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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VIII, Lot: 1259. Estimate $1500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 10 January 2005. 
Sold For $3750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CONSTANTIUS II. 3337-361 AD. AV Aureus (4.43 gm, 1h). Cyzicus mint. Struck 346 AD. FL IVL CONSTAN-TIVS PERP AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right / VICTORIA AVGVSTORVM, Victory advancing left, holding wreath inscribed XXV in raised right hand, extending palm in left hand and cradling trophy in left arm; to left, Persian kneeling facing, head right, raising both hands; SMKB. RIC VIII -; cf. Depeyrot 6/1 (Antioch); Hunter -; DOC -. Superb EF. An apparently unpublished type for this mint. ($1500)

Shortly after becoming emperor, Constantius II was engaged in a renewed war against Persia. Key to the war was Nisibis, a city in northern Mesopotamia which could be used as a potential staging area for further operations against the Sasanians. In the spring of 346 AD Shahpur II decided to lay siege to the city for a second time, but his action proved unsuccessful, and the Persians forces retreated.

Solidi with this reverse are known from three eastern mints: Constantinople, Nicomedia, and Antioch. It is safe to assume that these coins were struck between 21 March 346 AD when, according to the Codex Theodosianus, Constantius II was residing in Antioch, and 26 May 346 AD, when he was in Constantinople. As he made his way slowly from capital to capital, coins were struck commemorating the lifting of the siege. Apparently his stops included Cyzicus, where this coin was struck.