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Constantine the Great, early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.
Flavius Valerius Constantinus, Constantine the Great, was the son of Helena and the First Tetrarchic ruler Constantius I. Constantine is most famous for his conversion to Christianity after the battle of the Milvian Bridge where he defeated emperor Maxentius. Before the battle, he saw the words "In Hoc Signo Victor Eris" (By this sign you shall conquer) emblazoned on the sun around the Chi Rho, the symbol of Christianity. After placing this Christogram on the shields of his army, he defeated his opponent and thus ruled the empire through divine providence. He also shifted the capital of the empire to Constantinople, establishing the foundation for an Empire that would last another 1000 years. He died in 337 and his sons divided the Roman territories.
Sear notes the VI following the officina letter may be a mark of value indicating six scrupula.RL76361. Billoncentenionalis, RIC VIIThessalonica 88 (R4), SRCV IV 16201, Cohen 119 (5 fr.), VF, nice green patina, well centered, some porosity, light cleaning marks, weight 2.342 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, c. 320 A.D.; obverseCONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse D N CONSTANTINI AVG, VOT XX, TSΓVI in exergue, no wreath; very rare; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00
It is no wonder this type is rare. Nicomedia belonged to Licinius. In 321, Constantine pursued some Sarmatians, who had been ravaging territory in his realm, across the Danube into Licinius' territory. When he repeated this chasing Goths who had pillaged in Thrace, Licinius complained that Constantine had broken their treaty. Soon after this issue began, the co-emperors were at war. In 324, this same type was struck for Martinian, who Licinius, after being defeated by Constantine at Adrianople, had appointed as his co-emperor and Constantine's nominal replacement in the west.
The XIIΓ probably indicates that the follis was retariffed to 12 1/2 denarii communes.RT76372. Billonfollis, RIC VIINicomedia p. 607, 43 (R4); SRCV IV 15950, Cohen VII 292; Hunter V -, VF, excellent centering, cleaning scratches, light corrosion, weight 2.870 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 321 - 324 A.D.; obverse IMP C FL VAL CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust right; reverseIOVI CONSERVATORI (to Jupiter the protector), Jupiter standing facing, head left, nude but for chlamys over left shoulder, Victory on globe offering wreath in his right hand, eagle-topped scepter vertical in left, eagle with wreath in beak standing left on left, X/IIΓ on right above bearded captive at feet seated right with head turned looking back at Jupiter, SMNB in exergue; very rare; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00
The reverselegend abbreviates, VictoriaeLaetae Principium Perpertua, which translates, "Joyous victory to the eternal Prince." VOT P R on the shield abbreviates, Vota Populi Romani, which translates, "Vows (prayers) of the Roman people."RL77186. Billoncentenionalis, RIC VII Trier 209 (R1), SRCV IV 16297, Cohen VII 640, Hunter V -, Choice EF, much silvering, some luster, areas of mild porosity, weight 3.096 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 318 - 319 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG, laureate, helmeted and cuirassedbust right; reverseVICTORIAELAETAEPRINCPERP (joyous eternal victories of the prince), two Victories holding shield inscribed VOT / P R over altar, STR in exergue; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00
In 321, Constantine I assigned convicts to grind Rome's flour in a move to hold back the rising price of food in an empire whose population had shrunk as a result of plague.RL76394. Billoncentenionalis, RIC VIILondon 185 (R2), SRCV IV 16315, Cohen VII 690, Choice EF, attractive style, excellent strike, some silvering, weight 2.941 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 195o, 1st officina, Londinium (London, England) mint, 320 - 321 A.D.; obverse CONSTA-NTINVS AVG, helmeted and cuirassedbust right; reverseVIRTVS EXERCIT (courage of the army), vexillum inscribed VOT / XX in two lines, two captives seated at base facing outward, the one on the left with hand to face in attitude of mourning, the one on the right with hands bound behind and turned looking back left, PLON in exergue; from the Scott Collection; $145.00 SALE PRICE $131.00
