Wednesday, 8 December 2010

"Moneta Britannia 2011" - Programme Announced

The programme for Moneta Britannia 2011 has just been announced. Please visit the website for further information. Registration details will be announced in January 2011.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Les Deux Emmissions ............. encore!

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.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Answer!

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.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

A Surprising New London Mint Coin!

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!

Monday, 20 September 2010

A New Coin of Constantine II

Constantine II 

Ob.  CONSTANTINVS IVN N C     Laureate, draped bust seen from behind.
Rev. PRINCIPIA IVVENTVTIS        Prince standing right, leaning on reversed spear, hand resting on shield.

London Mint - crescent in left field, PLN in exergue.
RIC --, Toone (prelim.) --.
After RIC 136, after Toone (prelim) 182.

This obverse legend is unpublished and unlisted for PRINCIPIA for this crescent issue. It is, however, known for the corresponding CLARITAS and SOLI types, so is to be expected.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The London Mint AD 319-325 - A Preliminary Listing

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".

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A Dedicated Blog for Moneta Britannia

While the Moneta Britannia website is under construction, I have set up a dedicated blog for the conference. The link is contained within the title of this post and in the panel on the right side bar. Do subscribe so that you get regular updates. This blog can now return to its London Mint focus. I would, however, just like to point out that I am most grateful to the UK Numismatic Trust for agreeing to provide funding for the conference.

Monday, 19 July 2010

"Moneta Britannia" - The Coinage of Roman Britain

"Moneta Britannia" - The Coinage of Roman Britain

I can now confirm that this conference will take place in York (UK) on Thursday 14th July 2011. The exact location is yet to be decided but will be central. The day will consist of at least eight papers covering many aspects of the coinage used in Britain during the Roman period. Topics already planned include:

• The coinage of Carausius and Allectus;

• The Roman influence on early Anglo-Saxon Coinage;

• Unofficial mints in mid-fourth century Britain; and

• The London mint of Constantine.

We also hope to arrange sessions on:

• Recent Romano-British coin hoards;

• The Gallic Empire coinage; and

• References to Britannia on Roman coins.

Further information will be available soon on a dedicated website but you can sign up for email alerts by contacting me here - lee @ - as usual, omit the spaces.

Papers on appropriate numismatic and closely related matters are invited. The closing date for session submissions is 30th November 2010. In the first instance requests to present a paper should be emailed to .

This conference will form part of a broader “Yorkshire Festival of Numismatics” taking place that week:

The 2011 Leeds International Medieval Congress takes place from July 11-14 and, with its theme of Poor . . . Rich, includes a medieval coinage symposium, SMC @ IMC, covering the medieval period from 973 to c.1500. This will be probably be held on Wednesday 13th July and is being organised by Tony Abramson who can be contacted via me at the email address given above. Further information can be found here

The York Coin and Stamp Fair will be held at York Racecourse on Friday 15th July and Saturday 16th July 2011 and it is hoped that the Yorkshire Numismatic Society will be able to host a special meeting at this venue during the course of the show.

The Yorkshire Museum (situated in central York) will have reopened following a nine month refurbishment. The Vale of York treasure will be on display, after being included in a special British Museum exhibition: Treasures from Medieval York, during the closure. The Vale of York Viking Hoard includes 600 coins, complete ornaments, ingots (bars), and chopped-up fragments known as hack silver and was discovered in North Yorkshire in January 2007 by two metal detectorists.

"Moneta Britannia" is jointly organised by:

Lee Toone, York, UK.
Richard Bourne, York, UK.
Brent Upchurch, Boston, USA.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Gold Medallions of the Arras Treasure

In the late 1920s M. Etienne Bourgey of Paris was fortunate enough to purchase the owner's share of the Arras treasure. This included six of the nine large gold medallions. M. Bourgey made high quality electrotypes of his medallions and was also given sole rights to copy the three medallions retained by the city of Arras. The electrotypes, in gilt copper, were of the finest quality and were produced for institutions and collectors. They were produced in a limited edition and were all numbered on the edge. The British Museum possesses a set and they are frequently displayed.

