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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton V, Lot: 2258. Estimate $750. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $900. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

JUSTINIAN I. 527-565 AD. AV Solidus (4.43 gm). Struck indictional year 11 (=547/548 AD). Carthage mint. D N IVSTINI-ANVS P P AVG, helmeted and cuirassed facing bust, holding globus cruciger and shield decorated with horseman spearing a fallen enemy / VICTORI-A AVGGG, angel standing facing, holding long cross and globus cruciger; star in right field; IA/CONOB. DOC I 277a; MIB 25; BN 4; SB 250. EF, minor marks. Rare. ($750)

From the Jürgen K. Schmidt Collection. Ex "An Important Private Collection of Byzantine Coins" (Sotheby's, 2 November 1998), lot 83.

The striking of gold at the newly recovered Carthage mint begins with the extremely rare AQR solidus of 537/538 AD. Like the equally rare ROMOB solidus from Rome, the African solidus marks the return of a lost part of the Roman Empire to the central authority in Constantinople. The later gold issues of Carthage are remarkable in being dated, using either the cyclical indictional year or the regnal year, the letters after the reverse legend being dates. Justinian's infrequent gold issues can be seen as garrison coinage, coinciding with known military activity in Africa, including unrest fomented by unpaid troops, such as was the case in 538, when the prefect Solomon arrived from Constantinople to calm the situation. In later reigns, from Justin II onward, the production of gold became standardized, reflecting the increasing wealth of the African province. Carthaginian solidi continued their distinctive development, the typically smaller flans eventually becoming almost globular, while keeping the dating system used only at Carthage.