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A Millennium of Byzantine Coins

The fall of the West in 476 did not end the Roman Empire. The Eastern Empire  lasted another millennium; known now as the Byzantine Empire, after an earlier Greek city on the site of Constantinople.

The coinage reform of 498 is the demarcation between the Roman and Byzantine Empires. Few of the Empire's citizens knew of the old Greek city of Byzantium. They thought of themselves as Romans, though Latin was soon used only for rituals.


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Justinian's Court

The people and the Court spoke demotic Greek, ancestor of modern Greek. They called themselves Romaioi, and their Empire, Romania.

The Byzantine Empire fought continual wars with Persia and Persia's Arab conquerors, ultimately falling to a Crusader army in 1204.Though the Empire was restored in 1261, its economic vitality had been shattered, and Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453.

Byzantine coins are one of the most challenging and complex series to collect. Bronze issues, most of which are folles or 40 nummia pieces and divisions of that denomination,  are frequently crudely struck, often over previous issues. By far the most extensive part of this thousand-year coinage series are gold solidi and their successors, which tend to sell at reasonable prices unless the issue is rare or unusual in some way.  There are relatively few silver issues because the Empire did not have a reliable source of silver production. During the Late Empire the gold coinage was debased by adding silver, and after more than a thousand years since the end of the Greek electrum coinage, that alloy reappeared as a significant numismatic metal.
To view available Byzantine Coins, click on the links below:

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