Heliodromus Posted June 17, 2022 · Member Share Posted June 17, 2022 (edited) In their first civil war of 316 AD, Constantine had initially battled Licinius at Cibilae, then pursued him to a second battle at Adrianople in Thraciae. The eventual outcome would be a truce, and reconciliation, but Constantine clearly had the upper hand since the negotiated settlement included Licinius ceding large amounts of territory (both Pannoniae and Moesiae) to him. Somewhere between Cibilae and Adrianople, Licinius had attempted to strengthen his hand by appointing a general of his, Valerius Valens, as co-augustus, and had struck coins for him both at Cyzicus and Alexandria. However, Valens luck would soon run out as he was deposed and executed as part of the post-war settlement. Coins of Valens are rare and highly sought after (a must-have for that complete emperor set), and have sold in the $10-60K range. However, for us poor plebes collecting on a more limited budget, there are still a few types, issued as part of the post-war reconciliation, that provide somewhat of an alternative. Here is an example from the Berlin museum of the Valens type struck at Cyzicus, RIC VII Cyzicus 7 (officina VI): And here is the corresponding type for Constantine, RIC VII Cyzicus 5 (also officina VI), that I just received a couple of days ago: As can be seen, these are both from the same interesting "SKM" issue, with the type for Constantine presumably having been struck immediately after the war, probably after Valens had already been executed. It seems very scarce for Constantine (similar rarity to Valens, perhaps?). This "SKM" issue, which appears to have been started during the civil war, is interesting and unusual in a number of ways: 1) The strange "SKM" mintmark that splits the typical eastern SM (Sacra Moneta) mintmark prefix by putting the mint designator "K" in the middle of it! 2) The use of roman numerals I-VIII (vs the expected greek letters) as officina designators. Not totally unique to the time period, but certainly unusual. 3) Very broad busts, but still obvious Cyzicus style, that make this issue pretty easy to recognize from obverse alone. For example, here's another coin of mine from this issue, RIC VII Cyzicus 6 for Licinius (the issue is common for Licinius). It seems these odd characteristics may be related to this being a wartime issue, but not obvious why! The next issue (post reform) was back to normal. The other mint to recognize Valens was Alexandria (with nothing from Nicomedia or Antioch) in the K-wreath/X/A-B issue. Here's an example of RIC VII Alexandria 19, ex. Goldberg 42 (where it sold for over $40K!): And here's an unlisted variant, ex. CNG 112, where Licinius is showing his displeasure at Constantine by replacing the inclusive "AVGG" reverse with "AVG", with Valens apparently not worth counting! Here's my "poor mans" version of the above type, but for Licinius (still "AVG" vs "AVGG"), RIC VII Alexandria 16. Part of the post-war settlement and making nice was for Constantine and Licinius to appoint, and jointly recognize, their sons as caesars, and interestingly they duly appear in this same issue as Valens (change of issue mark unaffected by politics). These coins are relatively scarce, and interesting since this is the only issue where they appear on the old nummus denomination before a joint coinage reform of Constantine and Licinius. Here's my RIC VII Alexandria 21 for Licinius II, notable for the appeasing obverse legend of "VAL CONSTANTINVS LICINIVS N CAES". I'd be curious to know the full extent of ancient sources that mention Valens. I've seen catalogers suggest that Valens was intended as a nominal replacement for Constantine, but not sure if that is just speculation. Please show your coins of these Cyzicus and Alexandria issues if you have them. Does anyone have a Valens, perhaps?! Or, what other coins do you have that might be considered as a "poor mans" stand-in for something rarer ? Edited June 17, 2022 by Heliodromus 12 1 1 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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