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Counterfeit, Unofficial, Imitative and Barbaric Roman Coins

Roman Empire, Two Roman Imitative Barbarous Radiates, c. 270 A.D.

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During the Crisis of the Third Century (235 - 284 A.D.) the Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression. In the western provinces, official mints did not meet the needs for low-value coinage and unofficial private mints struck imitations of Roman coins (usually antoniniani). These unofficial imitations, called barbarous radiates today, were not counterfeits. They were smaller than standard issues, were not intended to deceive, and probably only functioned as small change.
RA91692. Two barbarous radiates, 1) imitative of a Quintillus antoninianus (r. 270 A.D., 2.132g, 20.3mm) and 2) imitative of a Claudius Gothicus antoninianus (r. 268 - 270 A.D., 1.733g, 16.5mm); from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $60.00 (52.80)


Germanic Tribes, Pseudo-Imperial Coinage, c. 425 - 450 A.D.

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This type was minted by and used as currency by Germanic tribes outside the Roman Empire. It copied Roman type issued under Theodosius I. While official late Roman imperial bronze coinage was sometimes a bit crude, the emperor's hairstyle was never quite like this.
ME92815. Bronze barbarous imitative, for the Roman prototype see: RIC X Theodosius II 440 ff., SRCV V 21231 ff. (official, half centenionalis, various mints, 425 - 435 A.D.), EF, crude imitative style, small ragged flan, encrustation, weight 0.586 g, maximum diameter 9.7 mm, die axis 0o, tribal mint, c. 425 - 450 A.D.; obverse D N THEODOSIVS P F AVG (or similar, almost entirely off flan, likely blundered), diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse cross in wreath, wreath closed at the bottom with IIXII (or similar) on exergue line; $80.00 (70.40)


Germanic Tribes, Pseudo-Imperial Coinage, Mid 4th - Early 5th Century A.D.

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This type was minted by and used as currency by tribes outside the Roman Empire. It copied a Roman type issued by the usurper Magnentius. The style is fairly close to the Roman prototype but the obverse legend and mintmark are blundered and it weighs much less than the Roman prototype.
RB91846. Bronze AE 19, for prototype cf. RIC VII Trier 269 (Roman, Magnentius, Trier mint, usurper in Gaul, 350 - 353 A.D.), VF, tight flan, reverse flan flaws, weight 2.688 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, tribal mint, 350 - mid 5th century A.D.; obverse MAGNEN-TIVS AVGV (or similar), bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust of Magnentius right; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), Magnentius in military dress galloping right, shield on left arm, spearing a barbarian before horse, shield and broken spear on the ground below horse, TR in exergue; $70.00 (61.60)


Germanic Tribes, Pseudo-Imperial Coinage, Mid 4th - Early 5th Century A.D.

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Magnentius, usurper of the western provinces, made his brother Decentius caesar, to oversee the defense of Gaul and the Rhine frontier. After Magnentius was defeated at the Battle of Mons Seleucus by Constantius II and committed suicide, Decentius, who was leading reinforcements, hanged himself at Senonae.
RB91842. Billon maiorina, for prototype cf. RIC VIII Lyons 122 (Roman, Decentius, caesar, usurper in Gaul, 351 - 353 A.D., Lugdunum mint), Choice gVF, slightly crude, tight flan, encrustations, weight 3.504 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 180o, tribal mint, 350 - early 5th century A.D.; obverse D N DECENTIVS NOB CAE (or similar, blundered), bare-headed and cuirassed bust of Decentius right; reverse VICTORIAE DD NN AVG ET C (or similar, blundered), two Victories standing confronted, together holding between them a wreath resting on a short column, IOT / HVL / X (blundered VOT V MVLT X) in three lines, SLG in exergue; $150.00 (132.00)


Germanic Tribes, Pseudo-Imperial Coinage, Mid 4th - Early 5th Century A.D.

