7-982

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

 

OBVERSE

DNCONSTA[NTIN]VSMAX-AVG [D N CONSTANTINVS MAX 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 Depeyrot's article (p. 168, no. 12). Combination of obv. legend and bust type not attested in RIC VII.

NOTES

AV medallion. Weight 3.76 g; diameter 27 mm. Coin offered on Tkalec auction in May 2006 (lot 247); sold on Künker auction 273 (lot 930) in March 2016 for EUR 3,600.

Other specimens:

- sold on Freeman & Sear auction in July 2003 for $1,200; described and attributed as "AV uniface medalette" and "a jeweler's creation"; weight 3.76 g; obv. legend unbroken [click for picture];

- from Depeyrot's article (p. 166, no. 12a); obv. legend unbroken [click for picture];

- from: Ernest Oberländer-Târnoveanu et al., "Politique et technologie. Observations sur les émissions monétaires romaines d'or de 253 à 364", Revue numismatique 1996, plate XXVI, no. 44; weight 3.41 g [click for picture].


NOT IN RIC © 2004 Lech Stępniewski