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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 60, Lot: 1964. Estimate $500. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 22 May 2002. 
Sold For $430. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

AVARS, in the name of Heraclius. After 616 AD. AV Solidus (4.23 gm). Uncertain western mint. Crowned facing busts of Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine; cross between their heads / Cross potent on three steps; IE/CONOB. Cf. MIB 11 for the general type. Good VF. Extremely rare. ($500)

For other Avar imitations of solidi of Heraclius, see Italo Vecchi Auction 14 (5 February 1999), lot 65 and "An Important Private Collection of Byzantine Coins" (Sotheby's, 2 November 1998), lot 236.

The Avars, a people of undetermined origin and language, played an important role in eastern Europe from the sixth century, building a domain in the area between the Adriatic and Baltic seas and the Dnieper river. In 588, they were allied with the Lombards in the overthrow of the Gepids, allies of Byzantium, and established themselves in the Hungarian plain. The Avars often engaged in war with the Merovingians and with Byzantium, almost occupying Constantinople in 626. After circa 650, revolt and internal discord coinciding with the creation of the Bulgarian state weakened their empire, which, however, survived until 685 when it submitted to Charlemagne.