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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 111, Lot: 824. Estimate $300.
Sold for $1200. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Anonymous issues. temp. Theodosius I, AD 379-395. AR Half Siliqua (13.5mm, 0.83 g, 6h). Treveri (Trier) mint. Struck circa AD 394(?). Helmeted and draped bust of Roma left / Large XV within wreath with large central jewel; TR. RIC IX 110; Bland, Anonymous 2; Bendall, Anonymous –. VF, toned, some porosity, hairline flan crack. Extremely Rare.

From the Ealing Collection. Ex Spink Numismatic Circular CXI.1 (February 2003), no. RM1276. Reportedly found near the Ridgeway Compton, Berkshire.

The fifth known specimen, the other four being: the British Museum (North Mendip Hoard); the Ashmolean (ex Sir Arthur Evans, cf. NC 1915, p. 473, also North Mendip Hoard, one third broken and missing); Vienna (ex Herzfelder Collection); and Spink (bought February 1992).

Arguing that these anonymous issues were struck between AD 367 and AD 394 and that the numerals on the reverse of these anonymous issues – the XV on this coin and other examples of the same type, as well a similar contemporary issue with the X – may refer to specific vota, Bland suggested two more specific late-fourth-century struck dates for these coins, as well as a possible occasion for their issue. As for the date, Bland noted that only twice during the late fourth century did a contemporary decennalia and a quindecennalia exist: for Theodosius I and Valentinian I in AD 388/9, or for Arcadius and Theodosius I in AD 392/3 (which he seemed to prefer).

Since these coins were struck at two mints only – Trier and Aquileia – Bland noted the three-month interregnum following the suicide of Valentinian II in May 392 and before his magister militum, Arbogast, appointed the “usurper” Eugenius as a possibility. Arbogast disliked Theodosius, and would not have struck any issue in honor of that emperor, as Bland rightly noted. He suggested that a more plausible occasion for this issue was Theodosius’ victory over Arbogast and Eugenius at the Battle of the Frigidus in early September AD 394, since Aquileia was within the vicinity of the battlefield, and Trier, the imperial capital of the Diocese of Gaul, and one of Eugenius’ main mints.