In 318, Constantine was given the title BritannicusMaximus for victories in Britain. The details of the battles are unknown.RL71415. Billonfollis, Depeyrot EMA15/4, RIC VII 164, SRCV IV 16083, Cohen VII 536, Nice VF, attractive green patina with red earthen highlighting, weight 3.616 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 315o, 1st officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 318 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right; reverseSOLI INVICTOCOMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for cloak over shoulders, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, P star in crescent in exergue; scarce; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00
Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274 the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them. The date 25 December was selected for Christmas to replace the popular Roman festival Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun."SH71416. Billonfollis, RIC VII Lyons 35 (R4), SRCV IV 16069, Cohen VII -, VF, nice armored bust left, sea green patina, light scratches, weight 3.142 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 314 - 316 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassedbust left; reverseSOLI INVICTOCOMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, TF left, star right, PLG in exergue; very rare; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00
The reverselegend abbreviates, VictoriaeLaetae Principium Perpertua, which translates, "Joyous victory to the eternal Prince." VOT P R on the shield abbreviates, Vota Populi Romani, which translates, "Vows (prayers) of the Roman people."RL79962. Billoncentenionalis, RIC VIISiscia 61 (R1), Cohen VII 637, SRCV IV 16303, Hunter V -, VF, fantastic armed bust, well centered, corrosion, reverse rough, weight 2.408 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 319 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTAN-TINVS AVG, helmeted and cuirassedbust left, helmet with high crest and ornamented with stars, spear in right hand across right shoulder, shield on left shoulder ornamented with a horseman riding right with his cloak flying behind; reverseVICTORIAELAETAEPRINCPERP (joyous eternal victories of the prince), two Victories holding between them a shield inscribed VOT P R set on altar, BSIS• in exergue; rare with this shield; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00
Thracian or Germanic Tribes, Pseudo-Imperial Coinage, Mid 4th - Early 5th Century A.D.
This type was minted by and used as currency by tribes outside the Roman empire in Thrace. It copied a Roman votive type issued under Constantine the Great. The inscriptions are made up of illiterate imitations of letters.CE76987. Bronze AE 18, Imitative of Crispus types, for prototypes see RIC VII p. 379 ff. (official Roman, Ticinum mint, c. 320 - 325 A.D.), Choice VF, nice green patina, weight 2.047 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, tribal mint, mid 4th - early 5th century A.D.; obverse laureate bust left, illiterate blundered imitation of a legend; reverse blundered VOT X within wreath, illiterate blundered limitation of a legend around, ST in exergue; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00
This coin refers Constantine's victory in the Sarmatian war in 322 A.D. According to Zosimus (lib. 2), Constantine routed the Sarmatae and drove them back beyond the Danube where they rallied to renew the fight. He defeated them and again put them to flight, taking a great number of prisoners. Their king, Rausimodus, was left among the slain. RL84283. Billoncentenionalis, Hunter V 65 (also 2nd officina), RIC VII Trier 435, Cohen VII 487, SRCV IV 16284, Choice EF, sharp attractive portrait, well centered and struck, some porosity, weight 3.173 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 323 - 324 A.D.; obverseCONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverseSARMATIA DEVICTA (Samartia vanquished), Victory advancing right, treading on captive with left foot, trophy in right hand, palm frond in left hand, STR crescent in exergue; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00
This coin refers Constantine's victory in the Sarmatian war in 322 A.D. According to Zosimus (lib. 2), Constantine routed the Sarmatae and drove them back beyond the Danube where they rallied to renew the fight. He defeated them and again put them to flight, taking a great number of prisoners. Their king, Rausimodus, was left among the slain.RL84286. Billoncentenionalis, Hunter V 63 (also 1st officina), RIC VII Trier 435, Cohen VII 487, SRCV IV 16284, Choice gVF, well centered and struck, nice dark patina and surfaces, flan crack, weight 2.709 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 323 - 324 A.D.; obverseCONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverseSARMATIA DEVICTA (Samartia vanquished), Victory advancing right, treading on captive with left foot, trophy in right hand, palm frond in left hand, PTR crescent in exergue; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00
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