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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 8, Lot: 242. Estimate CHF1000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 21 October 2013. 
Sold For CHF850. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Constantius I. AD 305-306. Argenteus (Silver, 19mm, 3.15 g 12), Serdica, 305-306. CONSTANTIVS AVG Laureate head of Constantius I to right. Rev. VIRTVS MILITVVM /.SM.SDΔ. Camp gate with three turrets. RIC 11a var. (this officina unpublished). Very rare. Lustrous. Good extremely fine.

From a northern European collection.

The silver argentei from Serdica (present day Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria) are actually very rare in general - in this condition they were virtually unheard of until the past decades. The number of pure silver coins issued by the Tetrarchy must have been enormous, especially since no silver of equal fineness had been struck since the 1st century AD. However, the vast majority of the pieces minted must have soon been recalled and melted down to make the siliquae that had been initiated by Constantine I. This would go far to explain the basic rarity of argentei today (despite a small number of hoards).