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Medieval Armenia: A Six-Coin Collection


On January 6, 1198, Levon the Magnificent was crowned king, establishing the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. Located in the Cilicia region in southeastern Anatolia, this medieval principality was formed by Armenia refugees fleeing the Seljuk invasion of the Armenian Highland. Levon, known in the West as Leo, was the first of a dynasty that included his daughter, Queen Zabel. He was a major figure in the Third Crusade, and "Little Armenia" continued to be a Christian bulwark against Islamic expansion until its fall in 1375.-This remarkable collection features six issues from medieval Armenia:-1. Levon I, "The Magnificent" (1198-1219), silver coronation tram -First issues of the founder of the medieval Armenian Kingdom.-Obv: Crowned king seated on throne ornamented with lions, his feet resting on a footstool, bearing cross and fleur-de-lis in his left. Rev: Two lions back to back, two-barred patriarchal cross between them. W: ~3.0 g; D: 20.02-23.2 mm.-2. Hetoum I (1226-1270), copper tank -First king of the Hetoumid dynasty that bears his name.-Obv: King seated cross-legged on a throne adorned with lions, bearing globus cruciger and fleur-de-lis. Rev: Potent cross with four stars or lines. W: ~6.83 g; D: 25.0-30.2 mm.-3. Zabel (1226-52) & Hetoum I (1226-70), silver marriage tram -Queen Zabel, otherwise known as Isabella, wed Hetoum in 1226, uniting rival houses.-Obv: Zabel on left, Hetoum on right, standing in royal vestments, bearing long cross. Rev: Walking lion right, long cross behind. W: ~2.94 g; D: 19-8-23.05 mm.-4. Levon II (1270-1289), copper kardez -Son and heir of Hetoum I, met Marco Polo when the latter visited Armenia in 1271.-Obv: Lion walking. Rev: Cross with four stars in the quadrants. W: ~3.81 g; D: 21.29-24.78mm.-5. Hetoum II (1289-1305), copper kardez -King and occasional monk when Armenia was Mongol vassal state.-Obv: Facing bust of crowned king. Rev: Long cross with two bars, decorations beneath. W: ~3.12 g; D: 19.78-24.71 mm.-6. Levon IV (1320-1342), silver takvorin -Last Hetoumid king of Armenia.-Obv: King on horseback holding reins and mace. Rev: Bushy-tailed lion walking in front of tall cross. W: ~2.29 g; D: 19.32-24.56 mm.