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Constantine I, AV Solidus - Very rare, provenanced and well-documented

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  • Constantine I, AV Solidus - Very rare, provenanced and well-documented

    Fellow collectors,

    On Sunday, I had the pleasurable opportunity to pickup this wonderful coin for my Beast Coins store:



    Constantine I, AV Solidus, 327, Nicomedia
    CONSTANTI_NVS MAX AVG
    Rosette-diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right
    CONSTAN_TINVS AVG
    Victory advancing left, trophy in right hand, palm in left
    SMNC in exergue
    21mm, 4.27g
    RIC VII 139 (this coin); Depeyrot 40/1 (this coin)
    Ex Schulman, October 21, 1935, Lot 48

    Grade: EF, light scratches and marks

    A coin of unusual style, atypical of the normal Nicomedia issues. RIC footnotes on p.622-3 "Crude work, the portrait particularly looks odd with its straggling hair and the globular ends of the individual curls, m.m. crudely engraved. The rev. legend suggests a date before the tricennial year as in Antioch, but the rev. type does not fit into the Nicomedian gallery of images. Hesitantly the present writer accepts these coins as genuine. Similar coin struck with m.m. SMTS but with bust E4 without obv. legend; Hirsch coin noted on the plate as silver, in the catalogue as gold; the weight 4.27 gm. indicates solidus standard."

    The Hirsch specimen in the footnote is Hirsch xxxiv, 1558. Depeyrot evidently considered it genuine as he included it in his work.

    Note - I have to look closely at the coin when it arrives at the end of this week as the obverse legend looks to me like _NVS NAX (sic) AVG although it's not noted as such in RIC description or the footnotes. I do not know if the Hirsch specimen is from the same dies.

    A really exciting opportunity to acquire a coin of interesting style and great provenance.

    Enjoy!

    --Zach Beasley
    VCoins Ancients Store:
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  • #2
    Saw that when you listed it. A bit out of my range. Need to raise the cash.

    Thinking of selling my spouse. She may be willing to oblige. You still taking consignments?

    Uncommon variety, seen little circulation, may have high associated maintenance requirements.

    I assume the standard 20 percent fee will still apply.
    .
    .
    "When you are in Rome live in the Roman style; when you are elsewhere live as they live elsewhere" St. Ambrose (340-397) to St. Augustine.

    Comment


    • #3
      Great coin, Zach!

      I tend to think that RIC misdated this one. The long hair would tend to put it at 333+, and RIC does have the same type at Constantinople at that later date. RIC also has the same reverse at Cyzicus dated early where again the long hair points to a later date. As I recall (at work no without references) these three (geographically clustered) mints seem to the only ones issuing this type late - the other mints were issuing VICTORIA CONSTANTINI or somesuch.

      Ben

      Comment


      • #4
        Very nice and if Constantine III might be tempted! As we are on Romans, can someone tell me why this following is Merovingian or even why not standard Byzantine? Sorry to hitch hike your thread Zach!

        Thanks

        Alex

        Merovingian or Barbaric
        In the name of Maurice Tiberius (582-602AD)
        Gold solidus- 4,4 gram
        obv: DN mAVRI CTbPP ANE, draped, cuirassed bust facing, wearing plumed helmet and holding globus cruciger in right hand
        rev: VICTORI A AVGGE, Angel standing facing, holding long staff surmounted by P and globus cruciger, in exergue, CONOB
        Ex-Vanalsenoy; auction 57, lot 55 (picture is on lot 54)
        Attached Files
        The meek shall inherit the earth - so buy a meek

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by 4to2centophilia View Post
          Saw that when you listed it. A bit out of my range. Need to raise the cash.

          Thinking of selling my spouse. She may be willing to oblige. You still taking consignments?

          Uncommon variety, seen little circulation, may have high associated maintenance requirements.

          I assume the standard 20 percent fee will still apply.
          Mark,

          I can't even go there. Although, if you want to throw in a kid or two, I might consider it...



