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    Description

    Unique Lightweight Solidus?

    Tiberius II Constantine (AD 578-582). AV lightweight solidus of 20 siliquae (19mm, 3.06 gm, 7h). Constantinople, Antioch or Constantine in Numidia, 10th officina(?), AD 579-582. ?m TIb CONS-TANT PP AVC, crowned and cuirassed facing bust of Tiberius Constantine, holding globus cruciger in right hand and shield decorated with horseman motif on left arm / VICTORI-A AVCC, cross potent set on four steps; I// CON XX. Sear --; cf.  423 (OB XX in exergue). DOC --. MIB --. Unrecorded with this mintmark and possibly unique. NGC MS 5/5 - 4/5, clipped.

    The formula CON XX in place of the usual OB XX for a lightweight siliqua seems to be completely unrecorded for coins of Tiberius Constantine; it does occur on rare coins of his successor, Maurice Tiberius, struck either at Constantinople or an unidentified Western mint, possibly Constantine in Numidia. "OB XX" represents "obryzium" (pure gold) of 20 siliquae; a full weight solidus was tariffed at 24 siliquae.  The theoretical weight for 20 siliquae is about 3.75 grams as opposed to 4.5 grams for a standard solidus (this examples seems to have been a bit clipped). However, the Maurice Tiberius solidi marked CON XX seem to run considerably lighter (recorded specimens vary from 2.99 to 3.35 grams), perhaps indicating the mintmark was intended to indicated a still lighter variant of the solidus. The reason for the striking of gold solidi on a lighter standard than the traditional solidus of about 4.5 grams remains something of a mystery. The coins may have been intended specifically for external trade, as most are found beyond the official frontiers or the Empire.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2016
    3rd-4th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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