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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Roman Mints| ▸ |Serdica||View Options:  |  |  |   

Serdica, Dacia Mediterranea (Sophia, Bulgaria)

Sofia was originally a Thracian settlement called Serdica, probably named after the Celtic tribe Serdi that had populated it. Around 29 B.C., Sofia was conquered by the Romans and renamed Ulpia Serdica. When Emperor Diocletian divided the province of Dacia into Dacia Ripensis (on the banks of the Danube) and Dacia Mediterranea, Serdica became the capital of Dacia Mediterranea. Serdica was of moderate size, but magnificent as an urban concept of planning and architecture, with abundant amusements and an active social life. Dates of operation: 272 - 282, 303 - 308 and 313 - 314. Mintmarks: SD, SER, SERD, SMSD.


Constantius I, May 305 - 25 July 306 A.D.

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SH56952. Silver argenteus, RIC VI Serdica 11a, RSC V 304A corr., Cohen VII -, Choice aEF, weight 3.326 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, as Augustus, 305 - 306 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse VIRTVS MILITVM (courage of the soldiers), campgate with three turrets,•SM•SD∆• in exergue; near full circles strike; rare (R4); SOLD


Probus, Summer 276 - September

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Probus marched against the enemies of Rome in Gaul and Germany. Several battles were fought and Probus left 400,000 barbarians dead in the field. After similar success against the Sarmatians, Probus had successfully quelled and terrified to peace the numerous barbarian tribes of the north. He then marched through Syria against the Blemmyes in the neighborhood of Egypt and defeated them with great slaughter. The military character of the emperor was so well established, that the king of Persia sued for peace and attempted to buy Probus' favor with the most splendid presents. Probus was feasting upon the most common food when the ambassadors were introduced. Without even casting his eyes upon them, he said that if their master did not give proper satisfaction to Rome, he would lay Persia as desolate and as naked as the crown of his head. As he spoke the Emperor took off his cap and showed the baldness of his head to the ambassadors. His conditions were gladly accepted by the Persian monarch.
SH35032. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 884 var. (officina and bust), Choice VF, well centered, unusual bust, weight 3.223 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 180o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 277 A.D.; obverse PERPETVO IMP C PROBO AVG, radiate, helmeted and cuirassed bust left, spear in right, shield in left; reverse VIRTVS PROBI AVG (the valor of Emperor Probus), Probus galloping right, spearing fallen horseman; rare; SOLD


Florianus, June or July - August or September 276 A.D.

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RIC only lists officinae A and B without KA. Rare and superb
SH80379. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V-1 112 var., superb EF, weight 3.632 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 180o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 276 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AN FLORIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse PROVIDEN DEOR (the foresight of the gods), Providentia holding two standards standing left, Sol raising hand and holding globe in the right, star in between, ∆ in exergue; very sharp, extraordinary coin!; very rare; SOLD


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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The name and the image of the sun god were frequently displayed on the coins of Rome. Apollo, in particular, was the object of homage in those dreadful times when the spread of plague depopulated the empire. But in the period when paganism was falling to the spread of Christianity, the emperors invoked the sun god Sol more than ever. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Saint Augustine found it necessary to preach against them.
RB42430. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 865 (S), Cohen VI 684, SRCV III -, Hunter IV -, aEF, well centered and struck, much silvering, edge crack, weight 3.223 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 180o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 280 - 281 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS PIVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse SOLI INVICTO (to the invincible sun god), Sol standing in a facing quadriga, radiate, raising right hand commanding sunrise, whip and globe in left hand, cloak billowing out behind, KA•B• in exergue; rare obverse legend; SOLD


Severus II, 25 July 306 - Summer 307 A.D.

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In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Emperor, etc. The legend GENIO POPVLI ROMANI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Roman People. Genius' image is of a man with a cloak half covering the shoulders leaving the rest of his body naked, holding a cornucopia in one hand, and a simpulum or a patera in the other.
SH27770. Billon follis, RIC VI Serdica 13a, VF, weight 8.304 g, maximum diameter 27.8 mm, die axis 180o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, 1 May 305 - 25 Jul 306 A.D.; obverse FL VAL SEVERVS NOB CAESAR, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPV - LI ROMANI, Genius standing slightly left, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, kalathos on head, pouring libations from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, Γ in right field, •SM•SD• in exergue; flat area on reverse; SOLD


Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D.

