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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Roman Mints ▸ SerdicaView 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.


Probus, Summer 276 - September

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Probus marched against the enemies of Rome in Gaul and Germany. Several battles were fought and Probus left 400,000 barbarians dead in the field. After similar success against the Sarmatians, Probus had successfully quelled and terrified to peace the numerous barbarian tribes of the north. He then marched through Syria against the Blemmyes in the neighborhood of Egypt and defeated them with great slaughter. The military character of the emperor was so well established, that the king of Persia sued for peace and attempted to buy Probus' favor with the most splendid presents. Probus was feasting upon the most common food when the ambassadors were introduced. Without even casting his eyes upon them, he said that if their master did not give proper satisfaction to Rome, he would lay Persia as desolate and as naked as the crown of his head. As he spoke the Emperor took off his cap and showed the baldness of his head to the ambassadors. His conditions were gladly accepted by the Persian monarch.
SH35032. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 884 var. (officina and bust), Choice VF, well centered, unusual bust, weight 3.223 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 180o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 277 A.D.; obverse PERPETVO IMP C PROBO AVG, radiate, helmeted and cuirassed bust left, spear in right, shield in left; reverse VIRTVS PROBI AVG (the valor of Emperor Probus), Probus galloping right, spearing fallen horseman; rare; SOLD


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

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This type is missing from most major collections and references. MER-RIC lists only three specimens (we submitted this one, so it should soon be the fourth). BnF XII lists it on p. 408 and includes a photo in the plates, but it is a Vienna specimen, not their own. The Vienna coin is not listed in MIR-RIC, making five known. We did not find any other specimens online.
RA84943. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 4476 (3 spec.), BnF XII -, p. 408, pl. 100, 550 (not in the BnF collection, photograph of Vienna specimen), Zanchi -, otherwise unpublished, Choice gVF, well centered, near full silvering, some light corrosion, weight 3.538 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, issue 1, Jul 276 A.D.; obverse IMP C M ANN FLORIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse VICTORIA PERPETVA AVG, Victory standing right, raising wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand against left shoulder, facing Florian standing left, wearing military garb, right hand outstretched, long scepter vertical in left hand, star below center, KAB in exergue; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 45 (3 Jul 2016), lot 850; extremely rare; SOLD


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

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RIC only lists officinae A and B without KA. Rare and superb
SH80379. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V-1 112 var., superb EF, weight 3.632 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 180o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 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, ∆ in exergue; very sharp, extraordinary coin!; very rare; SOLD


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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The name and the image of the sun god were frequently displayed on the coins of Rome. Apollo, in particular, was the object of homage in those dreadful times when the spread of plague depopulated the empire. But in the period when paganism was falling to the spread of Christianity, the emperors invoked the sun god Sol more than ever. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Saint Augustine found it necessary to preach against them.
RB42430. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 865 (S), Cohen VI 684, SRCV III -, Hunter IV -, aEF, well centered and struck, much silvering, edge crack, weight 3.223 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 180o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 280 - 281 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS PIVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse SOLI INVICTO (to the invincible sun god), Sol standing in a facing quadriga, radiate, raising right hand commanding sunrise, whip and globe in left hand, cloak billowing out behind, KA•B• in exergue; rare obverse legend; SOLD


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

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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, •SM•SD• in exergue; flat area on reverse; SOLD


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

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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, RIC VI Serdica 4a, Cohen VII 89, SRCV IV 14058, 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, modius on head, naked except for chlamys over shoulder, pouring liquor from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, A right, •SM•SD• in exergue; fantastic!; SOLD


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

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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.
RB07650. Billon follis, RIC VI Serdica 13a, Choice EF, weight 12.03 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 330o, 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 POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), 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, A in right field, •SM•SD• in exergue; from the Scott Collection; SOLD


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

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MER-RIC lists two known specimens. This coin is one of the two listed.
SH12491. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 4491 (this coin, 2 spec), RIC V-1 195, VF, weight 3.046 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 225o, 4th officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, Jul 276 A.D.; obverse IMP C M ANNIVS FLORIANVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PROVIDEN DEOR (the foresight of the gods), Providentia standing left holding two standards, Sol raising hand and holding globe in left hand, star in between, KA∆ in exergue; SOLD


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

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RA87276. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 2671.1 (this coin, the only specimen), VF, many cleaning marks, closed edge crack, weight 3.352 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 180o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, issue 7, phase 2, Apr – Nov 274 A.D.; obverse IMP C L DOM AVRELIANVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ORIENS AVG (the rising sun of the Emperor), Mars on left in military dress, standing right, long scepter in left hand, receiving globe from Sol, on right standing left, whip in left hand, resting with right foot on a bound captive in oriental dress seated left, head turned right, XXI•P in exergue; extremely rare, the only specimen know to MER-RIC and otherwise unpublished; SOLD


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
Probus marched against the enemies of Rome in Gaul and Germany. Several battles were fought and Probus left 400,000 barbarians dead in the field. After similar success against the Sarmatians, Probus had successfully quelled and terrified to peace the numerous barbarian tribes of the north. He then marched through Syria against the Blemmyes in the neighborhood of Egypt and defeated them with great slaughter. The military character of the emperor was so well established, that the king of Persia sued for peace and attempted to buy Probus' favor with the most splendid presents. Probus was feasting upon the most common food when the ambassadors were introduced. Without even casting his eyes upon them, he said that if their master did not give proper satisfaction to Rome, he would lay Persia as desolate and as naked as the crown of his head. As he spoke the Emperor took off his cap and showed the baldness of his head to the ambassadors. His conditions were gladly accepted by the Persian monarch.
RA34791. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 878 var. (bust type), Choice EF, weight 4.212 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 180o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS PROBI AVG (the valor of Emperor Probus), Probus galloping right, spearing fallen enemy, shield on left arm, shield on ground below, KAA in exergue; full silvering and full circle centering on both obverse and reverse; rare; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES

Gautier, G. "Le monnayage d'argent de Serdica après la réforme de Dioclétien" in RN XXXIII (1991).
Gysen, P. "Nouvelles données concernant l'atelier de Serdica sous le règne de Probus" in RBN CXLVI (2000).
Zanchi, P. "Quelques nouveaux antoniniens de Serdica" in SM 120 (November 1980).

Catalog current as of Saturday, March 23, 2019.
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Serdica