Harlan J. Berk Ltd.
Buy or Bid Sale 226  13 Feb 2024
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Lot 542

Estimate: 42 000 USD
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John I Tzimiskes. Follis; John I Tzimiskes; 969-976 AD, circa 969 AD, Follis, 6.66g. Type of Anonymous A1 but with the legend starting with the name "John" Obv: Christ holding Gospel Rx: "John in Christ and God" on the two top lines with the bottom lines being illegible. +IWANN ENXWOU bATILE RWIA. This reverse legend was never used again as this coin represents the beginning of the "Anonymous Follis" that lasted 150 years. John I assassinated his uncle, the well-liked Emperor Nicephorus II, and exiled his queen. This seems to have been accepted by the church and aristocracy, but not at all by the local population.
This coin, which bears the legend "John in Christ and God", is highly unusual. It seems that the legend holding John's name was either an experiment or was highly unpopular. Evidently, the name "John" was quickly removed, and what was created was Anonymous Follis Class 1A. This coin was unknown until it was found by Frank Kovacs among Anonymous Folles that had been set aside for at least 30 years. When it was brought forward to us, I referred the legend to Mike Braunlin, who is an exceptional scholar. It appears that he had an example of this, with only fragments of the last two letters of the name "John". Based on this information, we conclude that after the removal of the name John for political reasons, this is the coin that later became the design for the issue of Anonymous Folles that lasted about 150 years. This issue was one of the dominant issues of coins for the entire empire, and some were carried to Constantinople in hopes of converting the local Muslim population to Christianity.
With the publishing of this coin, there are two examples known, each having been held unrecognized for the past 30 years. To this point, there are no other examples that we can locate in major museum collections, as this coin was apparently only struck for a very short time, and the legend is quite obvious. However, there remains a possibility that another could come to light. If so, we would be very grateful to be informed.
. EF
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