An exceptionally rare 1/2 basilikon of John VI Cantacuzene, with Matthew
Lot 3082
John VI Cantacuzene, with Matthew, second reign, 1353-1354. 1/2 Basilikon (Silver, 15 mm, 0.48 g, 6 h), probably Adrianopolis, May-November 1354. Winged Archangel Michael standing facing on city-walls, holding sword in his right hand and sheath in his left; on the right, St. John the Baptist standing front, head to left, nimbate and barefoot, wearing sheepskin over mantle, raising his right hand in benediction and holding an uncertain object in his left; between them, monogram of PT; above head of Archangel, XM. Rev. KTK[...] ΛCN[...] Matthew standing facing, wearing loros and crown with pendilia, holding cross-tipped scepter in his right hand. S. Bendall: A New Coin of Matthew Asen Cantacuzenusi NumCirc XCV.2 (March 1987), p. 40, fig. 1 (same obverse die). DOC -. SB 2543. Stack's The Golden Horn Collection (2009), 3352 (same obverse die). Of the highest rarity. A beautifully toned and attactive example. Some edge chipping and the flan slightly wavy, otherwise, good very fine.


From a European collection, acquired before 2021.

This intriguing coin was struck during the short joint rule of John VI Cantacuzene with his son, Matthew, in opposition to John V Palaeologus. Initially, John Cantacuzene was John V's regent as appointed by the late Andronicus III, but a coalition of the boy's mother, Anna of Savoy, the patriarch of Constantinople, John XIV, and the megas doux, Alexius Apocaucus, saw an attempt to remove Cantacuzene from power in 1341. This sparked a bitter civil war lasting six years, after which John VI Cantacuzene and his ward shared an uneasy joint rule. Tensions remained high, especially when John V undertook military operations against Cantacuzene's son, Matthew, which saw the latter robbed of his Thracian possessions. In 1353, another civil war broke out, with Cantacuzene soon raising Matthew to the purple, during which time the present coin was struck. The obverse shows a curious combination of the Archangel Michael defending a set of city walls, perhaps those of Adrianople, and John the Baptist, the latter probably appearing as the namesake of John Cantacuzene, while Matthew appears on the reverse. After a few months, John V managed to outmaneuver the father-son duo with the help of the Genoese, and John Cantacuzene was forced to enter a monastery, while Matthew was eventually shipped off to Morea

The coinage of John VI and his son Matthew is of an extreme rarity today, with only three genuine examples having been offered for sale in the past decades, namely in LHS 97 (2006), 330, Stack's, The Golden Horn Collection (2009), 3352, and Triton XXIV (2021), 1206.
Starting price:
250 CHF
Current bid:
1100 CHF
Bid increment:
100 CHF
Minimum bid:
1200 CHF
Number of bids:
Time left:
Closing time: 18-Jul-22, 15:57:00 CEST
All winning bids are subject to an 18.5% buyer's fee.