          --Beast
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          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Congius View Post
            Great coin, Zach!

            I tend to think that RIC misdated this one. The long hair would tend to put it at 333+, and RIC does have the same type at Constantinople at that later date. RIC also has the same reverse at Cyzicus dated early where again the long hair points to a later date. As I recall (at work no without references) these three (geographically clustered) mints seem to the only ones issuing this type late - the other mints were issuing VICTORIA CONSTANTINI or somesuch.

            Ben
            Thanks Ben! I'll look into it. Interesting proposal.

            --Beast
            VCoins Ancients Store:
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            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by AlexB View Post
              Very nice and if Constantine III might be tempted! As we are on Romans, can someone tell me why this following is Merovingian or even why not standard Byzantine? Sorry to hitch hike your thread Zach!

              Thanks

              Alex

              Merovingian or Barbaric
              In the name of Maurice Tiberius (582-602AD)
              Gold solidus- 4,4 gram
              obv: DN mAVRI CTbPP ANE, draped, cuirassed bust facing, wearing plumed helmet and holding globus cruciger in right hand
              rev: VICTORI A AVGGE, Angel standing facing, holding long staff surmounted by P and globus cruciger, in exergue, CONOB
              Ex-Vanalsenoy; auction 57, lot 55 (picture is on lot 54)
              Alex,

              Stylistically, clearly not Constantinople or Antioch mint Maurice Tiberius. Compare to these:



              Maurice Tiberius, AV Solidus, 582-602, Constantinople, Officina 3
              d N mAVRC-Tib P P AVG
              Pearl-diademed, helmeted with plume, draped, cuirassed bust facing, globus cruciger in right hand
              VICTORI_A AVGG G
              Angel standing facing, long staff surmounted by christogram in right hand, globus cruciger in left
              CONOB in exergue
              21mm x 23mm, 4.44g
              SB 478



              Maurice Tiberius, AV Solidus, 582-602, Constantinople, Officina 6
              d N mAVRC-Tib P P AVG
              Pearl-diademed, helmeted with plume, draped, cuirassed bust facing, globus cruciger in right hand
              VICTORI_A AVGG S
              Angel standing facing, long staff surmounted by christogram in right hand, globus cruciger in left
              CONOB in exergue
              20mm x 21mm, 4.44g
              SB 478



              Maurice Tiberius, AV Light Weight Solidus of 23 Siliquae, 583-601, Constantinople (or Theoupolis/Antioch), Officina 10
              O N mAVRC-TIb PP AVI
              Broad draped and cuirass bust of Maurice Tiberius facing, wearing plumed helmet, globus cruciger in right hand, * in right field
              VICTORI_A AVGG I
              Angel standing facing, long staff surmounted by chi-rho in right hand, globus cruciger in left
              * in right field
              CONOB in exergue
              20mm x 21mm, 4.22g
              SB 528 (Antioch); MIB 11 (Constantinople); DOC 150d (Antioch)

              Note: Authenticated by David Sear on December 13, 2005 and described as "EF and scarce, graffiti in obverse and reverse fields."

              Your example is far finer in style to these.

              --Beast
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              • #8
                Thanks. but...

                begs the question, why would Merovingian and/or Barbarix be better than the originals?

                Carthage?

                Brgds

                Alex
                The meek shall inherit the earth - so buy a meek

                Comment


                • #9
                  Alex,

                  Just because an issue is imitating an issue of another culture doesn't mean it has to be "inferior". There are many examples where the imitative piece is "nicer" than that it copies. Here's a Visigothic example, imitating Valentinian III and is every bit as nice as the Roman Imperial pieces.



