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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Constantinian Era ▸ Constantine the GreatView Options:  |  |  |   

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.


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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."
RL86760. Billon follis, RIC VI Treveri 890, Cohen VII 511, SRCV IV16125, Hunter V 45 var. (obv. leg., misdescribed), Choice aEF, excellent centering, brown surfaces, traces of silvering, small closed flan crack, weight 3.649 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 180o, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 310 - 313 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI, radiate and draped bust of Sol, from behind; from the Davis Collection (purchased privately from CNG (866261, $245, Aug 2010); $280.00 (€238.00)
 


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The Romans built temples and struck many coin types for valor, hope, health, fidelity, harmony, honor, peace, victory, and security, and rendered peculiar devotion to the fickle divinity of fortune; yet to the preeminent virtue Sapientia (wisdom), no altar was raised, no acknowledgment of tutelary influence offered, until the time of Licinius and Constantine. Wisdom, the sovereign mistress of human existence and advancement, in the all the mintage of Rome, was recognize only by this tiny issue of the joint emperors.
SH87288. Bronze quarter follis, RIC VII Rome 16 (R3); SRCV IV 16164, Cohen VII 485, gVF, well centered, nice portrait, some reverse legend weak, edge cracks, some minor porosity, weight 0.875 g, maximum diameter 14.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 313 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, bare head right; reverse SAPIENTIA PRINCIPIS (wisdom of the prince), owl atop an altar, spear resting diagonal across the front of the altar, round shield lower left, helmet lower right, R[...] (officina obscure) in exergue; very rare; $240.00 (€204.00)
 


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The reverse legend abbreviates, Victoriae Laetae 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."
RL86822. Billon centenionalis, unpublished; RIC VII does not list any Constantine I issues for the short LAET reverse legend, Choice F, well centered, attractive desert patina, weight 2.601 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 319 - 320 A.D.; obverse CONSTAN-TINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse VICTORIAE LAET PRINC PERP (joyous eternal victories of the prince), two Victories standing facing each other, together holding shield with inscribed VOT / P R in two lines, shield resting on altar (ornamented with rhombus pellet in center?), PARL in exergue; from the Beast Coins VLPP Collection, ex Keith Metzer Collection (2006), the only specimen known to Forum; extremely rare; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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About 327 A.D., Helena, mother of Constantine, returned from her pilgrimage to the Holy Land and also founded Stavrovouni Monastery on Cyprus.
RL86834. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Arles 310 (R2), LRBC I 320, SRCV IV 16246, Cohen VII 454, Hunter V 126 var. (laureate), Choice EF, well centered and struck, excellent portrait, glossy dark patina, traces of silvering, a few bumps and marks, weight 3.443 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 327 - 328 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS AVG, pearl-diademed head right; reverse PROVIDENTIAE AVGG (to the foresight of the two emperors), campgate with two turrets, no doors, star above, S - F flanking across field, ARLP in exergue; ex Vauction sale 242 (25 Feb 2010), lot 91; ex Beast Coins, the Zachary "Beast" Beasley Collection of Camp Gates; scarce; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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In 327, attempting to resolve a labor shortage, Constantine the Great decreed that rural slaves can only be sold in the province where they reside.
RL86835. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Arles 313 (S), LRBC I 321, SRCV IV 16309, Cohen VII 665, Hunter V -, gVF, nice portrait, green patina, some silvering, areas of slight porosity, weight 2.630 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 327 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), campgate with four turrets, open gates and star above, S - F in flanking across field, ARLS in exergue; ex Beast Coins, the Zachary "Beast" Beasley Collection of Camp Gates; scarce; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


City of Rome Commemorative, 333 - 334 A.D.

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In Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus were the twin sons of the Vestal Virgin Rhea Silvia, fathered by the god of war, Mars. They were abandoned in the Tiber as infants. Faustulus, a shepherd, found the infants being suckled by the she-wolf (Lupa) at the foot of the Palatine Hill. Their cradle, in which they had been abandoned, was on the shore overturned under a fig tree. Faustulus and his wife, Acca Larentia, raised the children. Romulus was the first King of Rome.
RL82746. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 553, LRBC I 76, SRCV IV 16489, Cohen VII 17, Hunter V -, EF, tight flan, reverse die crack, weight 2.194 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 333 - 334 A.D.; obverse VRBS ROMA, helmeted bust of Roma left wearing imperial mantle; reverse she-wolf standing left, head turned back right, suckling the infant twins Romulus and Remus, two stars and wreath above, TRS in exergue; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


