

1 ounce American Gold Eagle Coins available from JM Bullion.

Gold Coins Overview

When it comes to investing in physical gold, there are numerous choices available. Investors can go with gold bullion bars, bullion coins, collectibles and more. Although gold coins may have slightly higher premiums than gold bullion bars, the coins also carry a face value and are considered good, legal tender. Investors do not buy gold coins for their face value, however, they buy them for their gold content or collectibility. Gold coins offer investors a way to invest in gold that is simple, convenient and efficient.

Gold coins are small and can therefore be stored in a home safe, a bank safe deposit box or in the depository of your choice. Gold coin offerings have expanded greatly over the years, and now come in numerous weights. Smaller weight gold coins may be relatively more affordable and might be a good choice for smaller investors and those on a tight budget. In addition, certain gold coins may be eligible for purchase in an IRA account. Of course, you should check with your tax professional about rules and eligibility before purchasing gold coins for an IRA account.

Gold coins are minted by numerous government mints and come in numerous sizes and with many different designs. Highlighted below are some of the most popular gold coins on the market today:

The 1 ounce American Gold Eagle: The American Gold Eagle coin is one of the most popular gold coins in the world. It is produced by the U.S. Mint and carries a face value of $50. The coin is 22 karat gold, and therefore has a purity of 91.67%. The coin contains one full troy ounce of gold. These coins feature the famous Augustus Saint-Gaudens Lady Liberty image.

The 1 ounce Canadian Gold Maple Leaf: The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf features the iconic Canadian maple leaf design and is produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin is minted with 999.9 percent fine gold, making it one of the purest gold coins on the market today. The coin has a $50 CAD face value.

The 1 ounce Vienna Philharmonic Gold Coin: This stunning gold coin is produced by the Austrian Mint and contains 1 troy ounce of 999.9 percent fine gold. The coin’s design pays tribute to the Austrian Philharmonic Orchestra and it carries a face value of 100 euros (it previously was denominated using the Austrian Schilling).

Although 1 ounce gold coins may be some of the most popular, smaller gold coins have also gained traction with investors. Gold coins are available in many smaller weights including 1/25th of an ounce, 1/10th of an ounce, ¼ ounce and ½ ounce. These coins may carry smaller face values as in addition to containing a smaller amount of gold.

Whatever gold coins you choose, you can buy them with confidence as they are minted by some of the finest mints in the world. As an investment, gold coins offer a simple and convenient way to acquire gold bullion while building a portfolio of different coins.

Gold Coins Have Never Sold at Premium This High for So Long

Sales of retail gold coins are revealing just how desperate investors are to find a safe haven.

People have always been willing to shell out more for retail coins than gold sold in the spot market. But that premium has more than doubled -- and at times quadrupled -- over the past two weeks as investors seek a safe place to park their cash in the face of global market turmoil.

Dealers such as Gainsville Coins have never seen prices this high for this long. “Virtually every dealer in the country” has been so overwhelmed by demand that orders are backed up by at least a month, said Everett Millman, a precious-metals specialist at the Florida firm.

The coronavirus pandemic that’s roiled markets isn’t just stoking demand for the haven. It’s also paralyzing supply. Around the world, flights are getting canceled, trucks are getting held up and metal refiners are shutting, making it harder for traders and banks to shuttle their gold to vaults in major trading hubs such as London and New York.

“Some wholesalers are currently not taking orders,” said Ronan Manly, an analyst at Singapore dealer BullionStar. “Wholesalers, mints and refiners are either low on stock or out of stock.”

Supply for bullion coin orders is limited at the Royal Canadian Mint, which has temporarily suspended production in response to public-health measures to contain the virus, according to spokesperson Alison Crawford.

American Eagle gold coins are selling at a 5% premium, the highest over the spot price since the 2016 Brexit vote, according to Gainsville Coins’ Millman.

Spot gold is trading down about 1.3% near $1,610 an ounce, after rising the past three sessions. Bullion futures also fell to settle at $1,634.30.

Along with surging prices, Gainsville Coins is facing a month-long delivery backlog.

“When you look at a jump in the premium like that, that’s definitely an indication that demand is higher than supply,” Millman said. 𠇊ll the supply chains are backed up for at least a month.”

As recently as two weeks ago, premiums for gold coins were at 1% or 2%, according to Millman. Silver coins are also in demand, with premiums for that metal at 50% over the spot price, compared with just 5% a couple of weeks earlier.

American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins

The U.S. Mint produces American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins in four weights: one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce. The coins are 22-karat gold, plus small amounts of alloy. This creates harder coins that resist scratching and marring, which can diminish resale value. Bullion coins are coins whose weight, content and purity are guaranteed by the United States government. They can also be included in an IRA.

The obverse design of the American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins is inspired by Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ celebrated $20 gold piece, the “Double Eagle.” It was minted from 1907-1933 and is often considered one of America’s most beautiful coins. In 2021, the U.S. Mint marked the 35th anniversary of the American Eagle Coin Program with a refreshed design. The Mint used historical assets such as the original bronze cast to closer reflect Saint-Gaudens’ original vision. The refresh includes modifications to the Capitol Building, stars, torch, sun rays, and other design elements.

Since 2021, the reverse shows a portrait of an eagle. To give the new coins an added level of security, they have also been updated with enhanced security features, including a reeded edge variation.

From 1986 to 2021, the reverse, by sculptor Miley Busiek, depicted an eagle carrying an olive branch flying above a nest containing a second eagle and hatchlings.

Gold bullion coins are easy to buy and sell. Locate an authorized dealer. Prices are based on the market price of gold, plus a small premium to cover minting and distribution costs.

Watch the video: Αρχαία Ελληνικά νομίσματα (July 2022).


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