                  Visigoths in the name of Valentinian III, AV Tremissis, c.439-455, Toulouse (?)
                  D N PLA VALENTINIANVS P F AVG
                  Pearl-diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right
                  (No legend)
                  Cross surrounded by wreath terminating in large jewel, decorated at base with curved disjointed ties flanking XIIX
                  COMOB in exergue
                  14mm, 1.50g
                  RIC X, 3722 (R4); Reinhart --; Cohen --
                  Ex Triton X, Lot 819, January 2007 (Misattributed as RIC X, 2064 - official Imperial Issue); Ex Marc Poncin Collection

                  Grade: gVF, slight die shift on obverse

                  Notes from David Sear CoA of April 19, 2007: (Note: David Sear misattributed this coin as RIC X 3721; Reinhart 32-6; Cohen 49 on the certificate. The difference being 3721 has rosette-diademed portrait and is common, versus 3722 showing pearl-diademed portrait and extremely rare. The pearl-diademed portrait is not listed in Reinhart or Cohen. Also, although the plate is too small to be certain, this coin appears to be from the same dies as the example on Plate 77):

                  Placidius Valentinianus was born July 2, 419. He was the son of the western co-Emperor Constantius III, who reigned briefly in 421 and the Empress Galla Placidia, half-sister of Arcadius and Honorius and granddaughter of Valentinian I. In the year following the death of Constantius III (422), Placidia quarreled with Honorius and fled the western court at Ravenna, taking with her her young children, the future Emperor Valentinian III and his older sister, Justa Gratia Honoria. The found refuge in Constantinople at the court of Placidia's nephew, the eastern Emperor Theodosius II, and there remained until the western throne was usurped by John (Johannes) following the death of Honorius on August 15, 423. Two years earlier, Theodosius II had refused to recognize the elevation by Honorius of the co-Emperor Constantius III and was now equally reluctant to extend recognition to Constantius' son, the young Valentinian. However, Theodosius soon realized the impossibility of trying to rule both East and West (the last Emperor to do this was his grandfather, Theodosius the Great, three decades before) and instead decided to support Valentinian's claim to the western throne by sending an army to overthrow John. This was accomplished in 425 and on October 23, Valentinian III was officially recognized by Theodosius II as his imperial colleague in the West. Valentinian III was to reign ingloriously for 30 years, a period which witnessed the steady dissolution of the western division of the Empire, before finally succumbing to the assassin's dagger on March 16, 455.

                  The coinage of this long reign is surprisingly scarce, a testament to the rapid decline in the power and financial resources of the Western Empire. Of the three monetary metals, gold was minted most abundantly, principally from Ravenna and Rome in the West, occasionally supplemented by issues from Constantinople made by Valentinian's eastern colleague Theodosius II. The western gold was frequently imitated by the barbarian tribes who had invaded and settled in much of the territory of the Western Empire.

                  This attractive gold tremissis (one-third solidus) has the characteristics of an issue attributed by Kent (in RIC X) to the Visigoths in south-western Gaul. Characterized by the distinctive form of the wreath and its ties, these coins were inspired by the contemporary imperial issues from the Ravenna mint (cf. RICX, pl. 51) and belong to the second half of the reign.

                  The Visigoths had crossed the lower Danube in 376 and two years later, under Fritigern, had defeated the Romans under Valens at the disastrous battle of Adrianople, in which the emperor lost his life. Later, under Alaric, they devastated Greece and migrated to Italy, where, in August of 410, they sacked Rome. Thereafter, they moved to Gaul and Spain and in 418 settled as Federates between the mouths of the Garonne and the Loire, with their capital at Toulouse. Here, they pursued a fluctuating relationship with Romans and during periods of peace they produced a surprisingly extensive imitative coinage using imperial issues as their prototypes. These issues may even have been sanctioned by the imperial government to make good a shortage of currency in the western provinces.

                  --Zach
                  VCoins Ancients Store:
                  http://www.vcoins.com/beastcoins

                  VCoins US/Banknotes Store:
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                  http://www.beastcoins.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Very interesting thanks. Im still not sure how this coin is not considered standard Byzantine. Is it that no officina (is that right?) known for usual mints?

