Numismatic and History Discussions > Roman Coins

Quarter Follis?

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roscoedaisy:
Ok I am on a roll with new coin questions.  I was going through my Constantius I collection (all 5 of them!) and came across these two vastly different Genio Populi coins.  I looked them up in Van Meter but he only lists the Follis size.  Is there a Quarter Follis or some other explanation for the vast size difference here?  It has to be more than just the reform.  The follis is ~28mm and the other is ~18mm.

The smaller coin is Constantius I as Augustus and the larger is him as Caesar.

RD

fiat_lex:
It's a question of inflation and debasement.  The coinage was reformed, and then slowly debased.  The big folles that were issued right after Diocletian's reform got progressively smaller.  The much smaller type is usually called a "reduced" follis.

roscoedaisy:
This is a very large change though (28mm vs 18mm), and from Van Meter: "The (follis) debasements began in 307" which is after Constantius I's death.  These coins are scanned side by side btw, and they are indeed that different.

RD

fiat_lex:
I learn something new every day.   ;)

I checked on WW and indeed a couple of "quarter" folles are listed for Constantius I.  So you may be right.

cscoppa:
Quoting from MONETA: ""Quarter-Follis" (plural: "Quarter-Folles") is a rather ill-defined term used to denote the smallest laureate fractional "aes" (bronze) coinage from about 294 until about 315.  The weights varied from slightly less than one gram to almost three grams, but most seem to be centered around one scripulum, a Roman measure of weight which equals 1.13 grams.  A distinction between quarter-folles and "denarii communes" may not exist, but the term "Quarter-Follis" is the most commonly used.  Since the follis (q.v.) was first struck at between 8.5 and 11.0 grams, it is uncertain that a fractional quarter was meant.  After the follis was reduced in weight the ratio comes closer, but still is hardly exact.
     They were only intermittently issued during the period and were never common, judging from their scarcity today."

I am lucky enough to have two different 1/4 folles: first- RIC 146 called the abduction 1/4 as it may have been struck at the moment of abdication per a RIC footnote in 305. Secondly RIC 169b struck in 305 or 306.

Here is a picture of the RIC 146

Chip

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