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Vandal and Ostrogoth Coins


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I've been looking at these a little lately and

1.  These seem to be pretty hard to come by.

2.  There doesn't seem to be much to distinguish them from late-late LRBs, generic barbarous coins, and Anastasius-type coins.

Is there anywhere I could look for tips?


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There are quite a few types that are distinctly Ostrogoth or Vandal


Here are some Ostrogothic municipal issues


Ostrogoths, Municipal Coinage Æ 40 Nummi. Rome, AD 526-534. INVICTA ROMA, draped bust of Roma to right, wearing crested helmet, pendant earring and necklace / She-wolf standing to left, head turned back to watch the two infants Romulus and Remus suckling; XL (mark of value) above, •||||• in exergue. MEC 1, 93-5. 13.39g, 25mm





Ostrogoths, Pseudo-Autonomous Æ Nummus (24mm   11.3g  12h). Struck during the reigns of Theodoric and Athalaric in Rome, circa AD 493-553. INVICTA ROMA, helmeted bust of Roma right / Eagle with raised wings standing left, head right; XL upwards to left; •Δ• in exergue. COI 76b; MEC 101; BMC Vandals 14; MIB I 74a; Demo 42.




OSTROGOTHS. A.D. 493- 553. 20 Nummi or Half Follis (23x24mm   6.5gm) Municipal issue. Rome mint. INVICTA ROMA, helmeted and draped bust of Roma right. REV: Palm tree; to left and right, eagle standing outward, heads facing inward; in ex. •XX•. COI 83 (Athalaric); MEC  110.



and some Vandals





Municipal coinage of Carthage.
Circa 480-533
Æ 42 Nummi (27mm 12.7g ). Class 1. Carthago standing facing, crowned with corn wreath and holding three grain ears in each raised hand; N X LII, above; all within laurel wreath with large central jewel. MEC 34-38; BMC Vandals 3.



Semi-autonomous coinage of Carthage. A.D. 480-533.
Æ 21 Nummi (21x23mm  7.7g ). OBV: KART HAGO Soldier standing; REV:  Horse’s head above mark of value XXI. MEC 45  Ex. Pegasi 2001 (CICF)





Warwick Wroth Catalogue of the Coins of the Vandals, Ostrogoths and Lombards and of the Empires of Thessalonica, Nicaea and Trebizond in the British Museum (1911)

Wroth is perhaps the most quoted reference for these coins, though dated (and often wrong), as it was written in 1911. Reprints are cheap and downloads online are available. Often abbreviated as BMC

Wolfgang Hahn Moneta Imperii Byzantini volume I (1973)

Abbreviated as MIB.

Philip Grierson Medieval European Coinage vol I (1986)

A large paperback covering 5-10th centuries. It has good historical data on the Ostrogoth and Vandal Empires and each ruler. Abbreviated as MEC.

Michael Metlich The Coinage of Ostrogothic Italy (2004) 

Abbreviated as COI or Metlich


Željko Demo Ostrogothic Coinage from Collections in Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina (1994)



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1 hour ago, JeandAcre said:

Welcome, @Hoth2!  People here have posted about this very subject, noting the range of ambiguities that you do.  --Shout-out: you know who you are!  Please, don't be shy about linking to the thread)s).

Thanks for being nice about my topic repeat!  But then, coin folk tend to be nice folk.


1 hour ago, Victor_Clark said:

There are quite a few types that are distinctly Ostrogoth or Vandal

Thank you--this seems a great starting point!  By the way, it's been some years, but I've purchased from your ebay store once or twice and I miss browsing your auctions :).

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2 minutes ago, Hoth2 said:

Thank you--this seems a great starting point!  By the way, it's been some years, but I've purchased from your ebay store once or twice and I miss browsing your auctions :).

I haven't listed on eBay for about a year, but will probably start again this summer.

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I always scour lots of 5th century tiny bronzes for Vandal coins. They aren't particularly rare, but definitely constitute a minority, even among lots already sorted into the "minim" sized coins.

There is a public domain catalog of post-Roman Germanic coins, written by Warwick Wroth over a century ago for the British Museum. I think a lot of his classifications are considered outdated, but it is still immensely helpful.

You can view/download it here:


A selection of favorites, cherry picked from dozens of lots containing hundreds of coins


Gunthamund AE denarius


Thrasamund AE victory type (I think the legend is DN RC TRAS for Dominvs Noster Rex Carthago Trasamvnd)


Hilderic (be careful; a LOT of Theodosius II or just plain barbarous coins will be sold as Hilderic - his coins end in REX)


And some anonymous Vandal types





You'll also see a LOT of these sold as Vandal, but I'm not so sure that these can be categorized as anything other than "barbarous"



Ostrogoth coins are a lot less common





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Welcome, @Hoth2.

Ostrogothic gold coins do tend to be very similar to their Roman counterparts, so much so that experts sometimes disagree on their attribution, and even experienced dealers sometimes make mistakes.  Sometimes this can afford an opportunity for the lucky collector.  Here is a coin misattributed to Constantinople as a routine solidus of Anastasius.  It came out of an auction by CNG a couple of years ago.  But the coin is Ostrogothic.


The inscription on the obverse reads DNANASTA SIUSPFAUG. This stands for Our Lord Anastasius Pius Felix Augustus.

Anastasius’ coins from Constantinople read DNANASTA SIUSPPAUG for Our Lord Anastasius PerPetuum Augustus.  

On the reverse, the most obvious mark of this coin’s origin is the exergue, which reads COMOB.  This is almost always indicative of a Western mint.   Constantinopolitan coins will read CONOB.  This coin matches MEC 1.112, solidus of Theodoric, Rome mint.  

Ostrogothic coins tend to be as carefully designed and struck, if not actually superior, to imperial coinage.  With Justinian’s reconquest of Italy, if can be very difficult to differentiate Ostrogothic coins from those of the reestablished imperial regime, but that is all part of the fun. 

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Thanks for all the resources and pictures guys!  I love sorting through things to find treasure--thrifting is another hobby of mine--so squinting at inscriptions and sorting through lots is right up my alley.

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@JeandAcre The arcaneness is half the fun of ancient coins!  In the age of the internet it seems like you can know anything about anything with just a google search and five minutes of your time, but, slabs notwithstanding, ancient coins still have some mystery around them.  I've been poking around for close to a decade now and there's still so much I don't know.

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@Hoth2, after half a decade (starting with later antoniniani and LRBs), I can give that a hearty second!  Having concentrated in medieval for most of that time, I used to blithely assume that, by contrast, 'mainstream' ancients were more comprehensively documented.   ...Not So Fast!

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@JeandAcre I collected US (mostly from my pockets but some from the local coin shop which treated ten-year-old me very well) as a kid and then drifted on to other things, until I noticed the Ancients category on ebay twenty-five years later and haven't looked back.  My first buy was an uncleaned lot of four that wound up being three almost-slugs and one surprisingly decent URBS ROMA.  The feeling of removing the dirt and knowing I was the first person to look at that coin in nearly 2k years was pretty great.  

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