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Barbarian imitatives of the Roman VICT LAETAE PRINC PERP small bronze coins are among the most common barbarous coin types from the late Roman period. The prototype for this coin was a coin from the Empire's Treveri mint and this specimen is closer to the official Roman style than many of these imitations.
RL89622. Bronze AE 17, for prototype cf. RIC VII Trier 208a (Roman, Constantine the Great, Trier mint, 318 - 319 A.D.), VF, nice portrait, attractive dark green patina, reverse slightly off center, weight 2.469 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 135o, tribal mint, mid 4th century A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTA-NTINVS AG, laureate, helmeted, and cuirassed bust of Constantine the Great right; reverse VICTORIAE LAITAI PRINC (blundered), two Victories standing confronted, together holding between them a shield inscribed VOT / P R in two lines over an alter ornamented with a pellet at the center of a rhombus, PTR in exergue; ex Beast Coins VLPP Collection; $85.00 (74.80)


Germanic Tribes, Pseudo-Imperial Coinage, Mid 4th - Early 5th Century A.D.

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Barbarian imitatives of the Roman VICT LAETAE PRINC PERP small bronze coins are among the most common barbarous coin types from the late Roman period. The prototype for this coin was a coin from the Empire's Treveri mint.
RL89623. Bronze AE 18, for prototype cf. RIC VII Trier 208a (Roman, Constantine the Great, Trier mint, 318 - 319 A.D.), VF, black patina, red earthen encrustation, edge crack, weight 2.356 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, tribal mint, mid 4th century A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTA-NTINVS AVG, laureate, helmeted, and cuirassed bust of Constantine the Great right; reverse VICTORIAE LAETAI PRIN (blundered), two Victories standing confronted, together holding between them a shield inscribed VOT / P R in two lines, shield resting on alter ornamented with an X pattern, PTR in exergue; ex Beast Coins VLPP Collection; $75.00 (66.00)


Germanic Tribes, Pseudo-Imperial Coinage, Mid 4th - Early 5th Century A.D.

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This type was minted by and used as currency by tribes outside the Roman Empire. It copied a type issued under Constantine the Great from the Siscia mint.
RL89624. Bronze AE 19, for prototype cf. RIC VII Siscia 59 ff. (Roman, Constantine the Great, Siscia mint, 319 A.D.), VF, near black patina, some porosity, obverse slightly off center, minor edge splt, weight 3.437 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, tribal mint, mid 4th - early 5th century A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS MAX AG (blundered), laureate, helmeted, and cuirassed bust of Constantine the Great right; reverse VICTORI LAETAE PIIC PERP (blundered), two Victories standing confronted, together holding shield inscribed VOT / P R (vows of the Roman people) (blundered) over altar, retrograde SIS in exergue; ex Beast Coins VLPP Collection; $75.00 (66.00)


Germanic Tribes, Pseudo-Imperial Coinage, Mid 4th - Early 5th Century A.D.

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Barbarian imitatives of the Roman VICT LAETAE PRINC PERP small bronze coins are among the most common barbarous coin types from the late Roman period. The prototype for this coin was a coin from the Roman mint at Siscia. Silvering on a barbaric imitative is unexpected, however, the blundered illiterate nonsense imitations of legends leave no doubt this coin is a tribal issue.
RL89627. Bronze AE 18, for prototype cf. RIC VII Siscia 53 (Roman, Constantine the Great, Siscia mint, 318 - 319 A.D.), gVF/aVF, silvering(?), slightly off center but only cutting off the tops of some letters, scratches, weight 3.099 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 285o, tribal mint, after 318 A.D.; obverse IHP CONSTHTHVS P E NVG (or similar, blundered, S's resemble retrograde Greek sigma), laureate, helmeted and cuirassed bust of Constantine the Great right; reverse HCTORIAE LATNE PIIC PEIIΠ (or similar, blundered), two Victories standing confronted, together holding shield inscribed VOT / P R over altar, SIS (retrograde) in exergue; ex Beast Coins VLPP Collection, ex Ancient Coins Canada (Jun 2008), reportedly found in Germany; $95.00 (83.60)


Germanic Tribes, Pseudo-Imperial Coinage, Mid 4th - Early 5th Century A.D.

