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Lot 320:
Irene (797-802 AD). AV Solidus, Syracuse mint. Obv. ЄIRIn ЬASILIS. Crowned bust facing, wearing loros and holding cross potent on base and cruciform sceptre. Rev. [Є]IRIn ЬASILIS. Crowned bust facing, wearing loros and holding cross potent on base and cruciform sceptre. C-I across fields. Sear -. (Cf. 1602). Anastasi 455. Vichi 240. AV. g. 3.88 mm. 20.50 RRRR. EF. Irene's sole reign lasted from the deposition and blinding of her son Constantine VI on 19 August 797 to her own deposition at the hands of the partisans of Nicephorus I on 30 October 802. In her gold coinage the obverse was naturally occupied by her own bust, but for the reverse she could not fall back on the expedient employed since the reign of Constantine V of representing the effiges of one or more of her predecessors. Instead of reviving the ancient cross-on-steps type, she preferred to have herself depicted a second time, thus creating a precedent which was occasionally followed in the future. (Grierson P., Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittermore Collection, Volume 3- Part 1, Washington, 1973, p. 347-348). Extremely rare.
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