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The significance of byzantine gold coins

The Significance of Byzantine Gold Coins

Have you ever heard the colloquialism “setting up Constantinople”? If you haven’t, you’re not alone. This phrase referred to creating a successful home base for a business. It isn’t used much anymore because most people are not familiar enough with Constantinople, the legendary capital of the Byzantine Empire of the Middle Ages as they once were. This is a shame… the Byzantine Empire was a very powerful, yet mostly benign empire that created stability to Europe in a time known for its lawlessness and instability. The Byzantine Empire is responsible for many great things, especially the establishment of a currency system. Today, when our currency is created more for function than form, it is hard not to pay homage to the beautifully designed coins of the Byzantine Era.

The look of the Byzantine gold coin was taken from the gold coins of the Roman Empire. The Romans put a lot of artistry into their coins, but the Byzantines took it even farther when they designed their uniquely brilliant coins. Even today there is a lot of interest in collecting reproductions of these fabulous coins. These coins were originally referred to as “histamenon nomisma” and are among the most sought after coins in collectors’ circles.

There is also historical significance connected to these lovely coins. They were the first coins to depict the face of Jesus Christ on them. Incredibly rare, reproductions sell out fast, although the interest in original coins of this nature is extremely high. The majority of those originals that remain have only recently been unearthed in Middle Eastern excavations.

Designed in the shape of a “C,” the odd design does not detract a bit from the beauty of the coin. It actually improves their look. One side shows the face of Jesus Christ, while the other has the image of the Byzantine Emperor. This is thought to have created the impression that the law was governed by both the divine and secular orders. We can learn a lot of the ideologies and conventional wisdom during the Byzantine Empire. This is what makes these coins so highly collectible. Just being able to examine one of these coins is an experience.

To many it comes as a surprise that the Byzantines also made the first commemorative coins. To honor members of the Byzantine military, a series of coins were minted to honor specific battles. Many other cultures followed this lead and minted their own commemorative coins.

What helps to stimulate the interest is the uniqueness of the coin combined with scarcity. This description fits the Byzantine coins perfectly and it’s what makes them highly collectible as well.

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