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New Solidus: Theodosius II


DonnaML

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The first ancient gold coin I've bought in about a year and a half, ever since I promised myself not to spend more than three figures on any single coin again! I'd been keeping my eye out for a relatively inexpensive solidus of Theodosius II for a while (or even a siliqua, as difficult as those are to find in decent condition), in order to complete that family. Even though I think it's otherwise in excellent shape, this solidus was well under that limit, probably because of the prominent "blemish" on the obverse on the Emperor's right cheek.

Eastern Roman Empire, Theodosius II (son of Arcadius, reigned AD 402-450), AV Solidus, ca. AD 408-420, Constantinople Mint (9th Officina). Obv. Helmeted, pearl-diademed, and cuirassed bust of Emperor, facing front, holding transverse spear in right hand behind head, and shield on left arm decorated with image of horseman right, D N THEODO-SIVS P F AVG / Rev. Constantinopolis, helmeted and draped, seated facing on throne, head right, with right knee bare and right foot resting on prow, holding long scepter with right hand and, in left hand, Victory with wreath standing left on globe; star in left field; CONCORDI-A AVGG Θ [Theta, for 9th Officina]; in exergue, CONOB [CON = Constantinople Mint; OB = Obryziacum*]. 21 x 20 mm., 4.34 g., 6 hr. RIC X 202 (1994) (see https://numismatics.org/ocre/id/ric.10.theo_ii_e.202); Sear RCV V 21127 (ill. p. 480); Depeyrot II Constantinople 73/2 Arcadius at p. 251 (73rd emission for city since AD 337) (28 examples of type from 9th Officina) [Depeyrot, George, Les Monnaies d'Or de Constantin II à Zenon (337-491) (Wetteren 1996)]. Purchased March 2024 from Kirk Davis, Claremont, CA, Catalogue No. 83, Spring 2024, Lot 95 (ill. p. 20); ex Collection of Stig Johansson.

My photo:

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Dealer's photo:

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* See https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=CONOB (explaining “Obryziacum” as follows: “The solidus weighed 1/72 of the Roman pound. "OB" was both an abbreviation for the word obryzum, which means refined or pure gold, and is the Greek numeral 72. Thus the . . . OB . . . may be read ‘1/72 pound pure gold’”). 

The rest of Theodosius II's family:

Grandpa Theodosius I, AR reduced Siliqua, AD 379-383 (Aquileia Mint) [Emperor AD 379-395). 

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Grandma Aelia Flaccilla (first wife of Theodosius I and mother of Arcadius & Honorius), AE maiorina, AD 383-386, Alexandria mint, 2nd Officina.

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Papa Arcadius (son of Theodosius I and older brother of Honorius, Eastern Roman Emperor 383-408 AD), AV Solidus AD 397-402, Constantinople Mint (9th Officina). 

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Uncle Honorius (son of Theodosius I and younger brother of Arcadius, Western Roman Emperor AD 393-423), AV Solidus, ca. AD 402-408, Ravenna Mint.

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My other solidi:

Valentinian I (Arcadius's & Honorius's stepmother's father, so Theodosius II's step-great-grandfather!), AV Solidus, 365 AD [Sear, Depeyrot] (reigned 364-375 AD), Antioch Mint, 3rd Officina.

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Valens (younger brother of Valentinian I, so Theodosius II's step-great-grand-uncle), reigned as Emperor in East AD 364-378), AV Solidus, Treveri (Trier) Mint, 1st Officina, issued 376 - mid-377 AD after death of Valentinian I (depicting Valens & Gratian on reverse).

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Please post your coins of Theodosius II and/or his family, or any solidi of any emperor.

Edited by DonnaML
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THEODOSIUS II
Solidus
Constantinople (8th Officina), 408-420
4.40 g - 21 mm
RIC X, 220
DN THEODOSIVS P F AVG, 
Pearl-diademed, helmeted, and cuirassed bust facing slightly right, holding spear and shield with horseman motif
CONCORDIA AVGGH, Constantinopolis seated facing on throne, right foot set upon prow, holding scepter and globus surmounted by crowning Victory; star to left / CONOB

My first solidus, acquired in 1992

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I asked the dealer if he thought that the "dig" on Theodosius II's right cheek on the obverse of my new solidus looks to him like it could have been artificially plugged to fill it in partially. He responded as follows:  "I thought I saw two little pin hole sized digs.  It appeared as if the material uplifted from the digs, was then pressed back down, as opposed to any foreign material added to plug or fill.   I did not look at under extreme magnification though, just with my 5x.  It didn't appear to be anything recent." So however and whenever it happened, it doesn't look to him like something done recently or with fraudulent intent. And he certainly knows more about that sort of thing than I do.

