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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 5, Lot: 254. Estimate CHF18000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 24 October 2011. 
Sold For CHF20000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Diocletian. AD 284-305. Medallion (Bronze, with traces of silvering, 35mm, 35.23 g 6), Rome, c. 286. IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Diocletian to right. Rev. MONETA AVGG The three Monetae standing facing, heads to left, each holding scales in her right hand and a cornucopiae in her left; at each of their feet below scales to left, pile of coins. Cohen 325. Gnecchi II. pl. 124, 8. Very rare. Considerable traces of original silvering and with a splendid portrait. Reverse slightly double-struck, otherwise, extremely fine/good very fine.

Ex Tkalec 22 April 2007, 335, from the ESR collection, Hess-Leu (17), 23 March 1961, 386 and ex Ratto, 19 January 1956, 273.

The three Monetae - personifications of the mints for gold, silver and bronze coins - became a popular reverse type for medallions beginning in the later second century. They served as a convenient reverse to use when the reason for issuing a medallion did not relate to an event that required a specially designed type to commemorate it. While such medallions were undoubtedly issued in fairly large numbers, they are very rare today since very few survived being melted down to turn them into more usable coins. Base metal issues were often bimetallic, with a ring of golden brass surrounding a center of red copper or bronze, but they could, as here, be silvered bronze, pure silver or pure gold. Only a relative handful of precious metal Roman medallions have survived: those in bronze, as here, are only marginally more common. This medal was probably struck to honor the naming of Maximianus Herculeus as co-emperor in 286 (see the similar piece struck in his name illustrated as Gnecchi pl. 127, 4).