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The epithet Invictus in the obverse legend translates, "the invincible" or "the undefeated."

In 274, Rome greeted Aurelian as Restitutor Orbis ("Restorer of the World") and accorded him a magnificent triumph (victory procession), which was graced by his captives Tetricus I and his son Tetricus II. Aurelian's conquests of the Palmyran Empire and the Gallic Empire reunited the Roman Empire.
SL89708. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 2787, RIC V-1 301, Venèra 10030 - 10033 10732, BnF XII 1048, SRCV III 11593, NGC MS, strike 4/5, surface 4/5, silvering, die shift, weight 3.72 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, issue 8, phase 2, Nov 274 - Sep 275 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS INVICTVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVT OR-BIS, Aurelian on right standing left, extending right to woman standing confronted and offering him a wreath, star lower center, KA•Γ• in exergue; ex Solidus Numismatik auction 11 (14 Jan 2017), 426; SOLD


Constantius I, May 305 - 25 July 306 A.D.

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In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Emperor, etc. The legend GENIO POPVLI ROMANI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Roman people. Genius' image is of a man with a cloak half covering the shoulders leaving the rest of his body naked, holding a cornucopia in one hand, and a simpulum or a patera in the other.
RT71563. Billon follis, RIC VI Serdica 4a, Cohen VII 89, SRCV IV 14058, Choice aEF, perfect bold full-circles strike on a broad flan, some light corrosion, weight 9.729 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, 303 - 305 A.D.; obverse FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOB CAES, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius standing left, modius on head, naked except for chlamys over shoulder, pouring liquor from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, A right, •SM•SD• in exergue; fantastic!; SOLD


Severus II, 25 July 306 - Summer 307 A.D.

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In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Emperor, etc. The legend GENIO POPVLI ROMANI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Roman People. Genius' image is of a man with a cloak half covering the shoulders leaving the rest of his body naked, holding a cornucopia in one hand, and a simpulum or a patera in the other.
RB07650. Billon follis, RIC VI Serdica 13a, Choice EF, weight 12.03 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 330o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, 1 May 305 - 25 Jul 306 A.D.; obverse FL VAL SEVERVS NOB CAESAR, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius standing slightly left, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, kalathos on head, pouring libations from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, A in right field, •SM•SD• in exergue; from the Scott Collection; SOLD


Florianus, June or July - August or September 276 A.D.

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MER-RIC lists two known specimens. This coin is one of the two listed.
SH12491. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 4491 (this coin, 2 spec), RIC V-1 195, VF, weight 3.046 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 225o, 4th officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, Jul 276 A.D.; obverse IMP C M ANNIVS FLORIANVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PROVIDEN DEOR (the foresight of the gods), Providentia standing left holding two standards, Sol raising hand and holding globe in left hand, star in between, KA∆ in exergue; SOLD


Florianus, June or July - August or September 276 A.D.

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Florianus, the half brother of Tacitus, was proclaimed emperor in the Western provinces after the latter's death. In the East Probus was declared emperor and the two marched against each other. Before a decisive battle could take place, Florian was murdered by his own soldiers. He "wore the purple" for less than 3 months. The star on reverse may represent a comet that was visible from June to September 276 A.D.
RA88305. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 4493 (15 spec), BnF XII 1971, RIC V-1 111, Cohen VI 71, SRCV III -, Hunter IV -, Venèra -, Choice EF, well centered and struck, sharp detail, porosity, closed edge crack, weight 3.791 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 1st issue, Jul 276 A.D.; obverse IMP C M ANN FLORIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse PROVIDEN DEOR (the foresight of the gods), Providentia on left, standing slightly right holding two standards, Sol on left, raising right hand commanding sunrise, globe in left hand, star low in center, KA∆ in exergue; ex Nemesis Ancients; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Gautier, G. "Le monnayage d'argent de Serdica après la réforme de Dioclétien" in RN XXXIII (1991).
Gysen, P. "Nouvelles données concernant l'atelier de Serdica sous le règne de Probus" in RBN CXLVI (2000).
Zanchi, P. "Quelques nouveaux antoniniens de Serdica" in SM 120 (November 1980).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, November 20, 2019.
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Serdica