Imitations of types from AD 330-340

Under Constantine (AD 307-337), the AE types were replaced by three new types c. 330.
1A)   Imperial portrait/GLORIA EXERCITVS, two soldiers and two standards  (330-335)
1B)   Imperial portrait/GLORIA EXERCITVS, two soldiers and one standard   (335-340)
2)   VRBS ROMA, helmeted bust of Roma left/wolf left and twins
3)   CONSTANTINOPOLIS, helmeted bust of Constantinople left/Victory left, holding palm branch, with foot on prow

This page begins with four official examples:
Constantine/two standards Constans/one standard
(Left) Type 1A: Constantine/two standards.  This piece: 18 mm (larger than most), 5:30, 2.86 grams. PCONST in exergue, Arelate mint (it had been renamed "Constantina" (in honor of Constantine II) which explains the "CONS")
(Right) Type 1B: Constans/one standard.  This piece:  16 mm. 6:00. 1.76 grams. Standard with chi-rho, in exergue ESIS, Siscia mint.
(Left) Type 2:  VRBS ROMA/wolf and twins.  This piece:  17 mm, 5:00, 2.92 grams. In exergue SMANTH, Antioch mint.
(Right) Type 3:  CONSTANTINOPOLIS/Victory left, holding sceptre in right and resting left on shield, her right foot on prow. This piece:  18 mm. 6:00. 2.27 grams. In exergue:  BSIS, Siscia mint

All these types were extensively imitated, especially in Britain.

Only types 1A and 1B carried an imperial portrait. Type 1A was originally issued for Constantine and his Caesars Constantine II and Constantius II, and, beginning in 333, for the newly created Caesar Constans, and then in 335 for the new Caesar Delmatius. Shortly thereafter, in 335 the module was slightly reduced and the two standards replaced with only one (Type 1B). Most coins of Delmatius are of the one-standard variety. Similarly, coins of Constans with two standards are scarce, in strong contrast to his very common one-standard coins. The type continued after Constantine's death in 337. At that time, Constantine II assumed the titles that Constantine had had, so his coins as Augustus (until 340), which are scarce, are sometimes confused with coins of Constantine I.

C   15 mm, 1.66 grams, 6:00 die axis. Official? Imitation?
At Lugdunum, but not elsewhere, some rare official examples were issued with distinctly smaller module. Modules smaller than normal at other mints are usually a sure sign of an imitation. This piece: CONSTANTINOPOLI [sic, this legend without the terminal "S"  is normal at Constantinople, Heraclea, Nicomedia, and Cyzicus, but not elsewhere]. See RIC Lyons 246 note. The line between "imitation" and "official" is not necessarily clear. In the next pages you will see a few more coins that could fall on either side of the line, but may be classified as imitations simply because they are "too small" to be official.

All images on these pages are to the same scale -- small images mean the coin is small.

This page continues with imitations of GLORIA EXERCITVS (two standards, one standard).  Here are links to the next pages with imitations of
mules of these types.

When legible, the GLORIA EXERCITVS types of "Constantine" found in Britain are of Constantine II, not Constantine I. (I suppose there may be exceptions.) This suggests they were produced after Constantine's death in 337. A few examples have the legend of Constantius II.  John Kent, the author of RIC VIII on the coins of the sons of Constantine, thinks that very few official AE coins were minted from 340 to 347 (i.e. after the death of Constantine II until the reform of 348 (just the fairly common VICTORIAE DD NN AVGG QNN two Victories and two wreaths and a few others). This dearth of coinage might have been filled by these unofficial issues. I suggest they were minted (most are struck) between 340 and 346. The types struck 340-347 before the FEL TEMP REPARATIO types are rarely imitated.

GLORIA EXERCITVS/two standards
GE  AE14. 6:00.
Unusually small coins in good style and execution appear with the Lugdunum mintmark (A CONSTANTINOPOLIS example is the previous piece). But is is hard to believe that one mint, and not others, issued smaller official coins.
This coin gives every evidence of being official, except for its small size.
Prototype:  RIC Lyons p. 137 ff. The mintmark is of 330-331, which should be when the coins are largest of the series. This piece is almost enough to make one think "half" denomination pieces were issed, but it does not make sense to issue different denominations that are so similar. Therefore, I am including this, with hesitation, as an imitation.

