I am pleased to announce that our new website, Hookmoor Ancient Coins, is now up and running. As well as resources on the London Mint of Constantine and Romano-British numismatics generally, it will incorporate the Lee Toone Ancient Coins website, offering a range of coins and numismatic books. The first sales lists will be available early in the New Year. In the meantime, please take a look and explore the Resources pages.
Some earlier posts from this blog will be transferred over in due course, but in the forseeable future this website will be maintained as an archive.
To view the new website click on the logo above or here.
My apologies for the lack of posts over the summer months. New projects have led to me taking my eye off the ball - organising MONETA BRITANNIA 2011, taking the family on holiday and watching too much cricket have also not helped!
One of my new projects is to set up a new website that can be managed without the commercial and technical constraints of Google blogspots - the host of this website. The new website is currently in Beta testing and should go live in November. Further information and a link will be placed on this blog next month.
Many thanks to all of you for reading this blog over the last few years.
Facing quadriga types of Constantine only appear at London and are very rare. The coin shown above is not the prettiest of specimens but does come with a long legend IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG. This legend is unknown to me for this type and would come before RIC VII 81. There is no provenance available for this coin.
The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) has once again made an interesting contribution to my studies. The first coin was brought to my attention a few months ago and seemed to be a previously unknown consular bust issue ADVENTVS of the star in right field issue of London. Found in Norfolk, its condition leaves much to be desired but one had to assume that this coin was the first known to link a consular bust of Constantine with an ADVENTVS reverse. Fast forward a couple of months and look what appears in an article by Sam Moorhead in the March edition of "Treasure Hunting" magazine.
This coin is in much better condition and confirms the link between these obverse and reverse types for this issue. Looking closely, one can determine that these coins are an obverse die match, although not a reverse die match. These discoveries potentially strengthen the theory that Constantine visited Britain in AD311 just prior to his consulship that started on 1st January AD 312. No doubt further examples of these types will come to light in the future. Not quite the Frome Hoard, but on a different scale, another success for PAS!
I have been asked by the Yorkshire Numismatic Society to give a talk on the London Mint. The talk will focus on the period from AD 319 to 325 and will be based on my recent article and research. It will take place on 5th March 2011 at the Swarthmore College, Woodhouse Square, Leeds at 2.00pm for 2.30pm and I am informed that guests are all welcome.
The Cae Bardd hoard featured significantly in my article on the London mint covering the period AD 319 to 325. Found in 1981 and published in Coin Hoards from Roman Britain Volume VII it contained 4,716 coins including 1,978 from the London mint. The report records that the hoard was subsequently bought by a dealer and dispersed.
Thanks to a good friend of mine (thank you Adrian!), this week I have obtained a copy of the dealer's sales catalogue for the hoard. Issued, I think, in 1982 by D.B.Coins, it lists 188 individual coins including an example of RIC 288 (GVF) for £22 and many EF silvered examples for between £20 and £30 each.
Parcels of ten VF coins would set you back £90 and 100 fine to VF coins £700. Thirty years on, these prices have probably not kept pace with inflation but it has been a while since I have seen this amount of coins of this quality available in a retail catalogue.
In 1990, Helene Huvelin published an article, "Les deux emissions londoniennes" in Numismatische Zeitschrift. In this article she listed 157 coins with the star in right field mintmark and 47 of the star in left field mintmark. This was a significant increase over those already listed in RIC. However, in the last twenty years numerous other types have come to light (such as the coin shown above) and a revision of this work is long overdue. I am now compiling a new list of these issues and would welcome any information pertaining to coin types of these mintmarks not listed in RIC or Huvelin.
Note: The coin shown at the top of this post is a nummus of Constantine the Great, obverse - CONSTANTINVS PF AVG helmeted and cuirassed bust of emperor right, reverse - MARTI CONSERVATORI Mars standing right with spear and shield. The helmeted bust is more usually shown with spear and shield.
This is the coin. Reference RM4301 in the September edition of Spink's Numismatic Circular. Actually BEAT TRANQLITAS rather than BEATA TRANQVILLITAS and should come after 267 in RIC and after 355 in my new list for this period. The coin is to be expected and fits neatly into this series. These BEAT TRANQLITAS and BEATA TRANQVILLITAS can be quite confusing because of the number of minor varieties and the sometimes loose interpretations of the bust types by the engravers.
Well, the coin itself is not so surprising but more the means by which I discovered it! My copy of the September issue of Spink's Numismatic Circular arrived through the mail today. As well as my new London Mint article, it contained several London coins for sale. I skimmed through them and one caught my eye. Unlisted in RIC and not in my new list that was published only a few pages before!
So as not to spoil the fun immediately, I will leave it a few days before explaining all and illustrating the coin. No prizes for spotting which one it is, but don't bother ringing Spink as it was already sold when I made my telephone call!
I have just finished proof reading this article and it will now be published in the September issue of Spink's Numismatic Circular. The previous article covering the period AD 313-318 was published in the October 2008 issue that is available in electronic form here. Incidentally, this issue also includes an article by Malcolm Lyne on the "Earliest Coinage of Carausius".