7-583

RIC VII, CONSTANTINE I, UNLISTED ISSUE [D N CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG, BUST C2]

 

OBVERSE

DNCONSTANTI-NVSMAXAVG [D N CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG]; bust r., rad., dr., cuir., seen from back [C2].

REVERSE

B 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 Depeyrot's article (p. 169, no. 16). Combination of obv. legend and bust type not attested in RIC VII.

NOTES

AV medallion. Weight 4.21 g; diameter 21 mm. Coin sold on CNG Mail Bid Sale 72 (lot 1778) in June 2006 for $1,750 (attributed as "Indian imitation"); offered on ACR auction 15 (lot 792) in April 2015 for EUR 4,800; sold on Bertolami Fine Arts auction 24, session 2 (lot 938) in June 2016 for GBP 4,000; sold on CNG auction 109 (lot 715) in September 2018 for $4,750.

Other specimens:

- sold on Obolos Webauction 10 (lot 484) in June 2018 for CHF 1,900; weight 3.67 g; diameter 20 mm [click for picture].

- from Depeyrot's article (p. 167, no. 16a); weight 3.84 g [click for picture].


NOT IN RIC © 2004 Lech Stępniewski