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Lot 4250

Justinian II, second reign, 705-711. Gold Solidus (4.4g) minted at Constantinople. Second Reign. d N IhS ChS REX REGNANTIЧM. Bust facing of Christ with short, curly hair and close beard, wearing pallium and colobium; his right hand raised in benediction, in his left, book of Gospels; behind his head, cross. Reverse: [D N] IЧS - TINIA - NЧS MЧLTЧ AN'. Bust facing of Justinian II with short beard, wearing crown and loros, holding cross potent on three steps in right hand; in left, patriarchal cross on globe inscribed PAX. Sear 1413; DO 1. Fully lustrous and as struck. Mint State.

This portrait issue of Christ is the most magnificent in the entire Byzantine series.

During his first reign (685-695), Justinian II, son of Constantine IV, had shown himself to be an innovator in iconography when, in 692, he had been the first emperor to utilize the bust of Christ as a coin type. On his restoration to the Byzantine throne in 705, he continued the tradition he had started by again portraying Christ on his gold and silver coinage. Whereas the original depiction had shown the bearded Christ Pantokrator, the later image shows Him youthful with short curly hair and close beard. Perhaps derived from a noted icon, this is the only appearance of this 'life-like' image of Christ on the Byzantine coinage. It is sometimes described as 'Syrian' as scholars have found analogies to it in works of art coming from Syria and Palestine. In view of the reign of terror that characterized his second period in office (705-711), it is ironic that on the reverse the emperor holds an orb inscribed PAX (Peace).
Estimated Value $4,000 - 5,000.
The Hunter Collection.

Realized $4,313

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