In January 1928, the two page advertisement shown above appeared in Spink's Numismatic Circular. Sets of these electrotypes were available for £10 each including case or one could buy a copy of the Arras medallion on its own for the princely sum of £3. The smaller medallions could be had for a £1 a piece.

These electrotypes rarely come on to the open market, either singly or in sets, and are keenly competed for when they do.

PS And yes, I did check with Spink and they are all sold out!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Romano-British Coin Hoards

The recent announcement of the discovery of the Frome Hoard has led me to update my top ten of Romano-British Coin Hoards. This hoard, ending in the reign of Carausius, leaps into the number two slot. (Photograph above courtesy of the British Museum.)

  1. Cunetio ....................... 54,951
  2. Frome ......................... 52,503
  3. Normanby .................. 47,912
  4. Irchester .................. c.42,000
  5. Blackmoor .................. 29,802
  6. Nether Compton ........ 22,670
  7. Dorchester .................. 22,121
  8. Bishopswood .............. 17,548
  9. Gloucester .................. 15,544
  10. Hoxne ......................... 15,234

Of course, size isn't everything but the Frome Hoard also includes a large group (over 760) coins of Carausius including some some very important coins amongst which there are no less than five silver denarii. This quantity of Carausian coins should help shed some light on the early days of the London Mint because it was under Carausius that the first Roman coins were struck in London.

Apologies for the table above being somewhat out of kilter - this blog editing software seems to have a mind of its own :-)

Monday, 5 July 2010

Another Unusual Coin from the Trau Collection

I have just come across another unusual coin of the London mint that was offered for sale and illustrated in the Trau auction catalogue of 1935. This coin has the obverse abdication bust of Diocletian usually associated with the PROVIDENTIA DEORVM QUIES AVGG reverse types of RIC VI 76 and 77 but has a simple GENIO POPVLI ROMANI reverse. Probably an early case of London getting the die pairs mixed up but an interesting coin, none the less.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

A Unique Dated Coin of Constantine from London

The second consulship of Constantine and Licinius (COS II) began on the first of January AD 312 and this coin, struck to commemorate it, was originally described by Mionnet and later repeated by Cohen (#397):
“P. M. TR. P. COS. II. P. P. Femme assise sur une double corne d’abondance, tenant un bâton de le main droite; dans le champ, un astre, a l’exergue PLN. (1065; de J.C. 312.) Mionnet P. B. 30 frs.”

Maurice included the coin in “Numismatique Constantinienne” (1908-12) but it was later omitted from RIC presumably because of the incomplete description and doubts as to its existence.

In the 1980s Pierre Strauss rediscovered this coin in the Musée de la Moeda de Lisbonne (“Museum of Money”) and describes it as follows:
Ob. CONSTANTINVS P F AVG Laureate and cuirassed bust right.
Rev. P.M.TR.C-OS.II.P.P. Young person, diademned, sitting left on two entwined cornucopiae. Cloak over left shoulder, horn full of fruits in left arm, right hand raised holding a sceptre. In the exergue PLN, star in the left field. 4.00g. (inventory no. 2952).

A unique coin and a very rare dated type for Constantine that firmly links the star in left field issue to AD 312 but probably raises questions as to when the issue started and how long did it last. One could argue that this dated coin was likely to have been produced in late AD 311 to commemorate the start of the consulship. Other coins of this issue produced to commemorate the victory at the Milvian Bridge (28th October 312) and the return of Rome suggest that it continued towards the end of AD 312. Added to this we have the weight reduction that takes place during this issue. Huvelin includes this coin and discusses the dating of the star in left field and the star in right field issues in her article in Numismatische Zeitschrift.

Huvelin, H. "Les deux émissions londoniennes", Numismatische Zeitschrift 1990, p.29-50 pl.VI-XV.

Strauss, P. “Un Nouveau Nummus de Constantin 1st Frappé à Londres”, Mélanges de Numismatique in honour of Pierre Bastien, Wetteren 1987, pp. 181-185, pl.13. (see images above).

