Gersem, circa 580s.
Chrysos (Gold, 16 mm, 1.24 g, 12 h). ✠ΒΑCHI ΑξⲰΜΙ Draped half-length bust of Gersem to right, wearing tiara and circular earring; to left and right, ears of barley; all within circular border. Rev.
✠ΓЄ✠ΡC✠Є•Μ Draped half-length bust of Gersem to right, wearing tight-fitting head cloth and circular earring; to left and right, ears of barley; all within circular border. Hahn, Aksumite, 49. Hahn & Keck, MAKS, 81.5 = Phaidra 1190548 (this coin
). Munro-Hay, AC, type 146. Extremely rare, just six examples cited by Hahn & Keck, of which only three in private hands. Flan crack, edge chip and struck from somewhat worn dies, otherwise,
about very fine.
From the Dr. Stephan Coffman Collection, the Maekelay-Tigray Collection, Roma XXII, 7 October 2021, 81, and reportedly from the collection of Francesco Vaccaro (1903-1990).
Next to a highly unusual emission of gold chrysoi (see lot 337 above), Gersem also struck a more regular issue of gold chrysoi, but with the curious detail that the inner circle is missing from the reverse, while present on the obverse. All of his gold coins are extremely rare, perhaps a first indication that international trade was being disrupted by the intrusion of the Sasanian Empire in the Red Sea area during this time (see also lot 334 above).