Denomination: AV Histamenon (Nomisma)
Date: Circa –1028 – 1034 AD
Weight: 4.41 g
Mount: 18 kt gold – accented with Blue Sapphire
Grade: NGC 6324931-020 - Choice VF - Strike: 5/5, Surface: 2/5
Description: Romanus III Argyrus (AD 1028-1034). AV histamenon nomisma (25mm, 4.41 gm, 6h). Obverse: Latin: (+IhS XIS RЄX-RЄϚNANTInm), Christ enthroned facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium and colobium, right hand raised in benediction, book of Gospels in left; double border. Reverse: Latin: (ΘCЄ bOHΘ'-RwmAhw), standing facing figures of Romanus III (on left), bearded, wearing crown with pendilia, saccos and loros, four pellets on sleeve, globus cruciger in left hand, and the Virgin (on right), nimbate, wearing pallium and maphorium, crowning emperor with right hand; decorative element over MΘ in central field between their heads, double border.
History: histámenon, "standard coin” was the name given to the gold Byzantine Solidus when the slightly lighter tetarteron was introduced in the 960s. 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 Nicephorus II Phocas (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 Nicephorus 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.