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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton IX, Lot: 1632. Estimate $300. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 January 2006. 
Sold For $850. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CONSTANS II. 641-668 AD. AV Solidus (4.47 g, 6h). Constantinople mint. Struck 641 AD or later. d N CONSTAN TINUS PP AVI, small, crowned and beardless facing bust, holding globus cruciger / VICTORIA AVGU, cross potent on three steps; S/CONOB. DOC II 1f (Heraclonas); MIB III 3a; SB 936. EF, slight scuff on obverse. Rare. ($300)

There is still room for debate about the attribution of coins from the period immediately after the death of Heraclius, when his sons, Heraclius Constantine by Fabia and Heraclonas by Martina, held the throne for brief periods before the accession of Constans II, or Constantine. It seems likely that MIB 1 and 2 (Constans II) belong to one of the two ephemeral rulers, the portrait being distinctly different with its plumed crown. MIB 3a and 4a (Heraclonas?) are more problematic, the portraits and titulature being very close to later, sÉcurely identified issues of Constans. The only difference is that the head on these pieces is a bit smaller and rounder, while the Constans solidi have a longer face and an out-thrust chin, a chin which in later years he took pains to hide behind a luxuriant beard. It is difficult to determine whether the Byzantines would have recognized these slight differences in physiognomy as portraits of two different emperors. In addition, MIB 3a and 4a are encountered relatively frequently, as opposed to the genuinely rare MIB 1 and 2, and thus are less likely to be from a very brief reign, such as that of Heraclonas (6 months).