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Lot # 262 - Auction is closed.Estimate: US$45000 / Unsold: Available at opening bid of US$ 40000 + Buyers Fee
Constantine XI. Silver Stavraton
Constantine XI. 1448-1453 AS. Silver Stavraton, 6.59g. (6h). Constantinople, 1453 AD. Obv: Facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger and holding Gospels. Rx: Facing bust of Constantine XI. S. Bendall, "The Coinage of Constantine XI, " Revue Numismatique 1991, no. 91 (this coin). One of the finest of only seventeen surviving stavrata of the last Byzantine/Roman emperor that may be attributed to the time of the actual siege of Constantinople by the Ottomans, before the city fell on 25 May 1453. EF.

Only two coins were known for Constantine XI until a new group came to light. Nearly half of the new specimens were struck for the coronation of Constantine XI in 1448, but seventeen stavrata were struck during the siege of Constantinople that ended May 25, 1453. Constantinople, the last city of the Romans, was out of money and out of backing. Their cannon maker defected to the Ottomans. Other important craftsmen also left, including their die cutter. It is said that the last stavrata were made from silver ornaments and implements taken from the churches. The portraits of Christ on the siege coins are in competent style, perhaps being struck from dies prepared earlier, but the portraits of Constantine XI are extremely crude, as our coin shows. Of the seventeen siege coins that exist, ours is one of only five that bear the actual name of Constantine, and is moreover one of the best preserved.
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