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

A Shield Decorated with the Head of Medusa

24mm, 4.95g, 6h.
RIC VI London 167 .
Photo courtesy of CNG and reproduced here in accordance with their conditions of use.

This coin caught my eye in a recent CNG sale because of the placing of the shield. On the helmeted types of Constantine at London the shields are more typically placed at the left shoulder rather than in this more forward position. After I received the coin, I was examining it with a colleague who suggested that the shield was decorated with the head of Medusa.

On closer examination this appears to be the case as can be seen from the detailed photograph. I would be interested in hearing of any other London mint shields with similar decoration.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

A Fascinating Obverse with Horse and Shield

BM 1975, 1008.4
RIC VII London -- .
Photo courtesy of the British Museum and reproduced here in accordance with their conditions of use.

A coin in the British Museum collection and as far as I am aware, the only known example of this obverse type attributable to the London mint. Unrecorded in RIC for London, there are examples known from Trier but these are still very rare. The obverse bust type shows Constantine II with a decorated shield and cuirass holding a horse by the bridle with his right hand.

This and many other types unrecorded in RIC will appear in my next article - The London Mint AD 319 to AD 325 - due to be published in Spink's Numismatic Circular later this year. Over forty new types will be added to the 147 types originally recorded in RIC VII.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Constantine as Caesar AD 307

7.64g. 24 to 25mm. die diameter
RIC VI London 89b Common

Constantine as Caesar pre weight reduction so between the summer and end of November AD 307. A fairly common coin but an attractive one given the condition and historical connection with Constantine's brief period as Caesar. Posted here to prove that bargains can still be found. I discovered this a couple of months ago in a dealer's pick tray for the princely sum of £25! A useful article by Lord Stewartby on the coins of this period can be found in the Numismatic Chronicle 1996.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Vogelaar Interview

I have just been told that my interview with Dr Vogelaar is going to be published in the May issue of "The Celator". If you want to subscribe, then contact Kerry Wetterstrom at:

The logo pictured above was one of the ones used by Dr Vogelaar in the late eighties and early nineties. I can now also confirm that I have access to Dr Vogelaar's annotated RIC and collection list. If anyone would like more information on coins they have bought from the Vogelaar collections, I may be able to provide it, if they know the "V-number"!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Obituary : Dr J S "Stoffel" Vogelaar

It was with great sadness that I learned that Stoffel Vogelaar had passed away unexpectedly, aged sixty, on the 2nd January this year. I had not known him long; in fact I had known his books and coins longer. In September 2007, whilst on a visit to Spink in London, I was able to buy a few books from the “Vogelaar Library” that had recently been purchased and was also given the opportunity to inspect his Romano-British coins that were being prepared for sale. I left that afternoon hoping to be able to buy some of these coins and wondering who Dr J S Vogelaar was.

Over the next eighteen months, I managed to acquire a few more books from the library and a few coins from the various auctions at which they were sold but I still knew very little about the man. Then in early 2009, Dr Vogelaar contacted me to ask if I would be prepared to write an article about his coin collection. Over the next few months we had regular contact, mostly by email, mostly about the article but increasingly about the Romano-British London Mint coinage that is a particular study area of mine. I became used to having Stoffel there – I would email him in the morning and the reply would appear later that day. Always useful, but also challenging where necessary, backed up by his heavily annotated RIC.

Stoffel was born in a small village, Puttershoek, just south of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where his parents owned a farm. He was an only child with a talent for languages, studying Latin and Greek, as well as French, German and English, he also acquired a basic knowledge of Russian and Spanish. He disliked cities and preferred life in the country; having been to Ireland on holidays he fell in love with the West of Ireland. Stoffel and his wife Ann decided to sell their home in Holland and move to Mulranny in 1977. He enjoyed the rural life and kept busy reading, writing and extending his knowledge of history and economics. In 1980, their daughter Ann was born, and Tom three years later. When his father died and left his farm to him, Stoffel decided to sell the farm and stay in Ireland, buying a farm in Liscarney.

