Denomination: AV Solidus
Date: Circa: (602-610 AD)
Grade: NGC MS - Strike: 4/5 Surface: 3/5 (6330386-004)
Mount: 18 kt gold – Accented with diamonds on the bale.
Description: BYZANTINE EMPIRE: Phocas. Obverse: O N FOCAS PЄRP AVI, draped and cuirassed bust of Phocas facing, wearing crown without pendilia and holding globus cruciger. Reverse: VICTORIA AVCC B, angel standing facing, holding staff surmounted by staurogram and globus cruciger; CONOB in exergue
History: Phocas (Latin: Focas) was Eastern Roman emperor from 602 to 610. Phocas was born in 547 AD and died on October 5th, 610. Initially, a middle-ranking officer in the Eastern Roman army, Phocas rose to prominence as a spokesman for dissatisfied soldiers in their disputes with the court of the emperor Maurice. When the army revolted in 602, Phocas emerged as the natural leader of the mutiny. The revolt proved to be successful and led to the capture of Constantinople and the overthrow of Maurice on November 23rd, 602, with Phocas declaring himself emperor on the same day. History tells us that Phocas was mostly from Thrace.
Ever since Emperor Constantine I, introduced it in 309, the Byzantine Empire's main coinage had been the high-quality solidus or nomisma, which had remained standard in weight (4.55 grams) and gold content (24 carats) through the centuries. Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas (r. 963–969), however, introduced a new coin, the [nomisma] tetarteron ("quarter coin") which was 2 carats lighter than the original nomisma. The latter now became known as the histamenon, from the Greek verb ἵστημι, "to stand up", implying that these followed the traditional standard. The reasons for this change are not clear; Byzantine chroniclers, however, suggest fiscal motives, reporting that Nikephoros collected the taxes as before in the histamenon. while paying back with the tetarteron, which was officially rated as equal in value to the full-weight coin.