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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
641241
Sale: CNG 64, Lot: 1241. Estimate $500. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 24 September 2003. 
Sold For $550. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ZENO. 474-491 AD. Æ 40 Nummi (14.33 gm). Rome mint. Struck 477 AD? IMP ZENO SEMPER AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; •IIII• below / IMVICT A ROMA S C, Victory advancing right, holding trophy and wreath; •XL• in exergue. RIC X 3667; MEC 1, -; Wroth (BMCV) pg. 101, 5. Fine, heavy pale green patina. Extremely rare; the rarer of the two varieties. ($500)

The precise dating and rationale for this, the last "Roman" bronze of the mint of Rome, cannot be determined from the evidence known. Odovacar had removed the last emperor in Rome, Romulus Augustus, in 476, seeing no need for a separate western emperor. Thus this piece could declare his continuing loyalty to Zeno, the eastern emperor. The IIII below the bust might represent the fourth year of Zeno's reign (477). Alternately, this piece could be regarded as the beginning of the Ostrogothic monetary reforms of the 490's which saw the reintroduction of large circulating bronzes and probably spurred the later reform of Anastasius around 498. The IIII would then be the fourth officina of the mint. This piece can be regarded as either the last of the Roman bronzes or the first of the Byzantine folles.