The Werner Collection of Ancient Roman and Byzantine Coins ranges over more than 1,600 years of Roman and Byzantine history, from the Republican period through the 15th century CE. Heritage Auctions is pleased to offer this collection in its Showcase Auction, with bidding open now through the live session on Sunday, February 20 at 8 PM CT.
Roughly two-thirds of the more than 300 coins in this auction are Roman Imperial pieces, with the balance split about evenly between Roman Republican and Byzantine issues. An interesting piece featured in this auction is a gold solidus from the late Eastern Roman Empire, minted in Constantinople in 474 CE for the short joint reign of Leo II and Zeno. NGC has assigned this coin a grade of Choice AU. During his long, tumultuous reign, Leo I “The Great” relied on a Romanized Isaurian chieftain, Zeno, to do much of the empire’s heavy lifting and dirty work. To cement the relationship, he married his daughter Ariadne to Zeno, and about 467 CE she bore him a son who was named Leo after his grandfather.
When Leo I died on 18 January AD 474, the child ascended to the Eastern Roman Throne as Leo II, but it soon became clear he needed a protector and the Byzantine Senate named his father Zeno as co-Augustus on February 9. The child fell ill toward the end of the year and died in November, leaving the unpopular Zeno as sole ruler. Rumors flourished that Zeno had poisoned his own son, but this seems as unlikely as it was unnecessary. The very rare gold coinage of the joint reign depicts an armored figure on the obverse, presumably Zeno, while the reverse depicts the two rulers seated on a double throne. Interestingly, the smaller of the two figures, Leo II, is seated to the left, in the “senior” position.
Some of the other intriguing offerings in this auction are:
- L. Hostilius Saserna (48 BCE). AR denarius. NGC Choice XF 3/5 – 3/5, brushed. Rome
- Gordian I Africanus (March-April 238 CE). AE sestertius. NGC VG 4/5 – 3/5. Rome
- Jotapian (ca. autumn 249 CE). AR antoninianus. NGC XF 4/5 – 2/5. Nicopolis in Seleucia mint
- Alexander of Carthage, Usurper (308-310 CE). BI reduced follis or nummus. NGC VF 3/5- 1/5, damage. Carthage
- Nepotian (3-30 June 350 CE). AE2 or BI centenionalis. NGC Choice VF 4/5 – 2/5, smoothing. Rome
- Jovinus, Western Roman Empire (411-413 CE). AR siliqua. NGC XF 2/5 – 2/5, scratches. Arles
- Anthemius, Western Roman Empire (467-472 CE). AV solidus. NGC AU 3/5 – 3/5, light graffito, bent. Rome, 467-472 CE
- Leontius (695-698 CE). AV solidus. NGC MS 3/5 – 4/5, clipped. Constantinople
Bid on these pieces of history at Coins.HA.com through February 20.