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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton V, Lot: 2218. Estimate $600. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $440. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THEODOSIUS II. 402-450 AD. AV Solidus (4.43 gm). Constantinople mint. Struck 443 AD. D N THEODOSI-VS P F AVG, diademed and helmeted three-quarter facing bust, holding spear over right shoulder and shield with horseman motif on left arm / IMP XXXXII COS XVII P P, Constantinopolis enthroned left, left foot on prow, holding globus cruciger in right hand and sceptre in left; shield at her side, star in right field; COMOB. RIC X 301; DOCLR 414; see J.P.C. Kent, "IMP XXXXII COS XVII PP" in Florilegum Numismaticum, pg. 189-196; Depeyrot 84/1. EF. ($600)

The exact significance of the very large issue of solidi dated to the forty-second regnal year of Theodosius II to which this coin belongs has stirred interest among scholars for many years. There is the unlikely explanation that Theodosius was stressing the length of his reign, as he was the first emperor in over four hundred years to have achieved the same length of rule as Augustus. The problem with this theory is that by the standards of the time, Augustus' reign was considered to have started with the death of Caesar in 44 BC, making his reign 56 years in length. The more plausible explanation for the reverse legend is that, by Byzantine reckoning, Christ was born in the forty-second year of Augustus' reign and Theodosius was drawing attention to this fact.