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Constantine the Great, early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.
Flavius Valerius Constantinus, Constantine the Great, was the son of Helena and the First Tetrarchic ruler Constantius I. Constantine is most famous for his conversion to Christianity after the battle of the Milvian Bridge where he defeated emperor Maxentius. Before the battle, he saw the words "In Hoc Signo Victor Eris" (By this sign you shall conquer) emblazoned on the sun around the Chi Rho, the symbol of Christianity. After placing this Christogram on the shields of his army, he defeated his opponent and thus ruled the empire through divine providence. He also shifted the capital of the empire to Constantinople, establishing the foundation for an Empire that would last another 1000 years. He died in 337 and his sons divided the Roman territories.
The reverselegend dedicates this coin to the courage and valor of the army.RL79117. Billoncentenionalis, RIC VII Lyons 113 (R1), Bastien Lyon 65, SRCV IV 16320, Cohen VII 689, Hunter V -, Choice EF, well centered bold strike, much silvering, weight 3.340 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 321 A.D.; obverseCONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassedbust right; reverseVIRTVS EXERCIT, two captives flanking vexillum inscribed VOT / XX, C left, R right, PLC in exergue; rare; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00
Sear notes the VI following the officina letter may be a mark of value indicating six scrupula.RL76361. Billoncentenionalis, RIC VIIThessalonica 88 (R4), SRCV IV 16201, Cohen 119 (5 fr.), VF, nice green patina, well centered, some porosity, light cleaning marks, weight 2.342 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, c. 320 A.D.; obverseCONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse D N CONSTANTINI AVG, VOT XX, TSΓVI in exergue, no wreath; very rare; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00
It is no wonder this type is rare. Nicomedia belonged to Licinius. In 321, Constantine pursued some Sarmatians, who had been ravaging territory in his realm, across the Danube into Licinius' territory. When he repeated this chasing Goths who had pillaged in Thrace, Licinius complained that Constantine had broken their treaty. Soon after this issue began, the co-emperors were at war. In 324, this same type was struck for Martinian, who Licinius, after being defeated by Constantine at Adrianople, had appointed as his co-emperor and Constantine's nominal replacement in the west.
The XIIΓ probably indicates that the follis was retariffed to 12 1/2 denarii communes.RT76372. Billonfollis, RIC VIINicomedia p. 607, 43 (R4); SRCV IV 15950, Cohen VII 292; Hunter V -, VF, excellent centering, cleaning scratches, light corrosion, weight 2.870 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 321 - 324 A.D.; obverse IMP C FL VAL CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassedbust right; reverseIOVI CONSERVATORI, Jupiter standing facing, head left, nude but for chlamys over left shoulder, Victory on globe offering wreath in his right hand, eagle topped scepter vertical in left, eagle with wreath in beak standing left on left, X/IIΓ on right above bearded captive at feet seated right with head turned looking back at Jupiter, SMNB in exergue; very rare; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00
In 321, Constantine I assigned convicts to grind Rome's flour in a move to hold back the rising price of food in an empire whose population had shrunk as a result of plague.RL76394. Billoncentenionalis, RIC VIILondon 185 (R2), SRCV IV 16315, Cohen VII 690, Choice EF, attractive style, excellent strike, some silvering, weight 2.941 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 195o, 1st officina, Londinium (London, England) mint, 320 - 321 A.D.; obverse CONSTA-NTINVS AVG, helmeted and cuirassedbust right; reverseVIRTVS EXERCIT, vexillum inscribed VOT / XX in two lines, two captives seated at base facing outward, the one on the left with hand to face in attitude of mourning, the one on the right with hands bound behind and turned looking back left, PLON in exergue; from the Scott Collection; $165.00 SALE PRICE $149.00
The reverselegend abbreviates, VictoriaeLaetae Principium Perpertua, which translates, "Joyous victory to the eternal Prince." VOT P R on the shield abbreviates, Vota Populi Romani, which translates, "Vows (prayers) of the Roman people."RL77186. Billoncentenionalis, RIC VII Trier 209 (R1), SRCV IV 16297, Cohen VII 640, Hunter V -, Choice EF, much silvering, some luster, areas of mild porosity, weight 3.096 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 318 - 319 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG, laureate, helmeted and cuirassedbust right; reverseVICTORIAELAETAEPRINCPERP, two Victories holding shield inscribed VOT / P R over altar, STR in exergue; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00
Coins of this issue normally weight 4 - 5 grams. This type with the same mintmark and controls was also struck 313 - 315 A.D. but on a lighter standard. This coin is a little light for the early issue but the style is correct for 310 - 313 A.D.RL77134. Billonfollis, RIC VITreveri 872, SRCV IV 16060, Cohen VII 525, Choice EF, well centered, excellent portrait, some areas with porosity, weight 4.086 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 310 - 313 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate and cuirassedbust right; reverseSOLI INVICTOCOMITI, Sol standing slightly left left, radiate, nude but for cloak over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, T - F divided across field, PTR in exergue; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00
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 legendGENIO POP ROM 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.RL77178. Billonfollis, RIC VILugdunum 255 (S), Bastien XI 470 (122 specimens), SRCV IV 15921, Cohen VII 215, Choice EF, well centered, nice portrait, nice green patina some copper high spots, centers a little weak, slightest porosity, weight 6.260 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, autumn 307 - summer 308 A.D.; obverse IMP C CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverseGENIO POP ROM, Genius standing left, modius on head, bare to the waist, himation around hips and legs and over left arm, sacrificing from patera in right hand over flaming altar at feet on left, cornucopia in left hand, PLG in exergue; scarce; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00
In 318, Constantine was given the title BritannicusMaximus for victories in Britain. The details of the battles are unknown.RL71415. Billonfollis, Depeyrot EMA15/4, RIC VII 164, SRCV IV 16083, Cohen VII 536, Nice VF, attractive green patina with red earthen highlighting, weight 3.616 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 315o, 1st officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 318 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right; reverseSOLI INVICTOCOMITI, Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for cloak over shoulders, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, P star in crescent in exergue; scarce; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00
Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274 the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them. The date 25 December was selected for Christmas to replace the popular Roman festival Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun."SH71416. Billonfollis, RIC VII Lyons 35 (R4), SRCV IV 16069, Cohen VII -, VF, nice armored bust left, sea green patina, light scratches, weight 3.142 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 314 - 316 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassedbust left; reverseSOLI INVICTOCOMITI, Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, TF left, star right, PLG in exergue; very rare; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00
The reverselegend abbreviates, VictoriaeLaetae Principium Perpertua, which translates, "Joyous victory to the eternal Prince." VOT P R on the shield abbreviates, Vota Populi Romani, which translates, "Vows (prayers) of the Roman people."RL79962. Billoncentenionalis, RIC VIISiscia 61 (R1), Cohen VII 637, SRCV IV 16303, Hunter V -, VF, fantastic armed bust, well centered, corrosion, reverse rough, weight 2.408 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 319 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTAN-TINVS AVG, helmeted and cuirassedbust left, helmet with high crest and ornamented with stars, spear in right hand across right shoulder, shield on left shoulder ornamented with a horseman riding right with his cloak flying behind; reverseVICTORIAELAETAEPRINCPERP, two Victories holding between them a shield inscribed VOT P R set on altar, BSIS• in exergue; rare with this shield; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00
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