Numismatic and History Discussions > Roman Coins

Help with ID-ing mints of the Gallic Empire

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Ron C2:
I'm hoping someone can help me weed through the conflicting info on Gallic Empire mints.

RIC Vb, which admitedly is an older reference now, implies the Gallic Empire only had 2 mints after the death of Postumus, Cologne and a "southern" mint.  When Postumus was alive, they also refer to mints at Lugdunum and Mediolanum.  There is brief mention on a mint at Moguntiacum (i.e. Mainz) under Laelianus. 

After RIC, some references, including the UK portable antiquities scheme website, refer to a mint at Trier.  Some other sites and articles refer to a mint at Mainz outside of just the coins of Laelianus. 

Sebastian Sondermann's website backs the Theory of Marcus Weder which hypothesizes that:

Under Postumus only one Mint worked, opened 260 AD at Cologne. A second mint had been opened under Marius 269 AD, maybe located at Trier. These two separate mints worked during the reign of Victorinus, and have been reunited under Domitianus II (location of the mint undetermined). The once separate mints now worked as branches side by side until the end of the reign of the Tetrici, which is proved by several "cross-mint-hybrids".

What is the most current thinking on this?  Depending on which references I have had access to over time, my Gallic Empire attributions are likely all over this theoretical map as to which mints produced what.  I could use some help in figuring this out better so the attributions in my gallic empire gallery can be cleaned up a little:

I hope I can help you a little with this question.
As for the mints of the postumus, opinions are still fundamentally divided. Without reliable knowledge, I don't want to step on anyone's feet.
In principle, it would also be possible for an mint, to change a location with his staff and employee during this troublesome time. So that you couldn't tell a difference stylistically, in relation to Cologne and Treveris, for example.

It looks different here for the emperors Victorinus, Tetricus I and Tetricus II.. From an archaeological point of view, a mint in Trier seems to be clearly secured here. If I can take a short quote at the "Trierer Magazine, 71/72-2008/09-Special print".

3.2.2: A dated rubble package on the city wall and questions about the mint of the Gallic emperors in Trier:
((by Dr. Karl Josef Gilles)/from excavation report from Wilfried Knickrehm.)

Even at an early stage of the excavations, Wilfried Knickrehm noticed a massive accumulation of Antoninians from the time of the Gallic Empire (260-274 a.d.)under the coins found in this rubble layer. Especially the coinage of Victorinus, Tetricus I., his son Tetricus II..
The layers of the earth were measured three-dimensionally on the basis of this. In this way, 78 coins were found in the course of the excavations. 34 other coins were measured for their height above sea level in the location where they were found.
Bronze pieces were found in a height range between about 131.20 m and 129.70 m. Mainly antoninians of Tetricus I and Tetricus II..
With a weight of 2-3g, the majority of them are significantly heavier than their imitations made in the local mints.
With the year 274, the layer's extensive series of coins breaks off. A total of 320 fully-fledged Antoniniane Gaulish emperors were found in the course of the work. (around 59% of all Roman coins found in the excavation, of which around 250 were issued by Tetricus I and II.)
Along with the coins, bronze residues and a bar were found. About 40 raw and intermediate products were also found for the production.

Of particular importance was W. Knickrehm's observation, that the weight of the segments corresponded to that of the regular antoninians found with them. In view of this fact, he was the first to recognize the remains of the Trier mint from the time of the Gallic Empire.

best regards


The following theses could be added.

The close relationships between the mints of Cologne and Treveris are undisputed by many numismatists.
They are also relatively close together and one can easily imagine, that workers could also be replaced in this way.

But "Schulzki" is also of the opinion, that the Treveris mint probably evolved from the Cologne mint. Reason: In the forty years of searching in Trier, he came across very few coins from the Postumus, certainly not those with silver brew. In contrast, he found Antonianii of Tetricus I / II much more frequently.
And even more often their imitations (barbaric ones).
In addition, there are almost no barbaric coins of the Postumus in Trier and Trierer Land. Only the coins of Tetricus I./II. and imitated Divus Claudius Gothicus. One may presume, that the regular coins of the Trier minting stalls were primarily imitated.

Experience has shown, that I would say, that most of the Antoninianii minted under Postumus come from France. Then Lugdunum would come back into play. We don't need to discuss the style of Milan, it is really unmistakable.

De facto I would personally claim, that I would not put my hand in the fire, for an assignment to a Postumus Antoninian, not minted in Milan.

best regards


Ron C2:
thanks Ralph for the insight.  So would you then suggest that likely all the Antoninianii of Victorinus (and later the Tetrici) likely originate in Trier, and not Mainz or Lugdunum? 

I'm leaning towards the oft-cited "southern mint" in RIC V as likely being Trier. 

I am also of the opinion that it's Very unlikely that Postumus maintained mints at so many cities as RIC would tend to posit: Cologne, a "southern" mint (possibly Trier), Lugdunum, Mediolanum and Moguntiacum (i.e. Mainz).

I also think it's unlikely they would have minted silver coins for Postumus farther away from the silver mines in Iberia than was necessary - making one wonder if Postumus actually would have needed more than one mint in his lifetime, given the size of the empire and its coinage needs at the time.

Ron, I would put it this way. I am not aware of any archaeological findings or investigations relating to a mint for Mainz or Lyon under Tetricus I.
It would of course be interesting to know, whether there are any at all.
Due to the find situation, however, it is relatively certain, that the Trierer mint was closed by the victorious Emperor Aurelian, after the defeat of Tetricus I. and was relocated to Lyon.

I support your thesis about the proximity to the silver mine, what
would then also speak for a more western located mint under Postumus. Where apparently enough large quantities of antoninianii were minted to supply the empire with money.

best regards



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