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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Roman Mints| ▸ |Serdica||View Options:  |  |  | 

Serdica, Dacia Mediterranea (Sophia, Bulgaria)

Sofia was originally a Thracian settlement called Serdica, probably named after the Celtic tribe Serdi that had populated it. Around 29 B.C., Sofia was conquered by the Romans and renamed Ulpia Serdica. When Emperor Diocletian divided the province of Dacia into Dacia Ripensis (on the banks of the Danube) and Dacia Mediterranea, Serdica became the capital of Dacia Mediterranea. Serdica was of moderate size, but magnificent as an urban concept of planning and architecture, with abundant amusements and an active social life. Dates of operation: 272 - 282, 303 - 308 and 313 - 314. Mintmarks: SD, SER, SERD, SMSD.

Tacitus, 25 September 275 - June 276 A.D.

|Tacitus|, |Tacitus,| |25| |September| |275| |-| |June| |276| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Serdica prospered under Rome. Turrets, protective walls, public baths, administrative and cult buildings, a civic basilica and a large amphitheater were built. When Diocletian divided Dacia into Dacia Ripensis (on the banks of the Danube) and Dacia Mediterranea, Serdica became the capital of Dacia Mediterranea. The city was destroyed by the Huns in 447, but was rebuilt by Justinian and surrounded with great fortress walls whose remnants can still be seen today. Although also often destroyed by the Slavs, the town remained under Byzantine dominion until 809. Serdica is today Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.
RB111872. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 3897 (11 spec.), RIC V-1 192, BnF XII 1779, Cohen VI 26, La Venra 2391, aVF, dark patina, scratches, porosity, tiny edge split, weight 3.425 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, issue 2, early 276; obverse IMP C M CL TACITVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse CONSERVAT MILIT, Mars on left, standing right, wearing helmet and military garb, holding spear in left hand, offering globe in right hand to Tacitus, Emperor on right, standing left, wearing military garb, receiving globe with right hand, long scepter or inverted spear in left hand, A in center, KA in exergue; ex Glen W Woods; scarce; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

|Probus|, |Probus,| |Summer| |276| |-| |September| |282| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Probus started as a simple soldier but advanced to general and was declared emperor after the death of Tacitus. Florian's murder left him as undisputed ruler. His leadership brought peace and prosperity but he was murdered by mutinous soldiers, enraged at being employed on public building projects.
RA111887. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 862, Cohen VI 655, SRCV III -, Hunter IV 303 var. (2nd officina), VF, much silvering remaining, weight 3.013 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 277 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, radiate bust left in consular robe, eagle-tipped scepter in right; reverse SOLI INVICTO (to the invincible sun god), Sol in a spread quadriga facing, radiate, cloak billowing out behind, raising right hand commanding sunrise, whip in left hand, KAΔ in exergue; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00


Caracalla, 198 - 217 A.D., Serdica, Thrace

|Serdica|, |Caracalla,| |198| |-| |217| |A.D.,| |Serdica,| |Thrace||tetrassarion|
Ex Klner Mnzkabinett, Auction 112 (19 October 2019), lot 123; ex Roma Numismatics, E-sale 80 (04 Feb 2022), lot 804.

Serdica prospered under Rome. Turrets, protective walls, public baths, administrative and cult buildings, a civic basilica and a large amphitheater were built. When Diocletian divided Dacia into Dacia Ripensis (on the banks of the Danube) and Dacia Mediterranea, Serdica became the capital of Dacia Mediterranea. The city was destroyed by the Huns in 447, but was rebuilt by Justinian and surrounded with great fortress walls whose remnants can still be seen today. Although also often destroyed by the Slavs, the town remained under Byzantine dominion until 809. Serdica is today Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.
RP110638. Bronze tetrassarion, H-J Serdica 12.18.32.13, cf. Ruzicka Serdica 281 (obv. leg., etc.), Varbanov III 2434 (same), VF/aVF, superb portrait, dark brown patina, near centered, central dimples, weight 17.519 g, maximum diameter 30.1 mm, die axis 45o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AYT K M AYP CEY ANTΩNEINOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust to right; reverse OYΛΠIAC CEP,ΔIKHC (ending in exergue), river-god reclining to left, head facing, right hand on knee, left arm resting on inverted vase from which water flows; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 80 (04 Feb 2022), lot 804; ex Klner Mnzkabinett auction 112 (19 Oct 2019), lot 123; very rare; SOLD


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Serdica, Thrace

|Serdica|, |Caracalla,| |28| |January| |198| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.,| |Serdica,| |Thrace||AE| |31|
Hermes was the messenger of the gods and the god of commerce and thieves. He was the son of Zeus and the nymph Maia. His symbols include the caduceus and winged sandals.
RP39115. Bronze AE 31, H-J Serdica 12.18.10. 3 (R4), Varbanov III 2368-9 var. (bust type), aVF, good centering, weight 17.196 g, maximum diameter 30.7 mm, die axis 0o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 198 - 217 A.D.; obverse AVT K M AVPH CEVH ANTΩNEINOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse OVΛΠIAC CEPΔIKHC, Hermes standing half-left, purse in right, caduceus in left; SOLD


