The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV ARTICLE       NEXT ARTICLE       FULL ISSUE       PREV FULL ISSUE      

V12 2009 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 49, December 6, 2009, Article 15

PRINCETON ACQUIRES 7TH CENTURY COIN WITH AN IMAGE OF JESUS

The Times of Trenton, NJ published an article about a recent acquisition at the Princeton University Numismatic Collection. Inexplicably, the article did NOT have an image of the coin. Luckily, curator Alan Stahl is an E-Sylum regular, and he provided the following images. Congratulations on the acquisition! -Editor

Justinian II (Obverse) Justinian II (Reverse)

It's not the kind of coin you'd want to plunk into a soda machine, nor is it the kind you'd find while digging around under your couch cushions.

It's a Byzantine gold coin from the seventh century with an image of Jesus Christ on its face, issued by Emperor Justinian II. It's the first known coin to have a Christ image, and it now has a new home in the Princeton University Numismatic Collection.

It's a high quality specimen that Alan Stahl, the university's curator of numismatics, said he had been seeking for several years, only to be outbid at auction again and again.

"Finally, a dealer with whom I'd placed a bid a couple of times found one in a private collection and offered it to us at a reasonable price."

The coin has been dated to the year 692.

According to Stahl, the Princeton University's numismatic collection contains about 100,000 items and is reputed to be the oldest institutional collection in the country.

He said the gold coin was a specimen valuable not only in terms of the coinage of the eastern Mediterranean in the Middle Ages, but in the history of all coinage.

"The most important thing is that it's the first time the image of Christ is used as the main image on the coin," he said. Until this time, most coins had only featured portraits of the period's ruling emperor. In this case, Justinian II was cast on the reverse of the coin.

And while this may seem like a benign bit of imagery to us today, it sent shock waves across the region in its time.

"This was considered really shocking in its time, and it got reactions all over," he said.

To read the complete article, see: Princeton acquires coin with an image of Jesus from the 7th century (www.nj.com/news/times/regional/index.ssf?/
base/news-18/1259909134180700.xml&coll=5)

Wayne Homren, Editor

Google
 
NBS (coinbooks.org) Web

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum

PREV ARTICLE       NEXT ARTICLE       FULL ISSUE       PREV FULL ISSUE      

V12 2009 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Copyright © 1998 - 2012 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster
coin