Alexander, 912-913. Solidus (Gold, 20 mm, 4.23 g, 7 h), Constantinopolis. +IҺS XRS RЄX RЄςҺAҺTIЧm Christ, nimbate, seated facing on throne, wearing tunic and pallium, raising his right hand in benediction and holding book of Gospels in his left. Rev. +ALЄXAҺdROS AЧςЧSTOS ROm' Alexander, wearing divitision and loros, standing facing on the left, holding globus cruciger in his right hand and extending his left to St. Alexander, on the right, standing facing, wearing pallium and colobium, crowning the emperor with his right hand and holding cross in his left. DOC 2. SB 1737. Extremely rare and important. Minor scratch on the obverse and with some traces of mounting, otherwise, about very fine.
From the Placidia Collection, Sincona 37, 16 May 2017, 385, ex Sincona 17, 21 May 2014, 339 and previously privately acquired from Bank Leu in January 1967.
Unfortunately for the empire, Alexander, who had been co-ruler first of his father Basil I, then of his brother Leo VI, had never been interested in politics and preferred to live a life of excesses and luxury. However, when Leo VI suddenly died in May 912, Alexander succeeded to the throne as his nephew Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus was still a minor. The new emperor quickly proved his inability to rule as he angered the Bulgars by denying them their annual tribute, which resulted in a devastating fifteen-year long war that saw the loss of much of the European provinces to the enemy. Alexander himself would not live to face the consequences of his disastrous decision, as he passed away on 6 June 913, allegedly dying of exhaustion after playing a game of Tzykanion, an early form of polo. His coinage is among the rarest in the entire gold Byzantine series, with reportedly fewer than 20 solidi known to exist.