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Maximianus CONSERVATORE fraction


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There was an interesting unlisted Maximianus fraction just sold in NumFitz # 2 (top coin below) that I haven't seen discussed.

The listing described this bronze coin (17mm 2.43g) as a denarius giving the mint as Rome and only dating it to the combined reigns of Maximianus from 286-310 AD. The mint certainly appears to be Rome, but given the CONSERVATORE VRBIS SVAE obverse legend and Roma design it seems we can be a lot more specific about the date.

Maxentius used this legend later on his common bronze types with temple design, but also on aureii right at the start of his reign/usurpation (when he was styling himself as PRINC INVICT). In the same issue we see the FELIX INGRESS SEN AVG (happy entrance [to Rome]) type issued for Maximianus, but with the same seated Roma design. It seems highly likely that this new fraction was issued at the same time given the matching legend and design, and also an occasion warranting a special type like this. At this date of 306 AD the coin is better regarded as a fraction of a nummus (1/4 nummus given the weight) rather than a denarius, and it seems likely that it would have been issued and used for Maxentius and Maximianus celebration of having assumed power. Perhaps the aureii were given as a donative to the army to buy their loyalty, and these fractions were thrown to the plebes!

It seems odd that more of these aren't known, but we see the same thing with some other celebratory types (e.g. from Constantine) only known from single specimens.

I was planning to bid on it, but it went higher than I wanted to go. Very attractive type in terms of (it appears) being able to tie it to a specific date and occasion like this - welcoming the usurpers to Rome!





Edited by Heliodromus
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