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This type was minted by and used as currency by tribes outside the Roman Empire. It copied a Roman type issued by the London mint under Constantine the Great. Imitative coins of this type range from very similar to the Roman prototypes to bizarrely blundered legends, nearly abstract portraits, and reverses that are difficult to recognize. This style on this coin is a little crude but close to that of the official Roman prototype.
RL89631. Billon AE 19, for prototype cf. RIC VII London 154 (Roman, Constantine the Great, London mint, 319 A.D.), Choice VF, full borders strike on both obverse and reverse, nice green patina, light earthen deposits, weak centers, weight 3.312 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, tribal mint, mid 4th - early 5th century A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS MAX AG (slightly blundered), laureate and cuirassed bust of Constantine the Great right; reverse VICTONIAII LAETAE PRIIIC (blundered), two Victories standing confronted, together holding shield inscribed VT / YII (or similar) over altar ornamented with a diamond pattern, PLN in exergue; ex Beast Coins VLPP Collection; $95.00 (83.60)


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit

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After Apollo insulted him, Eros (cupid) shot Apollo with an arrow that caused him to fall in hopeless love with Daphne, a mortal woman. Eros shot Daphne with an arrow which made her incapable of loving Apollo. Nevertheless Apollo pursued her, and out of desperation Daphne escaped by having herself turned into a laurel. Ever after, winners of the games to honor Apollo wore wreaths of laurel in honor of Apollo's Daphne.
RS91600. Fouree silver plated antoninianus, cf. RIC IV 89, RSC IV 261, Hunter III 37, SRCV III 8648 (official prototype, silver, Rome mint), VF, nice portrait, excellent centering, minor lamination flaking on edges revealing baser core, reverse center not fully struck, weight 3.462 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, 242 - Jul 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P V COS II P P, Apollo seated left on throne, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, laurel branch in right, resting left arm on lyre; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $60.00 (52.80)




  






REFERENCES|

Cahn, H. "EIDibus MARtiis" in QT 18 (1989), pp. 229-231, 9a, 20a, and 25b.
Campbell, W. Greek and Roman Plated Coins. ANSNNM 75. (New York, 1933).
Crawford, M. "Plated Coins - False Coins" in NC 1968, pp. 55-59, pl. xiv.
Crawford, M. Roman Republican Coinage. (Cambridge, 1974), vol I., pp. 560-565, vol II, p. 570.
Davis, P. "Dacian and Celtic Imitations of Republican Denarii" in The Celator 18-4, April 2004, pp. 6-16.
Davis, P. "Dacian Imitations of Roman Republican Denarii" in Apvlvm Number XLIII/1. (2006).
Davis, P. Imitations of Roman Republican Denarii, website: http://rrimitations.ancients.info/.
Davis, P. & E. Paunov. "Imitations of Republican Denarii from Moesia and Thrace" in Studies Prokopov. (2012).
Lawrence, L. "On a Hoard of Plated Roman Denarii" in NC 1940, pp. 185-189.
Popović, Petar. "Hoard of imitations of the Roman Republican denars from the Belgrade National Museum" in Numizmatikai Kzlny 1974, pp. 7-13 & pl. 1.
Ranieri, E. La monetazione di Ravenna antica dal V all' VIII secolo: impero romano e bizantino, regno ostrogoto e langobardo. (Bologna, 2006).
Southerland, C. "'Carausius II', 'Censeris', and the Barbarous Fel. Temp. Reparatio Overstrikes" in NC 1945.
Sydenham, E. "On Roman Plated Coins" in NC 1940, pp. 190-202.
Sydenham, E. The Coinage of the Roman Republic. (London, 1927 1952). pl. xliii-xliv.
Vasic, M. "A IVth and Vth Centuries Hoard of Roman coins and imitations in the collection of the National Museum in Belgrade" in Sirmium VIII, p. 128-129, 6-19.

Catalog current as of Sunday, December 8, 2019.
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Unofficial and Barbaric