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    The Tetrarchic Style

    Diocletian (AD 284-305). AV aureus (19mm, 5.36 gm, 5h).  Antioch, AD 296-297. DIOCLETIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate head of Diocletian right / CONSVL VI P P PROCOS *, Diocletian, togate and laureate, standing left, holding globe in right hand and baton in left, SM AΣ in exergue. RIC VI 13. Cohen 51. Calicó 4440 (R3) (this coin illustrated). Well struck in high relief from dies of high Tetrarchic style. NGC (photo-certificate) AU? 5/5 - 5/5.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex McLendon Collection (Christie's New York, 12 June 1993), lot 199. 

    Diocletian devoted much of his effort to reforming Rome's currency, which had fallen to a deplorable state in the later third century. He stabilized the gold aureus at 1/60th of a Roman pound and, for the first time in six decades, issued a new version of the venerable denarius in nearly pure silver (today this coin is commonly called the argenteus). An impressive large piece in base billon (less than 2% silver, the main part copper) was introduced (now referred to as the follis or nummis), along with several fractional coins for small change. Along with the new coinage came a new artistic conception of the Imperial image: The four Tetrarchs were depicted with hard, angular, heavily stylized and virtually "generic" visages that were effectively interchangeable. There can be no doubt that this break with the veristic tradition of Roman portraiture was deliberate and, as with all of Diocletian's reforms, highly thought-through. The new collegiate Roman government was stating that the individual appearance and personality of the rulers mattered less than the unified, determined front they represented. The gold aureus seen here, produced at the great Syrian metropolis of Antioch, represents the epitome of this new style of art, which ironically anticipated Christian art of the Middle Ages. 

    All Roman gold coins from the Dimitriadis Collection have been issued a photo-certificate by NGC. These may be sent in for encapsulation after the auction at the request of the buyer, free of charge. Please e-mail SamS@HA.com if you would like to utilize this option.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    10th-16th Thursday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
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