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Constantine The Great - Now this has a nice desert patina - NOT Crusty"


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Constantine I (The Great)



Constantine AE follis
AE3 Arelate Mint 321 AD

Is Arles the same as Arelate?

Obverse: CONSTAN-TINVS AVG laureate head of Constantine I right

Reverse: D N CONSTANTINI MAX AVG (dot) X X within wreath.
P (crescent) A below wreath (mintmark)

18.5 mm 2.7 gr
from the Kermit C Smyth collection.

Edited by thenickelguy
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Thanks for the great picture and description CPK. I really like this coin. I found the exact issue on Wildwinds. I'm proud of myself.

I'm standing at the door waiting for the pony express as I type!

an afterthought . . .

After posting it has a desert patina, I looked up Arles which I find is in France. Maybe some coins that appear like this were not always uncovered in the sand? 

Edited by thenickelguy
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It's certainly possible that a coin from Arles circulated far enough that it was buried in a desert.  But unfortunately, there are a few sellers out there who like to add an artificial desert patina to their bronzes, regardless of where the coins were found. (The specific dealers I'm aware of are based in the Middle East, so many of the coins they handle were originally found in a desert, but even they get coins from other places too.)   It enhances the attractiveness of the coin, but it can also be used to unscrupulously cover up roughness on the coin's surface.  Your coin looks OK as far as I can tell, but look closely at any "desert patina" bronzes you consider buying in the future to make sure there are no surface issues being concealed.

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10 minutes ago, Parthicus said:

It's certainly possible that a coin from Arles circulated far enough that it was buried in a desert.

I would say that is the most likely explanation. If indeed the patina is a true "desert" patina, and not a similar earthen patina from some less-arid region.

Good point about the questionable dealers. I've heard of using a false "patina" to hide tooling, for example. I've yet to buy anything from either of them though, and I don't know if I ever will. Fortunately, this coin was originally sold through CNG.

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thenickelguy => man, that is another fantastic new addition (great centering ... oh, and cool desert patina)

Ummm, you never asked anybody to post their coins, but that has never deterred me in the past, so here are a couple of my Constantine The Great ex-amples ...


Constantine I AE 3, open door campgate (below)


Arelate mint

Diameter: 20.6 x 21.8 mm

Weight: 2.26 grams

Obverse: Constantine I

Reverse: 4 turreted campgate with open doors


Other: areas of porosity as shown



constantine I rocks a.jpgconstantine I rocks b.jpg


Constantine I Commemorative (below)

Date: 332-333 AD

Trier mint

Diameter: 17.1 mm

Weight: 2.0 grams

Obverse: VRBS ROMA - Helmeted and mantled bust of Roma

Reverse: She-wolf suckling Remus and Romulus, TR [dot] S (Trier mint)

References: RIC 542

Characteristics: Well centered, nice style and grade



Edited by Steve
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