7-582

RIC VII, CONSTANTINE I, UNLISTED ISSUE [D N CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, BUST H2 l.]

 

OBVERSE

DNCONSTANT-INVSPFAVG [D N CONSTANTINVS P F AVG]; bust l., helmeted, cuir., spear across r. shoulder, shield on l. arm [H2 l.].

REVERSE

Blank but for dot in center.

NOT IN RIC

UNLISTED ISSUE. Not attested in RIC. These enigmatic uniface gold pieces are often pierced or mounted with a loop. They were sometimes described as 'Indian imitations' from later period but modern scholars regard them as official products.

According to Depeyrot, who also made a brief catalogue of them, they were not money but were struck at some western mints as military donatives (Georges Depeyrot, "Les médaillons d’or unifaces du quatrième siècle (318–340)", Italiam fato profugi hesperinaque venerunt litora. Numismatic Studies dedicated to Vladimir and Elvira Eliza Clain-Stefanelli, ed. T. Hackens, Louvain-la-Neuve 1996, p. 165: "[...] ces objets ont été préparés pour des distributions liées aux divers donativa lors des campagnes militaires").

According to Holmes, they were "military merit awards of some sort - badges of status of recognition of achievement or valour" (N.M.McQ. Holmes, "A Uniface Gold Medallion of Constantine II", Numismatic Chronicle 2004, p. 235).

Recently, Bland confirmed "that these medallions were not struck as currency but to be worn". However, he also suggested that "they may have been produced (a) as subsidies for the barbarians [...], or (b) as payment for troops of barbarian origin," because a significant number of these pieces "were found in the barbaricum" (Roger Bland, "Gold for the Barbarians? Uniface Gold Medallions of the House of Constantine Found in Britain and Ireland", Britannia, vol. 43, November 2012, p. 222).

Listed in Cohen (vol. VII, p. 319, no. 763). Listed in Depeyrot's article (p. 168, no. 11). Combination of obv. legend and bust type not attested in RIC VII.

NOTES

AV medallion. Weight 4.14 g; diameter 21.5 mm. Coin sold on Numismatik Lanz auction 123 (lot 885) in May 2005 for EUR 2,300; offered on Numismatik Lanz auction 128 (lot 846) in May 2006 for EUR 2,500; sold on Numismatik Lanz auction 141 (lot 795) in May 2008 for EUR 2,000; offered on Numismatica Ars Classica auction 72 (lot 1708) in May 2013 for CHF 2,400; sold on Naville Numismatics live auction 7 (lot 222) in May 2014 for GBP 1,700.

Other specimens:

- from Numismatik Lanz auction in November 1989 (attributed as official piece from Siscia) (listed in Depeyrot's article as no. 11d but without picture); weight 3.21 g [click for picture];

- from Depeyrot's article (p. 166, no. 11a); weight 4.06 g; obv. legend break N-T [click for picture];

- from Depeyrot's article (p. 166, no. 11b); weight 3.75 g; obv. legend break N-T [click for picture].


NOT IN RIC © 2004 Lech Stępniewski