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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 72, Lot: 2265. Estimate $400. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 14 June 2006. 
Sold For $900. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

GEPIDS. AR Quarter Siliqua (0.62 g, 6h). Sirmium mint. Struck in the name of Justin I, AD 517-527. D N IVSTINVS P LV (first N retrograde), pearl-diademed and cuirassed bust right / VINVICTL ROMLNI, large “Theodericus” monogram across fields, cross above; all within wreath. COI pp. 43-44; Demo 122 (Sirmium); MEC 1, p. 36; Numismatica Ars Classica 33, lot 691 (same dies). VF, darkly toned. Extremely rare.

While coins of this type were first attributed by Brunsmid to the Gepids, the later attribution of Stefan to an Ostrogothic mint at Sirmium has become the most accepted. The incompatibility of the weights of these issues with the Ostrogothic weight standard established under Theoderic, as well as the stylistic and epigraphic similarity with other Gepid issues struck in the names of both Anastasius and Justinian I, led Metlich to conclude that the whole so-called “Sirmium” group is, in fact, Gepid.

The Gepids were a sub-tribe of the Goths who began arriving in Dacia in the AD 260s, and spread throughout the Balkans before invading Italy in the wake of collapsing Roman power in the late 5th century AD. For the most part, the Gepids were merely vassals of the greater Ostrogothic or Hunnic tribes, but from AD 454, when they defeated the Huns at Nadeo, to AD 552, when they were displaced by the Lombards, the Gepids possessed a state of their own in the region of the Carpathians and around Sirmium. Very rare silver siliquae and quarter siliquae are attributed to the Gepids during this period.