Eastern Mint Coins


Septimius Severus

Recently a number of the early eastern mint silver coins of the late second/early third century Roman emperor Septimius Severus have appeared on the market. Some of these coins, particularly the first issue, are rare and yet they can go overlooked in hoard bags that frequently appear. By way of illustration two such coins are illustrated below.

This first coin from the Emesa mint must be one of the first products from the mint. The reverse type uses IVSTVS in the legend, a title used almost exclusively by Pescennius Niger, the previous emperor to operate the mint. That the mint is eastern is in no doubt as the Roman word AVG (short for Augustus) is rendered with a Greek "S".

The second coin is one of the "legionary denarii" from Severus' reign. The majority of the issue was struck at Rome and whilst commanding a premium from collectors the Rome coins are not rare. The above issue is not from Rome but rather from an eastern mint. Although the reverse type is the same for that of Rome naming the XIIII th Gemina Martia Victrix (incidently the legion that had first proclaimed Severus emperor in 193AD) the obverse legend ends with COS (in this case COS II) indicating an eastern origin. Because of their similarity to the Rome legionary coins it is a fair assumption that a number the eastern issues are going unrecognised in collections.


For more information on these eastern coins see some of Doug Smith's pages who is far more knowledgeable on the coins of Septimius Severus than me.

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2002 RJB