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Coin Detail
Click here to see enlarged image.
ID:     78001876
     [UNVERIFIED]
Type:     Byzantine
Region:     BYZANTINE EMPIRE
Issuer:     Justinian I
Date Ruled:     AD 527-565
Metal:     Gold
Denomination:     Light Weight Solidus of 20 Siliquae
Struck / Cast:     struck
Date Struck:     AD 542-565
Weight:     3.73 g
Die Axis:     6 h
Obverse Legend:     DN IVSTINI-ANVS PP AVG
Obverse Description:     Helmeted, draped, and cuirassed facing bust, holding globus cruciger and shield
Reverse Legend:     VICTORI-AAVCCC
Reverse Description:     Angel standing facing, holding long cross and plain globus; star to right; I
Mint Mark:     OBXX
Mint:     Constantinople
Primary Reference:     SBCV 142
Reference2:     MIBE 15
Reference3:     DOC 10
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Source:     http://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=122447
Grade:     VF, area of flat strike, a few nicks
Notes:     Sale: CNG 78, Lot: 1876 Very rare, only the second handled by CNG, none in CoinArchives.com. One of the most intractable problems in Byzantine numismatics has proven to be the light weight solidus struck at various times through the 6th and 7th century. The initial theory, that they were produced for trade beyond the borders of the empire, is simply a historical accident, based on the first hoards of these pieces being found outside the empire. There is no evidence that they did not circulate side by side with full weight solidi; on the other hand, there is no evidence to indicate what their purpose may have been. Their first appearance comes after the re-conquest of Italy by Justinian I, suggesting that there was some relationship with the western market, but there is no reason the west would require a separate weight standard, especially not as much as 150 years later under Justinian II. A satisfactory explanation remains to be found.