Stoffel was a great collector, he did not publish, but amassed a large collection of Romano-British coinage in its widest sense. The backbone of this collection were the coins of the period 287 to 325 AD; the coins of the breakaway empire of Carausius and Allectus and subsequent issues of the Tetrarchies and Constantine at the London Mint. He began collecting these coins in the 1980’s and managed to combine this interest with another passion – computers. Computers were the future, he believed, and he quickly became quite expert, using the internet to expand his collection and knowledge. He was a member of both the British and Royal Numismatic Societies and was appreciated for his expert knowledge, advising collectors and dealers alike. Stoffel was a quiet, private person though and was happiest at home, with his family, books, coins and his computer.

Following a period of ill-health, Stoffel decided to dispose of his numismatic collections and from 2007 to 2009 there was a series of sales that will be detailed in the forthcoming article in “The Celator” magazine along with the interview conducted with Stoffel in the months preceding his death.

Stoffel had a deep knowledge of Romano-British coinage and it is to be regretted that this is no longer available to students of these series. It was Stoffel’s dream that, one day, a formal catalogue of his collection would be published. That now seems unlikely, but as Stoffel said to me, “Never say never”.

(This obituary was first published in the March 2010 edition of Spink's Numismatic Circular)

Friday, 12 February 2010

Dr J S Vogelaar

It is with great sadness that I have to report the death of Stoffel Vogelaar. Although he was not in the best of health, it was unexpected. He passed away peacefully on 2nd January 2010 aged sixty. An obituary will appear in the March edition of Spink's Numismatic Circular and on this blog shortly.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

A New CLARITAS of Crispus

CNG Electronic Auction 226, Lot: 564. Estimate $100. Sold for $451.
Crispus. Caesar, AD 316-326. Æ Follis (19mm, 3.31 g, 7h). Londinium (London) mint. Struck circa AD 317. CRISPVS NOB CAES, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right / CLARITAS REIPVBLICAE, Sol standing left, raising hand and holding globe; S/*-P//PLN. RIC VI -. Good VF, brown patina. Similar to RIC 119-123 but those issues have a + below the S.

(Image courtesy of Classical Numismatic Group, Inc.-

That was the auction description. The S over star issue of London is rare and difficult to come by. Until recently, all of this issue were SOLI INVICTO COMITI types. Then a few CLARITAS REIPVBLICAE types for Constantine began to appear - I know of half a dozen examples only. Then a few weeks ago, this coin of Crispus appeared in the CNG electronic auction . The description is essentially correct but the + suggested for RIC VII 119-123 is essentially just a stylised star and the more usual * is the more common mark. This is the only example of this issue with CLARITAS for Crispus that I know of. This coin is now in the DiMarzio Collection and I am grateful for Paul's encouragement to publish it here. I would also be interested if anyone knows of any other examples.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

The Dr J S Vogelaar Collection

Before his retirement Dr J S Vogelaar was an antiquarian book dealer specialising in economic and numismatic books, a coin dealer and a free lance economist based in Ireland. His interest in Roman coins began in the mid-1980s and he built his Romano-British collection during the 1980s and 90s, continuing to add to it up until 2005. The collection contained a significant London mint component.

The recent sale of his collection, without formal cataloguing, led me to consider the need for a published record of the man and the collection so that the new owners of his coins would at least have some connection with the provenance. Dr Vogelaar agreed to be interviewed and the result is an article that will be published in “The Celator” later this year. The article contains a list of the auctions in which the collection was dispersed and should be published this summer. When I know the exact publication date I will update this post.

Friday, 8 January 2010

An Interesting Bust Type for Constantine II

Often the bust types for RIC VII London coins are quite ordinary. Anything out of the ordinary tends to make me stop and stare a little! Not quite as spectacular as the jugate bust in the previous post but a nice little "cameo" of the young Constantine. RIC VII London 288, this example is holding Victory on a globe in the right hand and a mappa in the left. I have seen several examples of this type recently including a variety without a left hand at all. So, not a rare coin but, as it is out of the ordinary, any specimen will probably command a premium.