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XXI

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ERIC Table of Contents


Title Page

Introduction

About Roman Coins

Denominations

Coins of Other Ancient Cultures

Identifying Roman Coins

How To Use This Book

Mintmarks

Mint Map

Pricing And Grading

Bibliography

Reference Catalogs Cited

Coin Terms Used

Glossary

Rarity Tables

Index of Rulers

Photography Credits

Additional Web Resources

Imperial Catalog:

AUGUSTUS
LIVA
AGRIPPA
NERO CLAUDIUS DRUSUS
GERMANICUS
AGRIPPINA I
TIBERIUS
DRUSUS
ANTONIA
CALIGULA
CLAUDIUS I
BRITANNICUS
AGRIPPINA II
NERO
GALBA
CLODIUS MACER
OTHO
VITELLIUS
VESPASIAN
DOMITILLA
TITUS
DOMITIAN
DOMITIA
JULIA TITI
NERVA
TRAJAN
PLOTINA
MARCIANA
MATIDIA
HADRIAN
SABINA
AELIUS
ANTONINUS PIUS
FAUSTINA I
MARCUS AURELIUS
FAUSTINA II
LUCIUS VERUS
LUCILLA
COMMODUS
CRISPINA
PERTINAX
DIDIUS JULIANUS
MANLIA SCANTILLA
DIDIA CLARA
PESCENNIUS NIGER
CLODIUS ALBINUS
SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS
JULIA DOMNA
CARACALLA
PLAUTILLA
GETA
MACRINUS
DIADUMENIAN
ELAGABALUS
JULIA MAESA
JULIA SOAEMIAS
JULIA PAULA
AQUILIA SEVERA
ANNIA FAUSTINA
SEVERUS ALEXANDER
JULIA MAMAEA
ORBIANA
MAXIMINUS I
PAULINA
MAXIMUS
GORDIAN I
GORDIAN II
BALBINUS
PUPIENUS
GORDIAN III
TRANQUILLINA
PHILIP I
OTACILIA SEVERA
PHILIP II
PACATIAN
JOTAPIAN
TRAJAN DECIUS
HERENNIA ETRUSCILLA
HERENNIUS ETRUSCUS
HOSTILIAN
TREBONIANUS GALLUS
VOLUSIAN
AEMILIAN
CORNELIA SUPERA
SILBANNACUS
URANIUS ANTONINUS
VALERIAN I
MARINIANA
VALERIAN II
GALLIENUS
SALONINA
SALONINUS
REGALIANUS
DRYANTILLA
POSTUMUS
LAELIANUS
MARIUS
VICTORINUS
DOMITIAN II
TETRICUS I
TETRICUS II
QUIETUS
MACRIANUS
CLAUDIUS II
QUINTILLUS
AURELIAN
SEVERINA
ZENOBIA
VABALATHUS
TACITUS
FLORIAN
PROBUS
SATURNINUS
CARUS
CARINUS
MAGNIA URBICA
NIGRIAN
NUMERIAN
JULIAN I
DIOCLETIAN
MAXIMIAN
CARAUSIUS
ALLECTUS
DOMITIUS DOMITIANUS
CONSTANTIUS I
THEODORA
GALERIUS
GALERIA VALERIA
SEVERUS II
MAXENTIUS
ROMULUS
CONSTANTINE I
HELENA
FAUSTA
ALEXANDER
LICINIUS I
CONSTANTIA
MAXIMINUS II
LICINIUS II
CRISPUS
VALERIUS VALENS
MARTINIAN
CONSTANTINE II
DELMATIUS
HANNIBALLIANUS
CONSTANS
CONSTANTIUS II
MAGNENTIUS
DECENTIUS
NEPOTIAN
VETRANO
CONSTANTIUS GALLUS
JULIAN II
JOVIAN
VALENTINIAN I
VALENS
PROCOPIUS
GRATIAN
VALENTINIAN II
THEODOSIUS I
AELIA FLACCILLA
MAGNUS MAXIMINUS
FLAVIUS VICTOR
EUGENIUS
HONORIUS
CONSTANTINE III
CONSTANS II
MAXIMINUS
PRISCUS ATTALUS
JOVINUS
SABASTIANUS
CONSTANTIUS III
GALLA PLACIDIA
JOHANNES
VALENTINIAN III
LICINIA EUDOXIA
HONORIA
PETRONIUS MAXIMINUS
AVITUS
MAJORIAN
LIBIUS SEVERUS
ANTHEMIUS
EUPHEMIA
ANICIUS OLYBRIUS
GLYCERIUS
JULIUS NEPOS
ROMULUS AUGUSTUS
ARCADIUS
EUDOXIA
PULCHERIA
THEODOSIUS II
EUDOCIA
MARCIAN
LEO I
VERINA
LEO II
ZENO
ARIADNE
BASILISCUS
ZENONIS
LEONTIUS I
ANASTASIUS I
ANONYMOUS COINAGE

