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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Perplexing Consular Issue – 2nd Known

Sale: CNG 78, Lot: 1854. Estimate $2000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 14 May 2008. 
Sold For $4150. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Maximinus II. AD 310-313. Æ Follis (6.52 g, 11h). Antioch mint, 6th officina. Circa AD 310-311. IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate and mantled facing bust, head right, holding mappa / CONSVL VII P P PROCOS, emperor, laureate and togate, standing facing, head left, holding globe in right hand and short, transverse baton in left at side; *-V//ANT. RIC VI -; Failmezger 188M2. EF, dark green-brown patina. Extremely rare, the second known.

This coin presents numerous difficulties. First, the reverse type is completely unknown in bronze at any mint; it only appears in gold. While problematic, the appearance of a new reverse type in bronze is not impossible. The second difficulty regards the mintmark. This broad, thin-flanned follis must belong to the issues of circa May AD 310 - May AD 311, as the folles became compact and thick afterward. However, according to RIC, all of the aes issues for this period contain an "altar" in their mintmark, usually in the left field. It is certain that such a mark was not erased, or otherwise removed, from this coin. Nonetheless, as the reverse type is novel, it is possible that this symbol may be missing on this particular issue from this period. The third, and final, difficulty is most significant: the reverse legend commemorates the "seventh" consulship of Maximinus, but Maximinus was only consul twice, in AD 307 (while as Caesar) and AD 311 (as Augustus). A possible solution would be that the reverse is a hybrid from one of the other Augusti, but none of the others held their seventh consulship during Maximinus' reign. Galerius did hold his eighth consulship jointly with Maximinus in AD 311, but it is clear that the numeral in the reverse legend does not contain a final "I" that would be needed for this coin to be a hybrid with a previously-unknown reverse type of Galerius. As this coin does not appear in any respect to be a modern forgery, and it was apparently found among a large hoard of folles, the only possibility remaining would seem to be that it is a contemporary forgery. However, it would be very unlikely that a forger would make a novel type that would be more difficult to pass off compared to a copy of a common issue. This certainly is a remarkable coin worthy of detailed, in depth study.