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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 111, Lot: 794. Estimate $10000.
Sold for $12000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Diocletian. AD 284-305. AV Aureus (21mm, 5.41 g, 7h). Post-reform issue. Cyzicus mint. Struck AD 286-287. IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / IOVI CONSE RVATORI, Jupiter standing left, holding thunderbolt in right hand and vertical scepter in left; S C in exergue. RIC V 297; Lukanc 12; Depeyrot 5/6; Calicó 4500; Biaggi –; Hunterian –; Jameson –; Mazzini –. EF, lustrous, scuff on cheek repaired, with beard detail restored. Struck on a broad flan.

From the Brexit Collection. Ex Heritage 3015 (7 September 2011), lot 23373.

During the reigns immediately prior to Diocletian, the weight of the gold aureus fluctuated wildly, from as heavy as 6.90 grams to as light as 4 grams, and seemed to vary almost arbitrarily from mint to mint. This irregularity continued into the first years of the new regime (see previous lot), but between AD 286 and 290, Diocletian stabilized the aureus at 60 to the pound, or about 5.46 grams of gold, throughout the Roman Empire. This aureus, struck about a year later and almost 20 percent heavier than the previous lot from the same mint of Cyzicus, bears evidence of this early reform. This set the stage for his complete revamping of the Roman monetary system, which commenced with the introduction of two new denominations, the silver argenteus and the billon follis, circa AD 293.