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    Calico and Biaggi Plate Coin

    Constantius I, as Caesar (AD 305-306). AV aureus (20mm, 5.29 gm, 5h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 3/5, ex-jewelry. Antioch, AD 293-295. CONSTANTIVS-NOB CAES, laureate head of Constantius I right / HERCVLI-CONS CAES, Hercules standing facing, head left, nude but for lion skin draped over left arm, resting right hand on grounded club, and holding three apples of the Hesperides in left; SMAΣ in exergue. RIC VI 7. Calicó 4831 (this coin). Biaggi 1829 (this coin). Boldly struck on a broad, medallic flan.

    Ex Roman Gold Coins from the B.d.B Collection (Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 49, 21 October 2008), lot 436; Platt Hall part II, 1997; Glendining Sale (16-21 November 1950).

    Flavius Valerius Constantius was a native of Naissus in modern Serbia. As was the pattern with many later emperors, he found escape from his low social standing in the Roman army and rose steadily through the ranks. Along the way, he took a local barmaid named Helena as his common-law wife and she bore him a son, Constantine, probably in AD 273/4. By AD 284, Constantius had been made military governor of Dalmatia. He supported Diocletian's bid for power and was rewarded with a series of important posts in the new regime. In March of AD 293, Diocletian and Maximian appointed him Caesar of the West and charged him with restoring Britain and northern Gaul, then under the separatist rule of the usurper Carausius, to Roman control. Constantius spent three years in careful preparations and launched his invasion in mid-AD 296, achieving complete surprise and total victory. The event was commemorated on a spectacular gold medallion now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, depicting Constantius bringing the "Eternal Light" of Rome back to London. He won the reputation of a just and compassionate ruler during his years as Caesar. When Diocletian issued his edicts of persecution, Constantius, perhaps influenced by Helena, effectively ignored them and Christians found refuge in his realm.

    Estimate: $6,000 - $8,000.

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