Trachy: coin of Bulgarian Empire (imitation of Byzantine coin)


Trachy, 13th century: Bulgarian Empire (imitation of Byzantine coin)

Trachy, 13th century: Bulgarian Empire (imitation of Byzantine coin)

Trachy — Byzantine scyphate (concave) coins of the 11th-13th centuries and their somewhat later imitations.

The first trachy, Byzantine coins with a concave shape (probably for convenience — to make it easier to lift from a flat surface), appeared at the end of the XI century. during the reign of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos. Initially, these were rather large coins made of electrum (an alloy of gold and silver). Over time, they began to be trimmed, reducing the weight and, accordingly, the cost. Later tracheas were made of bilon (low grade silver); initially the silver content was up to 10%, over the years — about 2%... It is also known about the silvering of coins.

A separate group of trachy is also distinguished — Bulgarian imitations (Thracian or Balkan): coins of lower quality (we are talking about lower weight, a much lower percentage of silver, and appearance). Their design, as a rule, repeated the previous, original coins of the end of the 12th century. (also religious plot and emperor: Manuel I Komnenos, Isaac II Angelos or Alexios III Angelos). However, they were lighter, almost copper (silver content, often less than 1%), and contained primitive images. There is information that such tracheas were produced in extremely large quantities after the capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204 (therefore, such coins are now found often and are not considered valuable). That is, the reason for their appearance is not original by historical standards — the war... Mints were territorially located in the Balkans (for example, Thessaloniki — the Greek region of Macedonia). These imitation coins were officially and quite legally used in monetary circulation in the lands of Southern Bulgaria and Northern Greece (Balkan Peninsula, Thrace) during the 13th century. There are data on the production of regional trachy even in the 14th century.

In the collections of numismatists, as a rule, imitations of Byzantine trachy are found much more often. Prototype coins of the 11th-12th centuries expensive and relatively rare.

Scyphate (concave) coin.

Imitation of trachy of the Byzantine emperor Isaac II Angelos, approximately 13th century (it is impossible to date the coin with any precision). Numismatic catalogs attribute this coin to Bulgarian imitations.

Emperor with crown and cross-shaped sceptre.

Virgin Mary with baby Jesus Christ in her arms.

Completely lost (erased) legend "ICAAKIOC DECPOTH" ("Isaac despot /ruler/"), which is present on the original Byzantine coin.

  • Copper: 28 mm - 2.82 g
  • Reference price: 10$

COIN TRACHY — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  1. BYZANTINE EMPIRE + IMITATIONS OF BYZANTINE COINS (11th-14th centuries): trachy

About the name of the coin trachy: the name of the trachy coin comes from the Greek word "τραχύς" — "rough, uneven", which indicates the irregular shape of the coin.
Often, among collectors, they are also called "Aspron trachy nomisma" (from Greek "Light uneven coin") and even "cup-shaped coin", "cup money".
In general, this type of coin is called "nummi scyphati" (Latin "scyphati" — "concave"); the obverse is on the convex side, the reverse is on the concave side.