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Research Coins: Feature Auction


The Arrival of Constantius II in Sirmium and the Reopening of the Mint

Triton XV, Lot: 1563. Estimate $30000.
Sold for $85000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Constantius II. AD 337-361. AV Medallion of 1 1/2 Solidi (25mm, 6.71 g, 7h). Sirmium mint. Struck circa 15 March AD 351. FL IVL CONSTAN TIVS PERP AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust left / FELIX ADVENTVS AVG N, Constantius on horseback riding left, cloak flowing out behind him, holding reins in left hand and raising right hand in greeting; SIRM. Cf. Gnecchi 5-6 (Antioch and Thessalonica mint); cf. RIC VIII 76 (Antioch); Depeyrot –. Superb EF, a couple of light scratches in field on obverse. Sharp details. Unique.

From AD 320-6, the Sirmium was a robust mint operating under Constantine I, especially during the period AD 320-4 when the city served as his headquarters during his struggle against Licinius I. The circumstances for its closure in 326 are uncertain. Anticipating a showdown with Magnentius, Constantius travelled to Sirmium in AD 351, arriving on March 15. It is likely that he reopened the mint at that time, coinciding with his elevation of Constantius Gallus as Caesar (to rule in the east while the emperor was tie-up fighting the usurper). This reverse type was a commonly occurring motif in Roman coinage, celebrating the arrival of the emperor into one of his mint cities (or its region of operation), and thus is appropriate to be placed at the beginning of the newly reopened mint at Sirmium in AD 351.