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Justinian I Follis...


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Though ordered over a week apart, 2 Byzantine coins arrived in my anticipatory mitts today. The first ordered was the Leo V in another thread and the second was this one, discussed in a different earlier thread. Both came from different dealers on VCoins. I was shocked at the size and heft of this coin, especially in stark contrast to the comparatively minuscule Leo V Follis of some 3 centuries later. I'm guessing that this somewhat reflects the relative health of the empire between the two reigns. Having never previously seen a Justinian follis in the bronze, I can now attest that these coins make quite an impression.


Justinian I Follis (540/1 - Year 14), Constantinople mint, Obv: DN IVSTINIANVS PP AVG, helmeted, cuirassed bust facing holding cross on globe and shield; cross to right. Rev: Large M, ANNO to left, cross above, XIIII (date) to right, A below, CON in exergue, Sear 163

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That coin is very impressive!! Congratulations! It actually seems noticeably better than the seller photo you posted earlier. These are fantastic coins, especially on a big "medallic" flans like that.

Starting in Year 12 Justinian started striking huge folles (also with this new facing bust, borrowed from the AV Solidus). An attempt to restore public confidence in the small coinage (which was always in short supply). By Year 15 most were already a bit smaller, and once the plague devastated the entire region (Year 14/15 on), they rapidly fell back to original size. I've got ones from Years 12, 14, 15, 17 -- 12 is largest, then 14, 15, and 17 smallest (mine are from at least 2 mints, which is a confounding factor, since some mints shrunk sooner).

I don't want to comment without showing a coin, so I'll "insert from attachment" (again) my Year 14 Constantinople Follis. Same reverse die as the OP coin (also double-struck!!). (Mine is about 39mm+, so yours must be well >40.)



Justinian I “The Great” (527 – 565 CE) AE Follis (23.8g, 39mm). Constantinople, 1 Aug 540 – 31 Jul 541 CE (regnal year 14).
Obv: D N IVSTINIANVS P P AVI. Diademed, helmeted & cuirassed bust facing, holding globus cruciger in r. hand & shield over l. shoulder decorated w/ equestrian motif; in field to r., cross.
Rev: Large M, ANNO – X/II/II to either side. Cross above. A below. CON in exergue.
Ref: SB 163; DOC 39a.
Provenance: Ex-Ancient & Medieval Coins Canada Auction 2 (9 Nov 2019), Lot 274; Ex-“TheRed” Collection; Ex-FORVM Ancient Coins (n.d. Item SH36361), with tag.
Notes: My blog post on “Justinian Plague Coins”

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