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Beautiful collection, and your Aelia Flaccilla is just eye popping!

I don't have much in this period, but have this solidus of Honorius struck at the Rome mint @405 CE.

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and a siliqua of Honorius as well...

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Nice family @DonnaML

I can contribute with a Theodosius II siliqua 

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Theodosius II, Siliqua - Constantinople mint
D N THEODO SIVS P F AVG, diademed draped and cuirassed bust right seen from front
VOT/XX/MVLT/XXX, within a laurel wreath, CONS* at exergue
2.16 gr, 18.5 mm
RIC X, # 381

Q

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Donna I love that you were able to get the solidus you were hoping for for a long time. It must feel great to finish out your "family" lineage. And your pic is better than the dealer's!

I would show my own 4-solidi medallion but - ahem! - my butler is too busy at the moment to fetch it out of the vault 😅

Rasiel

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I am not sure why I acquired this coin, except perhaps the crown on the seated figure on the reverse caught my eye.  The denomination was listed as billon 18mm, so I don’t know if I should call it a nummus, a follis, or what.  It came from Roma, and this is their photograph.  They attributed it to Constantinople mint, with seated Concordia on the reverse.  However, with the mural crown and her foot on the prow of a ship, this is certainly Miss Constantinople herself, no?  And is that an inverted spear she is holding?  And is SMN(gamma) a Constantinople mint signature?  I would have guessed Nicomedia - but I do not have any of the relevant references.  

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Oh, but I do have the matching solidus, so at least I know this is Theodosius I, and not Theodosius II.  The mural crown is an uncommon variant amongst the solidi.  

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Edited by Hrefn
Inverted spear?
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15 hours ago, Hrefn said:

I am not sure why I acquired this coin, except perhaps the crown on the seated figure on the reverse caught my eye.  The denomination was listed as billon 18mm, so I don’t know if I should call it a nummus, a follis, or what.  It came from Roma, and this is their photograph.  They attributed it to Constantinople mint, with seated Concordia on the reverse.  However, with the mural crown and her foot on the prow of a ship, this is certainly Miss Constantinople herself, no?  And is that an inverted spear she is holding?  And is SMN(gamma) a Constantinople mint signature?  I would have guessed Nicomedia - but I do not have any of the relevant references.

@Hrefn, I have no doubt that you are correct: that's Constantinopolis, not Concordia. It looks pretty much like every other representation of her on late Roman coins. I find it very odd that Roma identified her as Concordia. And yes, SMNΓ is definitely Nicomedia (now Izmit, Turkey), with the gamma referring to the 3rd Officina. See the table of mintmarks at https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=mint marks.

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@DonnaML thank you for confirming my thoughts.  It is amazing to me how often the professionals make mistakes cataloging the coins they offer for sale, and those are just the mistakes I am able to spot as a semi-educated amateur.  How many more mistakes must pass before my eyes that I do not identify?  

Misattributed coins sometimes allow buyers to pick up coins which they might otherwise have difficulty affording.  I know that some imitative/Migration era coins which I was able to win at auction were incorrectly described as normal imperial issues.  This Theodosius II solidus is the most recent of these.  I suspect it would have attracted more bidders had it been labeled a proto-Germanic Migration Era solidus, and a speculative tribal attribution attached (Tervingi?  Pannonian Goths? Sarmatians? Hyperboreans? Who can say for sure?)  

Now, this anonymous coin has had its pedigree ennobled by its inclusion in the famous ***HREFN COLLECTION***   When the coffee table book sale catalog is published by Leu, this coin will be the cover illustration, recognized as unique, and command a price equivalent to a Mercedes SUV. / I know, probably not.  Just poking some fun at the commercial side of the hobby.  

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