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CNG Feature Auction 126

Lot nuber 996

Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, with Zoe. 913-959. AV Solidus (20mm, 4.38 g, 6h). Constantinople mint. Struck 914-919. Good VF.

CNG Feature Auction 126
Lot: 996.
 Estimated: $ 15 000

The Family of Constantine Collection, Coin-in-Hand Video, Gold

Sold For $ 35 000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, with Zoe. 913-959. AV Solidus (20mm, 4.38 g, 6h). Constantinople mint. Struck 914-919. Christ Pantokrator enthroned facing, nimbate, raising hand in benediction and holding Gospels / Crowned facing half-length figures of Constantine, wearing chlamys, and Zoe, wearing loros, holding patriarchal cross between them. DOC 2; Füeg 2; SB 1740. Toned, minor deposits. Good VF.

From the Family of Constantine Collection, assembled with guidance by Roland Michel, Geneva. Ex Triton IV (5 December 2000), lot 829; Sotheby's New York "An Important Private Collection of Byzantine Coins" (2 November 1998), lot 478; William Herbert Hunt Collection (Sotheby's New York, 5 December 1990), lot 696; Leu 15 (4 May 1976), lot 504.

Constantine VII’s time as emperor had a very complex path to his eventual sole reign. Following the death of his uncle Alexander, Constantine began his reign under the regency of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Nicolas Mystikos. However, Nicolas’ regency was short-lived. After the Tsar of Bulgaria, Symeon, appeared outside Constantinople with a massive army, Nicolas capitulated to the Bulgarians’ demands and granted them numerous concessions. This lack of strength by Nicolas led to a palace revolt in which Nicolas’ regency was removed and replaced with that of Constantine’s mother Zoe Karbonopsina. This change in government led Symeon to invade the Byzantine empire and lay waste to numerous provinces. His destructive campaign was eventually stymied by the capable general Romanus Lecapenus. Upon Romanus’ initial victories, he assumed the regency from Zoe, who he forced into a convent. Romanus additionally married his daughter Helena to Constantine. In December of 920, Romanus assumed the title of co-augustus and, though he did not depose Constantine, he kept all the power for himself. Romanus and Symeon continued to war against each other until Symeon’s death in 927. Symeon’s death seriously diminished the Bulgarians’ power and Romanus was free to turn his attention towards matters of state.

Between 921 and 945, Romanus elevated three of his sons as co-augustus: Christopher, Stephen, and Constantine. All the while, the former senior augustus Constantine VII was completely sidelined for over thirty years (Romanus officially displaced Constantine as senior augustus around 921). However, matters eventually changed when Stephen and Constantine turned on their father and deposed him in December 944. This was precipitated by Romanus drafting a will in which he intended to leave Constantine VII as sole augusutus following his death. Constantine VII seized his chance and in turn successfully deposed Stephen and Constantine that following January. Finally, in the thirty-first year of his reign, Constantine VII was free of his domineering associates and became sole augustus. Later that year, he added his own son Romanus II as co-augustus. Constantine reigned for an additional fourteen years after he finally deposed the Lecapeni before dying in 959 after reigning for a total of forty-six years.

The final winners of all CNG Feature Auction 126 lots will be determined during the live online sale that will be held on 28-29 May 2024. This lot is in Session Four, which will begin 29 May at 2 PM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 22.5% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 25% for all others.

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