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    Diocletian (AD 284-305). AR argenteus (3.04 gm). Siscia, ca. AD 294/5. DIOCLETI-ANVS AVG, laureate head of Diocletian right / VIRTVS MILITVM, the four tetrarchs sacrificing over tripod before city enclosure with eight turrets. RIC 43a. Jelocnik 3a. RSC 516+m. Superb extremely fine.

    The silver argenteus denomination was introduced by Diocletian as part of his coinage reform in AD 294. It was intended to resurrect the old silver denarius, which had disappeared thanks to the production of increasingly base silver radiate denominations in the third century. It was struck to the weight of 1/96 of a Roman pound. Although a noble attempt to reintroduce sound money, the Roman populace had not seen true silver coins in nearly 50 years and immediately began hoarding the new coins, rather than spending them. This resulted in another round of wild inflation and debasement, particularly of the bronze and billon coinage. Only after another 25 years, near the end of Constantine I's reign, was a stable silver coinage reestablished.

    From The W.B. and R. E. Montgomery Collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2011
    2nd-3rd Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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