GE  AE16. 12:00.  Constantine II.
The line between official and imitation can be hard to draw.  The irregular termination of the obverse legend puts this one in the "imitation" category, but the style and execution are otherwise pretty close to official.
    star above standards, SCON[ST} in exergue
Prototype:  RIC Arles 346, page 271.
Bought at CICF, Chicago, 1991

GE  AE14-13. 6:00. 0.80 grams. Constantine II
The style and execution of some coins like this one has led people to postulate a denomination half the value of the usual. I doubt it. I think this is just a very well done imitation.
    /GLORIA EXERCITVS, two standards
    /in exergue:  PLG
RIC has no such obverse legend, but see Lyons p. 140 for the mintmark and p. 7 for weights.
Bought in Montana (!), 1977.

GE  AE15-14. 12:00. Constantine II
Bold strike, well-engraved portrait.
    /crude letters IIOP-IAEXER ....
From Vecchi, 1996.

GE AE15. 12:00. 1.39 grams. Constantine II
Bold and nearly full flan.
CONSTANTINVS IVIIII  legend terminates in nearly vertical strokes
    /GLO IIII IIII,  legend begins acceptably, but terminates in nearly vertical strokes
    /in exergue, I I
From Empire at SIN, LA, 1985.

GE  AE16-15.  6:00. Constantine II
Blundered legends. Some letter-like forms.
COHSTAHTIHVS IVH HOC  [something vaguely like this]
    /in exergue: something vaguley like DCOD, which is unrecognizable

GE  AE15.  6:00.  Possibly Constantine II
Dull green patina.
D[.........]IS NOOC  [something like this]
    /figures well-drawn, but legend barely resembles the usual
    /in exergue:  C|/|S  [illegible]

GE   AE15. 6:30.  Constantine II
Bust left.
After beginning "CO", the obverse legend is mostly I's.
    /irregular sized reverse letters, [....]A EXER-IVS
    /in exergue:  PLG  

GE  AE13. 6:00.
    garbled reverse legend, two solliers and one standard. in exergue;  TPS<crescent>, in imitation of a mintmark of Trier
Prototype of Constantinus II, RIC VIII Trier 96, page 144. Bastien ANSMN 1985, plate 41, 12-14.   

AE12 - AE10.
1)  crude    2) mintmark there, but illegible    3)  remarkably crude      4)  legible, but weakly struck
5)  Constantine II, mintmark TR[P]    6)  mintmark TP[.]     7)  Constantius II, mintmark SPLC

One Standard
imitation, two standards  AE17-16. 6:00. Constantine II
Crude lettering, but legend decyperable
Mintmark obscure, but perhaps with SM..
From Vecchi, 1996.

Constantius PLG  AE15-14. 6:00. 2.15 grams. Constantius II.
Well-executed imitation. The dies fit the flan. It could almost be considered an official Lugdunum type, but for the errors in legend and the small size. There are many small well-executed "PLG" mintmark imitations -- almost enough to make one think that Lugdunum issued offical small pieces. But, pieces like this one reveal, with blunders and slightly odd style, that even well-executed pieces this small are imitations.
FL IVL CONSTANTIVS NC  [sic]  The legend usually ends "NOB C"
    /GLOR-IA EXE-RCITV [sic]  The end of the legend and break should be "ERC-ITVS"
    /PLG in exergue.
Prototype:  RIC Lugdunum 277, 287 variety with variant legends.  Prototype AD 336-7.

Constantius II, AE15-14  AE15-14.  6:00.  1.31 grams.
Excellent style.
    /in exergue:  TRP (?)
This coin is too small to be official, but nothing in the style betrays it.

chi-rho on standard  AE15. 6:00.  Constantine II
Crude style bust, but letters legible.
    /[....]IA EXERCI-TVS, standard with chi-rho
    /in exergue:  [ ]CONSI
Mintmark of Arles, the mint that has official chi-rho's prior to the death of Constantine with the mintmark PCONST.

AE10  AE10. 2:30.  Constantine II
Tiny, with outstanding lettering.
It is veryuncommon to find such fine lettering on such a tiny coin. They size assures it is an imitation -- why did the engraver do such a fine job on the obverse legend?
    /no legible legend, mintmark, if any, off the flan.

AE10  AE10. 4:30.  Constantine II.
A piece is remarkable for its small and detailed dies. Rarely is such a small flan matched by correspondingly small dies done so well.
    mintmark not visible.
From Berk, 1984.

AE13 to AE9.
1)  High relief, blundered letters     2)  small flan for dies      3)  some good letters, mintmark TRP
4)  some good letters, PLG mintmark      5)  AE10     6)  AE9, maybe [P]LG mintmark

Ugly imitations like these, and worse, are found in huge numbers in England.

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