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Serdica, Thrace

|Serdica|, |Caracalla,| |28| |January| |198| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.,| |Serdica,| |Thrace||AE| |29|
Serdica prospered under Rome. Turrets, protective walls, public baths, administrative and cult buildings, a civic basilica and a large amphitheater were built. When Diocletian divided Dacia into Dacia Ripensis (on the banks of the Danube) and Dacia Mediterranea, Serdica became the capital of Dacia Mediterranea. The city was destroyed by the Huns in 447, but was rebuilt by Justinian and surrounded with great fortress walls whose remnants can still be seen today. Although also often destroyed by the Slavs, the town remained under Byzantine dominion until 809. Serdica is today Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.
RP91960. Bronze AE 29, Unpublished obverse legend variety; H-J Serdica 12.18.46.2 (R6) var., Ruzicka Serdica 365 var., Varbanov III 2464 (R5) var. (all ...AVP SEVH...), F, porous, edge crack, central depressions, weight 14.918 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 0o, Serdica mint, obverse AVT K M AVPH CEVH ANTΩEINOC, laureate bearded head right; reverse OVΛΠIAC CEP-ΔI-KHC (the last three letters in exergue), tetrastyle temple of Asklepios, statue of Asklepios standing in center holding snake entwined staff, coiled snake in pediment; rare; SOLD


Constantius I, May 305 - 25 July 306 A.D.

|Constantius| |I|, |Constantius| |I,| |May| |305| |-| |25| |July| |306| |A.D.||argenteus|
 
SH56952. Silver argenteus, RIC VI Serdica 11a, RSC V 304A corr., Cohen VII -, Choice aEF, weight 3.326 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, as Augustus, 305 - 306 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse VIRTVS MILITVM (courage of the soldiers), campgate with three turrets,SMSDΔ in exergue; near full circles strike; rare (R4); SOLD


Florianus, June or July - August or September 276 A.D.

|Florianus|, |Florianus,| |June| |or| |July| |-| |August| |or| |September| |276| |A.D.||antoninianus|
RIC V-1 only lists officinae A and B without KA. Rare and superb
SH80379. Silvered antoninianus, MER-RIC T4518 (8 spec.), BnF XII 1974, Venra 2932, RIC V-1 112 var. (4th officina not listed), superb EF, very sharp, extraordinary coin!, weight 3.632 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 180o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 2nd issue, Aug 276 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AN FLORIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse PROVIDEN DEOR (the foresight of the gods), Providentia holding two standards standing left, Sol raising hand and holding globe in the right, star in between, Δ in exergue; very rare; SOLD


Severus II, 25 July 306 - Summer 307 A.D.

|Severus| |II|, |Severus| |II,| |25| |July| |306| |-| |Summer| |307| |A.D.||follis|
In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Emperor, etc. The legend GENIO POPVLI ROMANI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Roman People. Genius' image is of a man with a cloak half covering the shoulders leaving the rest of his body naked, holding a cornucopia in one hand, and a simpulum or a patera in the other.
SH27770. Billon follis, RIC VI Serdica 13a, VF, weight 8.304 g, maximum diameter 27.8 mm, die axis 180o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, 1 May 305 - 25 Jul 306 A.D.; obverse FL VAL SEVERVS NOB CAESAR, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPV - LI ROMANI, Genius standing slightly left, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, kalathos on head, pouring libations from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, Γ in right field, SMSD in exergue; flat area on reverse; SOLD


Aurelian, August 270 - October or November 275 A.D.

|Aurelian|, |Aurelian,| |August| |270| |-| |October| |or| |November| |275| |A.D.||antoninianus|
The epithet Invictus in the obverse legend translates, "the invincible" or "the undefeated."

In 274, Rome greeted Aurelian as Restitutor Orbis ("Restorer of the World") and accorded him a magnificent triumph (victory procession), which was graced by his captives Tetricus I and his son Tetricus II. Aurelian's conquests of the Palmyran Empire and the Gallic Empire reunited the Roman Empire.
SL89708. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 2787, RIC V-1 301, Venra 10030 - 10033 10732, BnF XII 1048, SRCV III 11593, NGC MS, strike 4/5, surface 4/5, silvering, die shift, weight 3.72 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, issue 8, phase 2, Nov 274 - Sep 275 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS INVICTVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVT OR-BIS, Aurelian on right standing left, extending right to woman standing confronted and offering him a wreath, star lower center, KAΓ in exergue; ex Solidus Numismatik auction 11 (14 Jan 2017), 426; SOLD


Constantius I, May 305 - 25 July 306 A.D.

|Constantius| |I|, |Constantius| |I,| |May| |305| |-| |25| |July| |306| |A.D.||follis| |(large)|
In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Emperor, etc. The legend GENIO POPVLI ROMANI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Roman people. Genius' image is of a man with a cloak half covering the shoulders leaving the rest of his body naked, holding a cornucopia in one hand, and a simpulum or a patera in the other.
RT71563. Billon follis (large), RIC VI Serdica 4a, Cohen VII 89, SRCV IV 14058, Hunter V -, Choice aEF, perfect bold full-circles strike on a broad flan, some light corrosion, weight 9.729 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, 303 - 305 A.D.; obverse FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOB CAES, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius standing left, kalathos on head, naked except for chlamys over shoulder, pouring liquor from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, A right, SMSD in exergue; fantastic!; SOLD







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REFERENCES|

Gautier, G. "Le monnayage d'argent de Serdica aprs la rforme de Diocltien" in RN XXXIII (1991).
Gysen, P. "Nouvelles donnes concernant l'atelier de Serdica sous le rgne de Probus" in RBN CXLVI (2000).
Zanchi, P. "Quelques nouveaux antoniniens de Serdica" in SM 120 (November 1980).

Catalog current as of Thursday, September 28, 2023.
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