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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 61, Lot: 2075. Estimate $2000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 25 September 2002. 
Sold For $2400. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CONSTANTINE I with CRISPUS and CONSTANTINE II, as Caesars. 307-337 AD. AR Miliarense (4.69 gm). Struck 320 AD. Sirmium mint. Bare head right / Confronted BUSTS OF Crispus and Constantine II; SIRM. RIC VII 14; Gnecchi pl. 29, 8; Bastien, Donativa, pg. 76, note 11; Cohen 3. EF, surfaces lightly porous, a few small surface irregularities. Very rare! ($2000)

The coinage of Constantine's long reign is very complex. He instituted several important currency reforms, including the introduction of a new gold coin (the solidus) and, later in the reign, the reestablishment of coinage in pure silver (siliqua, etc.). This rare dynastic type, struck at the Danubian mint of Sirmium, depicts on the reverse the emperor's two elder sons — Flavius Julius Crispus, the issue of his marriage to Minervina (his first wife or, perhaps, merely a concubine); and Flavius Claudius Constantinus, the eldest of his three sons by Flavia Maxima Fausta, daughter of the emperor Maximianus. The head of Crispus, who was aged about twenty-one at the time of the issue, is depicted larger and more mature than that of his half-brother who was only eight. This base silver coin, which is sometimes described as a ‘small medallion’ or a ‘multiple’, is of an experimental denomination which preceded the reintroduction of pure silver coinage about 325 AD. It should probably be called a miliarensis which is the name applied to the pure silver coin of the same weight (4.5 grams = 1/72 of a pound) struck regularly after 325.