ERIC The Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins
by Rasiel Suarez





 
In addition to the above locations, several other cities hosted mint operations during brief periods. Sometimes an emperor on a war campaign chose to bring along these facilities to ensure a close eye on the soldiers‟ payroll. A partial list of minor mints includes:
 
Ambianum – Amiens, France
Barcino – Barcelona, Spain
Carnuntum – near Vienna, Austria
Colonia Agrippinensis – Cologne, Germany
Laodiceia ad Mare – Laodikeia, Syria
Ostia – near Rome, Italy
Palmyra – near Tadmur, Syria
Narbo Martius – Narbonne, France
Tarraco – Tarragona, Spain
Tripolis – Tripolis, Turkey
Viminacium – Kostolac, Yugoslavia


 

Now that we've taken a brief overview of their names and locations let‟s take a look at the mint marks themselves. 
 
The simplest type of mint mark just wants to identify its city of mintage and the first thing to remember is that it almost always will be located on the bottom of the reverse of the coin. This area, typically delineated by a line separating the design from the mintmark itself, is called the exergue.  This bronze coin belonging to Constantius Gallus, a minor figure of the fourth century, was minted in Sirmium given the readable string ASIRM). The A and the dot would have provided an administrator extra information useful in pinning down who was responsible for making the coin and at what approximate time. One might consider how this level of detail has never to this day been found again and should give pause to wonder just how meticulous these people were! In the meantime and for the purpose of cracking the system let us remember that the mint city will be an abbreviation consisting of one to several letters and will usually be embedded with additional symbols. Learning how they abbreviated their city names is usually the first step in recognizing where a particular coin was made. Relatively few, unfortunately, are generous enough to spell out the first four letters of the city name like in this example!
 
Barring the many exceptions that will be found, some forms of usage predominate:
 
Alexandria: ALE
Antioch: ANT or ANA
Arles: A, ARL, CONS (after being renamed Constantia in the fourth century. To distinguish from Constantinople the officina letter always precedes the CONS in Arles and always comes after the CONS for Constantinople issues)
Aquileia: AQ
Constantinople: CON or CONS
Cyzicus: K, KYZ or MKV
Heraclea: H, HT, HERACL or HERAC
London: L, ML or LON
Lugdunum (Lyons): LG or LVG
Nicomedia: N, NIC, NIKO
Rome: R or RF
Sirmium: SIRM
Siscia: SIS or SISC
Thessalonica: TES or TS
Ticinum: T Trier: TR
 
Whenever possible, the above “keys” should be visually isolated from other symbols preceding or stuck on as suffixes. Another very popular convention used was to use the form SMxy where x would be the 1- to 3-letter city code followed by y, the officina. SM stood for Sacra Moneta (sacred mint).
 
The officina is simply and literally the office or internal department in charge of minting the coins. The physical building that housed the machinery and staff for minting coins may have had up to a dozen or more simultaneously operating  officinae. Sometimes each officina would be given the task of dedicating its output to a certain design or emperor but more typically they shared equally in the output. Each was therefore expected to stamp their coins with the signature of their crew; all, again, for the sake of full accounting. The officinae were identified by a numbering system whose nomenclature depended on their general location. Cities in the western half of the empire normally used an ordinal sequence where you would have the first, second, third and so on officinae. This being Latin, they would have used the words prima, seconda, tertia, qvarta, etc. They would then use the first letter of each ordinal along with the city code. For example, a coin from Rome could have a mintmark RP (Roma Prima) which would indicate that it came from the first officina. Just as often you could have the officina letter precede the city code so that a QA would indicate the fourth officina for Arles.
 
A logistic problem occurs when we arrive at the fifth officina, qvinta in Latin, because there is obviously no way to distinguish between the Q for qvarta and qvinta. The Romans evidently didn't burn too many mental calories on this one and in these cases just grabbed the fifth Greek alphabet letter E. On the rather rare instances where a sixth or greater number officina was operating they resorted to using more Greek characters.
 




The eastern mint cities tend to use letters from the Greek alphabet to accomplish the same task. The sequence begins A, B, Γ, Δ, E, S, Z, H, Ө and I. They can go further for series that were very popular, for example a ΔE would be the sum of letter values 4 and 5 from the above sequence to arrive at the 9th officina. Normally however only the first four to five letters were used and, by the fifth century when fewer coins were being made, it was usual to have only A and B operating
 
Matters become trickier when unrelated symbols get appended to these codes but the general form should be recognizable as the ancillary symbols change frequently from issue to issue while the relative position of the city code and officina do so less often. Where the collector comes across a coin with many letters and symbols jumbled together it might well be daunting to sort it all out but with increasing familiarity with the system it is only a matter of time before a casual glance will tell you all you need to know to identify each coin... provided, of course, that the mintmark is still visible.