SERBIA. Nikola Altomanovic, Zupan, 1363-1373. Gros (Silver, 18 mm, 0.83 g, 5 h). +Bb XA / БA БΛΑΓΟ/BЄPHИ ЖOΠΑNb / HИKO ('v Hrista boga blagoverni Zopan Niko') ('in Christ God, Niko Zupan faithful to God' in Serbian) in four lines. Rev. Christ, nimbate, seated facing on decorated throne and holding book of Gospels with both hands; in field to left, IC over trefoil; in field to righ, XC over trefoil. Jovanovic, SMC, p. 72, 1. Jovanovic, Srpski Srednjovekovni Novac, 23.1.1. Extremely rare and of great historical importance. A well struck and beautifully toned example. Good very fine.
From a collection of coins from the medieval Balkans, ex Classical Numismatic Group E-Auction 446, 19 June 2019, 574.
Nikola Altomanović was the Zupan (a slavic title referring to the head ot a tribe or high administrative official) of the house of Vojinović, an important medieval Serbian family. Altomanović was a capable military leader who took part in the lost Battle of Maritsa in 1371 against the Ottomans. Unfortunately for him, the Zupan was captured and blinded two years later by the famous Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović, who later became a saint and martyr of the Christian Orthodox Chruch. Coins of Zupan Nikola Altomanović are among the great rarities within the Serbian coinage: to our knowledge, the present piece is the first example to be offered in a public auction since the sale of the collection of William Albert, 1st Prince of Montenuovo (1819-1895), in 1886 (lot 3439).