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The reverse legend abbreviates, Victoriae Laetae 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. Billon centenionalis, 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.; 10; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG, laureate, helmeted and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP (joyous eternal victories of the prince), two Victories holding shield inscribed VOT / P R over altar, STR in exergue; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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Jupiter or Jove, Zeus to the Greeks, was the king of the gods and god of the sky and thunder, and of laws and social order. As the patron deity of ancient Rome, he was the chief god of the Capitoline Triad, with his sister and wife Juno. The father of Mars, he is, therefore, the grandfather of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. Emperors frequently made vows to Jupiter for protection. The Roman's believed as the king of the gods, Jupiter favored those in positions of authority similar to his own.
RT85649. Billon follis, RIC VII Siscia 15 (R2), SRCV IV 15940, Cohen VII 289 corr. (rev. misdescribed), Hunter V 245 var. (2nd officina), Choice EF, well centered, sharp portrait, much silvering, small scrape on reverse, couple letters on obverse and Zeus' head weakly struck, edge crack, weight 3.339 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 315 - 316 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse IOVI CONSERVATORI (to Jupiter the protector), Jupiter standing left, nude but for paludamentum on left shoulder, Victory on globe in right hand presenting wreath, long scepter vertical in left hand, eagle at feet on left facing left with head turned back right and wreath in beak, ∆ right, •SIS• in exergue; scarce; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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In 327 A.D., when this coin was struck and in the city where this coin was struck, construction began on the Domus Aurea (Latin: golden house), the cathedral of Antioch. The cathedral is thought to have been located on an island where the Seleucid's Imperial Palace of Antioch had been located. The church became a major point of the controversy between Christians and Julian the Apostate when the latter closed the cathedral in response to the burning of an ancient temple to Apollo in the nearby suburb of Daphne. From 526 to 587 it suffered from a series of earthquakes, fires and Persian attacks, before being finally destroyed in another earthquake in 588, after which it was not rebuilt.
RL86837. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Antioch 78 (R3), LRBC I 1345, SRCV IV 16269, Cohen VII 454, Hunter V -, Choice gVF, well centered and struck, brown tone, slight porosity, weight 3.323 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 315o, 7th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 327 - 328 A.D.; obverse CONSTAN-TINVS AVG, laurel and rosette-diademed head right, ladder-form diadem with two laurel leaves in every other division; reverse PROVIDENTIAE AVGG (to the foresight of the two emperors), campgate with two turrets, no doors, no pellet under arch, star above, SMANTZ in exergue; ex Beast Coins, the Zachary "Beast" Beasley Collection of Camp Gates; rare; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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In 326, Constantine traveled to Rome to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his accession to power.
RL86840. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Rome 287, LRBC I 516, SRCV IV 16250, Cohen VII 454, Choice EF, well centered and struck, nice portrait, dark toned copper surfaces, tight flan, slight porosity, small edge crack, weight 2.566 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Rome mint, 326 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse PROVIDENTIAE AVGG (to the foresight of the two emperors), campgate with two turrets, no doors, star above, R wreath S in exergue; ex Beast Coins, the Zachary "Beast" Beasley Collection of Camp Gates; $100.00 (€85.00)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

AVGVSTVS
COMISCONSTANTINIAVG
CONSTANTINVSAG
CONSTANTINVSAVG
CONSTANTINVSCAESAR
CONSTANTINVSFILAVGG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAVGCOSIIII
CONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVG
CONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVGCOSIIII
CONSTANTINVSMAXIMAVG
CONSTANTINVSNOBC
CONSTANTINVSNOBCAES
CONSTANTINVSNOBCAESAR
CONSTANTINVSNOBILC
CONSTANTINVSNOBILIC
CONSTANTINVSPAG
CONSTANTINVSPAVG
CONSTANTINVSPAVGCOSIIII
CONSTANTINVSPFAVG
CONSTANTINVSPFINAVG
DDNNCONSTANTINVSETLICINIVSAVGG
DIVOCONSTANTINOAVG
DIVOCONSTANTINOP
DIVCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
DIVVSCONSTANTINVSAVGPATERAVGG
DNCONSTANTINVSAVG
DNCONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
DNCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
DVCONSTANTINVSPTAVGG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSAVG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSFILAVG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBCAES
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBCAESAR
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBILC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBILIC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
FLVALERCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
FLVALERIVSCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCCONSTANTINVSPFINVAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINOPFINVAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINVSPAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINVSPFINVAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSAG
IMPCONSTANTINVSAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSINAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPIINAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPIVSFAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPIVSFELIXAVG
INVICTVSCONSTANTINVSMAXAVG


REFERENCES

Bastien, P. Le Monnayage de l'Atelier de Lyon, De la Réforme Monétaire de Dioclétien à la fermeture temporaire de l'Atelier en 316 (294 - 316). Numismatique Romaine XI. (Wetteren, 1980).
Bastien, P. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon. De la réouverture de l'atelier en 318 à la mort de Constantin (318 - 337). Numismatique Romaine XIII. (Wetteren, 1982).
Bruun, P. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol VII, Constantine and Licinius A.D. 313 - 337. (London, 1966).
Carson, R., P. Hill & J. Kent. Late Roman Bronze Coinage. (London, 1960).
Carson, R., H. Sutherland & J. Kent. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol VIII, The Family of Constantine I, A.D. 337 - 364. (London, 1981).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 7: Carausius to Constantine & sons. (Paris, 1888).
Depeyrot, G. Les émissions monétaires d'Arles (4th -5th Siècles). Moneta 6. (Wetteren, 1996).
Depeyrot, G. Les monnaies d'or de Dioclétien a Constantin I (284 - 337). (Wetteren, 1995).
Failmezger, V. Roman Bronze Coins From Paganism to Christianity, 294 - 364 A.D. (Washington D.C., 2002).
King, C. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume V, Carausius to Romulus Augustus. (London, 1987).
Milchev, S. The Coins of Constantine the Great. (Sophia, 2007).
Paolucci, R. & A. Zub. La monetazione di Aquileia Romana. (Padova, 2000).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. V. Diocletian (Reform) to Zeno. (Oxford, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. IV: The Tetrarchies and the Rise of the House of Constantine...Diocletian To Constantine I, AD 284 - 337. (London, 2011).
Speck, R. & S. Huston. Constantine's Dafne Coinage at Constantinople. (San Francisco, 1992).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).
Voetter, O. Die Münzen der romischen Kaiser, Kaiserinnen und Caesaren von Diocletianus bis Romulus: Katalog der Sammlung Paul Gerin. (Vienna, 1921).

Catalog current as of Friday, July 20, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Constantine the Great