                    Brgds

                    Alex
                    The meek shall inherit the earth - so buy a meek

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BeastCoins View Post
                      Fellow collectors,

                      On Sunday, I had the pleasurable opportunity to pickup this wonderful coin for my Beast Coins store:



                      Constantine I, AV Solidus, 327, Nicomedia
                      CONSTANTI_NVS MAX AVG
                      Rosette-diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right
                      CONSTAN_TINVS AVG
                      Victory advancing left, trophy in right hand, palm in left
                      SMNC in exergue
                      21mm, 4.27g
                      RIC VII 139 (this coin); Depeyrot 40/1 (this coin)
                      Ex Schulman, October 21, 1935, Lot 48

                      Grade: EF, light scratches and marks

                      A coin of unusual style, atypical of the normal Nicomedia issues. RIC footnotes on p.622-3 "Crude work, the portrait particularly looks odd with its straggling hair and the globular ends of the individual curls, m.m. crudely engraved. The rev. legend suggests a date before the tricennial year as in Antioch, but the rev. type does not fit into the Nicomedian gallery of images. Hesitantly the present writer accepts these coins as genuine. Similar coin struck with m.m. SMTS but with bust E4 without obv. legend; Hirsch coin noted on the plate as silver, in the catalogue as gold; the weight 4.27 gm. indicates solidus standard."

                      The Hirsch specimen in the footnote is Hirsch xxxiv, 1558. Depeyrot evidently considered it genuine as he included it in his work.

                      Note - I have to look closely at the coin when it arrives at the end of this week as the obverse legend looks to me like _NVS NAX (sic) AVG although it's not noted as such in RIC description or the footnotes. I do not know if the Hirsch specimen is from the same dies.

                      A really exciting opportunity to acquire a coin of interesting style and great provenance.

                      Enjoy!

                      --Zach Beasley
                      Well, 17 days later, but the coin FINALLY arrived. Who knew registered mail from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin was so S-L-O-W....

                      Anyway, now that I have the coin in hand, I can confirm the obverse legend is indeed MAX, although the M is clumsily executed and looks like an N, except for the right leg being a touch thicker and obviously meant to have been an M.

                      The exergue is quite interesting - in hand it is quite clearly SMNA with C over A. The C is higher than the other letters, explained by the recut of just that letter in the die. The top serif and bottom two serifs are all visible of the undertype. Perhaps the original exergual mark of SMNA will help firmly date the coin. It certainly adds mystery to an already unusual piece!

                      --Beast
                      VCoins Ancients Store:
                      http://www.vcoins.com/beastcoins

                      VCoins US/Banknotes Store:
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                      VCoins World Store:
                      http://www.vcoins.com/world/beastcoins

                      Beast Coins Research Site:
                      http://www.beastcoins.com

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BeastCoins View Post
                        Well, 17 days later, but the coin FINALLY arrived. Who knew registered mail from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin was so S-L-O-W....

                        --Beast
                        Dairy Cows are not the fastest method of transportation. I thought you knew that.
                        .
                        .
                        "When you are in Rome live in the Roman style; when you are elsewhere live as they live elsewhere" St. Ambrose (340-397) to St. Augustine.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 4to2centophilia View Post
                          Dairy Cows are not the fastest method of transportation. I thought you knew that.
                          Well, the dairy cows were probably scared talking to the beef cattle who know when they come to my house they will have a different fate....
                          VCoins Ancients Store:
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                          • #14
                            I would think that the hardest part of being a coin dealer is having part with specimens like this. I guess you get to see them close-up 'in the flesh' at least.

                            Richard

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Richard,

                              Believe me, it's killing me to offer this one instead of keeping it for my own collection. I've put up for sale in my store quite a few coins from my personal collection this year trying to get bills paid off so I can keep getting in neat coins like this, but it sure would be nice to be able to hold on to this one for a while (although I have to finish paying for it next week)!

                              --Zach
                              VCoins Ancients Store:
                              http://www.vcoins.com/beastcoins

                              VCoins US/Banknotes Store:
                              http://www.vcoins.com/us/beastcoins

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                              Beast Coins Research Site:
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