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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 87, Lot: 2236. Estimate $3000.
Sold for $3500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Gold votive plaque. Byzantine, circa 6th century AD. Repousse plaque with a star and XAPIC YΓIA above a portion of a face. Thick eyebrows meet at the tip of thin nose. The most prominent element of the design - the eyes - are rendered in a wide, intense fashion that is tempered by the delicately worked eyelashes. The whole within a rectangular border. Dimensions: 4.1 x 2.8cm. See Berk BBS 66 (11 June 1991), no. 16. A bit wavy, very minor earthen deposits. Reportedly from Lebanon. A wonderful and extremely rare piece.

This inscribed plaque (literally translated “Thanks hygia” [i.e. health]) is a testament to the continuing tradition of votive offerings in the early Christian period. Likely intended as an offering to a saint who interceded in the curing of an eye affliction, the piece, while small in scale, wholly captures the religious intensity of the best of early Byzantine art.