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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Constantinian Era| ▸ |Constantine the Great||View 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.

|Constantine| |the| |Great|, |Constantine| |the| |Great,| |Early| |307| |-| |22| |May| |337| |A.D.||reduced| |centenionalis|
Because of his fame and because he was proclaimed Emperor while he was in Roman Britain, later Britons regarded Constantine as a king of their own people. In the 12th century, Henry of Huntingdon included a passage in his Historia Anglorum that Constantine's mother Helena was a Briton, the daughter of King Cole of Colchester. Geoffrey of Monmouth expanded this story in his highly fictionalized Historia Regum Britanniae, an account of the supposed Kings of Britain from their Trojan origins to the Anglo-Saxon invasion. According to Geoffrey, Cole was King of the Britons when Constantius, here a senator, came to Britain. Afraid of the Romans, Cole submitted to Roman law so long as he retained his kingship. However, he died only a month later, and Constantius took the throne himself, marrying Cole's daughter Helena. They had their son Constantine, who succeeded his father as King of Britain before becoming Roman Emperor. Historically, this series of events is extremely improbable. Constantius had already left Helena by the time he left for Britain. Additionally, no earlier source mentions that Helena was born in Britain, let alone that she was a princess.
RL96885. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VIII Arles p. 206, 17 (R2); Depeyrot EMA p. 73, 56/1; LRBC I 422; Kent 17; SRCV V 17458; Cohen -, aF, a bit rough, ragged edge, minor encrustation, weight 1.474 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, posthumous, 339 A.D.; obverse DIVO CONSTANTINO P, veiled, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse AETERNA PIETAS, Constantine standing facing, head right, wearing military dress, inverted spear in left hand, globe in right hand, X (control symbol) right, SCONST (Constantia) in exergue; this type appears to be rarer than RIC VIII's R2 rating indicates; rare; $120.00 (€98.40)
 


|Constantine| |the| |Great|, |Constantine| |the| |Great,| |Early| |307| |-| |22| |May| |337| |A.D.||centenionalis|
In 328 Arelatum (Arelate) was renamed Constantina in honor of Constantine II. After Constantine II was killed in 340, the name reverted to Arelatum, only to be changed again in 354 to Constantina by Constantius II. It retained that name, although the mintmark 'AR' appeared on some of its coins even in the fifth century.
RL98419. Billon centenionalis, Hunter V 129 (also 2nd officina), RIC VII Arles 321, LRBC I 329, SRCV IV 16310, Cohen VII 665,, Choice aEF, well centered, some silvering, flow lines, weight 3.10 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Constantia-Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 328 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS AVG, pearl-diademed head right; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), campgate with four turrets, open doors, star above, S - F flanking at sides, SCONST (Constantia) in exergue; $120.00 (€98.40)
 


|Constantine| |the| |Great|, |Constantine| |the| |Great,| |Early| |307| |-| |22| |May| |337| |A.D.||centenionalis|
In 327, Construction began on the cathedral of Antioch.
RL94857. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Antioch 84 (R4), LRBC I 1352, Cohen 458, SRCV IV 16271, Hunter V 406 var. (7th officina), Choice gVF, well centered, attractive dark patina with highlighting red earth deposits, weight 2.693 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 329 - 330 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG, rosette-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PROVIDENTIAE AVGG (to the foresight of the two emperors), campgate with two turrets, star above, SMANTE in exergue; from the Ray Nouri Collection; rare; $100.00 (€82.00) ON RESERVE


