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A Rare Follis of Martinian

368, Lot: 478. Estimate $500.
Sold for $1600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Martinian. Usurper, AD 324. Æ Follis (20mm, 3.37 g, 11h). Nicomedia mint, 1st officina. Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Jupiter standing left, holding Victory on globe in right hand, scepter in left; to left, eagle standing left, head right, holding wreath in its beak; to right, bound captive kneeling right; X/IIΓ//SMNA. RIC VII 46. Fine, rough dark green patina with earthen highlights/deposits. Extremely rare.

In 324, civil war broke out between Constantine and Licinius. When they came to blows near Hadrianopolis, Licinius, whose army was numerically superior in both foot and cavalry, was defeated by Constantine and fell back to Byzantium. His position there was not secure, however, and he was soon cut off from his fleet. He retreated to Chalcedon, where he promoted his controller of ministries, Martinian, as his co-Augustus, and left him to prevent Constantine from crossing the strait. Martinian was unable to accomplish the task and was captured by Constantine's forces shortly thereafter. He was executed by orders of Constantine in 325, after having short respite under guard in Cappadocia.