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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Coins (Moderator: Severus_Alexander)  |  Topic: "Medallic" AE4 of Constans - unpublished? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: "Medallic" AE4 of Constans - unpublished?  (Read 350 times)
Maximinvs
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« on: April 07, 2017, 11:22:39 pm »

I recently bought a group of junk coins specifically for this amazing Constans AE4 with consular bust:

D N FL CON-STANS AVG
Rosette diademed right with consular robes and scepter (no mappa that I can see)

VICTOR-IA AVG[G?]
Victory advancing left with wreath and palm branch.

No mintmark

12.9-13.8mm, 1.48g

Unlisted in RIC & Cohen.
Bust unlisted in RIC!
Obverse legend break unlisted in RIC.


It belongs to the 'medallic' AE4 issues of Rome that RIC associates with medallic issues rather than the regular coinage, intended for special distributions. When placed next to a typical contemporary AE4 it is clearly smaller in module and very 'fancy'.

Clearly the coin celebrates one of Constans' consulships. He was consul for the first time in 339 and again in 342 and 346. Obverse legends moved from D N FL CONSTANS AVG to CONSTANS P F AVG around the time of his decennalia in c.342 so it seems probable that this coin was struck for the celebration of Constans' very first consulship in 339AD (at the age of just 16).

Does anyone know of other specimens? I found nothing online...

Cheers,
Ian
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otlichnik
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2017, 08:47:39 am »

What a great coin.  I have seen nothing like it.

I suspect though that the consulship of 342 is more likely than 339.

You are right that PF appears in the late 330s at most mints.  Circa 339 is a good guess as it appears mid-way though the series of Constans' post-accession mint marks.  In other words mid-way between September 337 and early 341.

However, Rome breaks this pattern.  Your exact obverse legend DN FL CONSTANS AVG is used at Rome only after the end of the GLORIA EXERCITVS et all series - thus after early 341.  It is used on the first few issues of the two victories type - VICTORIAE DD AVGG Q NN.  It is used on the two issues of the variant with both victories advancing left (R P and R U P), which was likely struck first, and then on the first issue with the two victories facing each other (R P).  That issue then switched to CONSTANS PF AVG.

I believe (as laid out in a forthcoming work) that a wide variety of victory types were struck at different mints in 341 and that in 342, after the start of the shared consulship and likely at the time of the reported "split" between the two brothers, the types were simplified with the two victories facing in the West and the new vota type in the East.

The types of 341 include the one victory types like VICTORIA AVGVSTORVM at Lugdunum, VICTORIA AVGG at Aquileia and Siscia, and VICTORIA AVG at the Eastern mints as well as Rome's two victories left.

Yours ties into this perfectly.  If regular issue with worn mint mark it would add the single victory type to Rome too.  If, as more likely given the obverse bust and lack of visible mint mark, it is a special medallic issue, then it still is a perfect stylictis match for an issue circa December 341 / January 342.

As a wild card I would also point out RIC-VIII-Rome-56.  This coin, which Kent notes need confirmation and is with uncertain legend break, is reportedly a Constantine II with VIC CONSTANTINVS AVG and regular draped bust with reverse VICTORIA AVG victory advancing left and no mint mark.  In other words it appears to be your exact reverse

Does this coin really exist as described?  Could it be with consular bust too?  Could it be for Constantius instead???  Confirmation of this could could help resolve the dating of yours.  Kent lists it as G, which I think means it is from Voetter's book on the Gerin collection and therefore should be in Vienna.  The fact Kent could not confirm it calls it into question.

SC


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SC
(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)
Maximinvs
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2017, 01:31:03 am »

Thanks for your reply Shawn, interesting to hear about the new Victory types at other mints.

Having the coin in hand, the contrast between the fine portrait style and the regular coinage is massive, it clearly is not part of the regular coinage in my opinion. So not sure how far we can use the regular coinage to date it.

That said, I do agree that it could have been for the second consulship.

On the regular coinage, I see that the 'D N FL CONSTANS AVG' legend (Cn12/13) is well represented from 337AD and persists into the VICTORIAE DD AVGGQ NN issues of the late 340's.

Kent suggests that on medallic issues this legend ceases earlier, around c.342.

A 341-342 date meets both of these, so I think your dating works well.

I can imagine the disappointment of the recipient when receiving such a 'medallion'...don't spend it all at once!

Cheers,
Ian
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romeman
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2017, 03:05:20 am »

Dear Ian and Shawn,

Congratulations Ian to a great find! It is the first one I have seen with this obverse.

The Victoria fractions are interesting and varied. I just published a paper including some of these Victoria types, being associated with the Festival of Isis. I attach a composite figure showing the types that were issued during the reign of Costantine I. These were all figured by me in the paper last year:

Lars Ramskold: A die link study of Constantine’s pagan Festival of Isis tokens and affiliated coin-like ‘fractions’: chronology and relation to major imperial events. Jahrbuch für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte 66, 2016, 157-239 (40 Figures, 7 Plates, 1 Table).

I have many more similar but later Victoria types to be published in coming publications. I attach figures of some of these, related to the consular Constans example.

One figure shows four specimens of RIC VIII 56, so it is confirmed to exist. Note that the reverse legend is in the singular AVG.

Another figure shows the two remaining brothers Constantius and Constans with a similar reverse, but in the plural AVGG. This is where the consular type belongs.

All of the above were struck at the mint of Rome, thus my interest in them.

Best regards,

/Lars
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Joe Sermarini
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2017, 06:05:10 am »

It would be wonderful to have a Festival of Isis tokens page added to NumisWiki.
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Joseph Sermarini
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2017, 07:26:13 am »

Thanks so much for contributing Lars. I will get some better photos for you...as you can see photography is not my thing.

Do you fancy taking a stab at which consulship this was issued for?

Cheers,
Ian
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romeman
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2017, 08:22:04 am »

Shawn and I both conclude 342, arriving from different directions.

My reasoning (and speculation) would go like this:

The VICTORIA AVG issue that I showed is struck for VIC CONSTANTINVS, that is, 337-340. Interestingly, the AVG is in the singular, meaning that these tokens were of a restricted nature, not coins meant to circulate as currency. Otherwise his brothers would have had to be included, if not on some obverses then in the form of AVGGG. But they are not.

The second issue is the VICTORIA AVGG, struck for Constantius and Constans, but wihout Constantine. Again, had he been alive the reverse would have been AVGGG. So we can safely conclude that the AVGG issue was struck after Constantine's death in 340.

Your consular type has the reverse legend AVGG. It cannot belong with the AVG issue, but fits nicely in the AVGG issue.

The choice is then easy: 342.

/Lars
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Maximinvs
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2017, 08:59:18 am »

Ok, 342AD it is then...you've both got me convinced. The reverse does indeed have space for an extra G and there does seem to be something there, though it's not well struck.

Thanks again to Shawn and Lars, very interesting thread...

Cheers,
Ian
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