|Constantine| |the| |Great|, |Constantine| |the| |Great,| |Early| |307| |-| |22| |May| |337| |A.D.||follis|
Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. The earliest certain cult to dea Roma was established at Smyrna in 195 B.C., probably to mark the successful alliance against Antiochus III. In 30/29 B.C., the Koinon of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to honor Augustus as a living god. "Republican" Rome despised the worship of a living man, but an outright refusal might offend their loyal allies. A cautious formula was drawn up, non-Romans could only establish a cult for divus Augustus jointly with dea Roma. In the city of Rome itself, the earliest known state cult to dea Roma was combined with Venus at the Hadrianic Temple of Venus and Roma. This was the largest temple in the city, probably dedicated to inaugurate the reformed festival of Parilia, which was known thereafter as the Romaea after the Eastern festival in Roma's honor. The temple contained the seated, Hellenised image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.
RL96875. Billon follis, RIC VI Roma 196, Cohen VII 74, SRCV IV 15512, Hunter V -, aVF, porous, a little off center, weight 5.717 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Rome mint, as caesar, early autumn 307 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS NOB CAES, laureate head right; reverse CONSERVATORES VRB SVAE (Guardian of the city traditions), hexastyle temple, Roma seated facing within, head left, globe in right hand, scepter in left hand, R*Q in exergue; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


|Constantine| |the| |Great|, |Constantine| |the| |Great,| |Early| |307| |-| |22| |May| |337| |A.D.||reduced| |centenionalis|
Soon after the Feast of Easter 337, Constantine fell seriously ill. He left Constantinople for the hot baths near his mother's city of Helenopolis. There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying. He attempted to return to Constantinople, making it only as far as a suburb of Nicomedia. He summoned the bishops, and told them of his hope to be baptized in the River Jordan, where Christ was written to have been baptized. He requested the baptism right away, promising to live a more Christian life should he live through his illness. The bishops, Eusebius records, "performed the sacred ceremonies according to custom." It has been thought that Constantine put off baptism as long as he did so as to be absolved from as much of his sin as possible. Constantine died soon after at a suburban villa called Achyron, on 22 May 337.
RL96887. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VIII Antioch 64 (S), LRBC I 1394, Cohen VII 314, SRCV -, Hunter V -, gF, encrustations, a little rough, weight 1.597 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, die axis 0o, 7th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, posthumous, 337 - 347 A.D.; obverse DV CONSTANTINVS P T AVGG (Divus Constantinus Pater Trium Augusti - Divine Constantine, father of the three emperors), veiled bust right; reverse IVST VEN MEM (Justa Veneranda Memoriae - righteous revered memories), Aequitas standing half left, head left, scales right hand, SMANZ in exergue; ex Trusted Coins; rare; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


|Constantine| |the| |Great|, |Constantine| |the| |Great,| |Early| |307| |-| |22| |May| |337| |A.D.||centenionalis|
Nicomedia was the Roman metropolis of Bithynia. Diocletian made it the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system. Nicomedia remained the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Empire until co-emperor Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Chrysopolis in 324. Constantine resided mainly in Nicomedia as his interim capital for the next six years, until in 330 when he declared nearby Byzantium (renamed Constantinople) the new capital. Constantine died in his royal villa near Nicomedia in 337. Due to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople.
RL97849. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Nicomedia 121, LRBC I 1094, SRCV IV 16258, Cohen VII 454, Hunter V 334 var. (4th officina), Choice VF, dark green patina with highlighting buff earthen deposits, weight 2.389 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 325 - 326 A.D.; obverse CONSTAN-TINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse PROVIDENTIAE AVGG (to the foresight of the two emperors), campgate with two turrets, star above, MNA in exergue; from a Norwegian collection; $90.00 (€73.80)
 


|Constantine| |the| |Great|, |Constantine| |the| |Great,| |Early| |307| |-| |22| |May| |337| |A.D.||centenionalis|
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."
RL97850. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Siscia 47 (R3), Cohen VII 639, SRCV IV 16301, Hunter V -, aVF, uneven earthen deposits, scratches, some letters in legends not struck (filled dies), weight 3.223 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 318 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, helmeted, laureate, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP, two Victories standing confronted, together holding shield inscribed VOT / P R (vows of the Roman people) over altar inscribed with X, ∆SIS* in exergue; rare; $50.00 (€41.00)
 







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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).
Cloke, H. & L. Toone. The London Mint of Constantius & Constantine. (London, 2015).
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).
Kent, J. "The Pattern of Bronze Coinage under Constantine I" reprinted from the Numismatic Chronicle Sixth Series, vol. XVII, 1957.
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).

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