Imitations of Roman coins of the period of Constantine (who ruled 307-337)

These are divided into categories:

1)  The "two-Victories" type (epidemic imitations most commonly found in the Balkans and to the north)
2)  GLORIA EXERCITVS, VRBS ROMA, and CONSTANTINOPLIS types (330-340, epidemic imitations commonly found in the West, especially Britain)
THIS PAGE, which is
3)  Endemic imitations of all other types of Constantine and his relatives, to AD 330 (This page).
    Coins of Constantine: VOT XX, campgate, VIRTVS EXERCITI,
         Crispus (Vota),
         Helena (PAX), and
         Constantine II.

     Images below are linked to larger images (which open in a new window), but not to further details or discussion.

Constantine (307 - 337)
Constantine/BEATA TRANQVILLITASprototype
A wonderful full-sized imitation                                                                                                                                  A similar official coin.
    /BEATA TRANQVILLITAS, globe on altar inscribed VO/TIS/XX
    PTR in exergue
CONSTANTINVS AVG,, helmeted, cuirassed, bust right
Prototype:  RIC (Trier) 368, struck 322-323.

lead imitation  lead 18 mm.  12:00.
 Bold lead imitation
    /in exergue: [dot]STR[crescent]
 Prototype:  RIC Trier 390 of AD 323. There are many similar varieties.

imitation BEATA TRANQVILLITAS  AE19.  6:00.
  Legible legends, letters only slightly crude. Not well struck.
    /STR weakly in exergue
  Prototytpe:  RIC Trier 369 struck 322-3.

VOT XX imitations
Constantine imitation/VOT XXprototype Constantine/VOT XX
Clear and literate legends unknown on official issues.                                                                                          Similar official coin.
imitation reverse:    /VOT XX in wreath, CONSTANTINVS AVGG around, PTR in exergue
prototype reverse:  /VOT XX in wreath, DN CONSTANTINI MAX AVG, TS[gamma]III in exergue
imitation obverse:  CONSTANTINVS
prototype obverse:  CONSTANTINVS AVG
There is a Trier VOT XX reverse, RIC Trier 439, but not with these legends.
imitation:  18 mm.  11:00.
prototype:  18 mm. 12:00.
This protytpe example, RIC Thessalonica 101, struck AD 320.

imitation VOT XX  18 mm.  5:30.
CONSTANTINVS ......    The portrait resembles Constantine II. The legend termination would make the distinction, but it is unclear. It would end "IVN NOB C" for Constantine II instead of "AVG" for Constantine. The reverse legend is distinctly of Constantine.
    /VOT XX in wreath, DN CONSTANTINI MAX AVG around, T in exergue
"T" suggest Ticinum, but official issues from Ticinum have mintmark of form "PT".

mirror image obverse  AE18. 12:30. 2.51 grams.
Mirror image obverse.
CONST...TINVSAVG retrograde, laureate bust left
    /VOT XX in wreath, garbled "CONSTANTINVS AVG" around, .ISI. mintmark (Siscia blundered?)
Prototype: Sear 3873.

"Campgate" imitations
remarkable campgate imitationprototype campgate
A remarkable imitation worthy of close study and a similar official coin.
The obverse is in good style and almost literate with only a few letters reversed. ("N" and "S")
The reverse is completely retrograde!
imitation obverse:  CONSTANTINVS AVG  [bold letters retrograde]
imitation reverse:  PROVIDENTIAE[AVGG]  retrograde, counterclockwise from 4:30, around "camp gate".
    /SMANT in exergue (slightly clipped by flan size)
imitation:  18 mm. 12:00
prototype obverse:  CONSTANTINVS AVG
prototype reverse:  PROVIDENTIAE AVGG around "camp gate", SMALE in exergue
prototype:  AE20. 5:00
prototype:  RIC Alexandria 34B, struck AD 325-6.
    Eastern imitations are very rare. According to the reputable dealer from whom I obtained this one, it was the only imitation in a hoard of 20,000 pieces!

large camp gate imitationAE20.  6:00.
 Unusually large imitation, larger than the originals.
    /PROVIDENTIAE AV[GG] around camp gate, P[wreath]S in exergue.
    Reverse letters unevenly engraved.
 Prototype:  RIC Rome 287, struck 326.  

Thessalonica mint type. AE 18. 2.62 grams. 9:00.
Bust right, with nearly correct letter forms.

IMP CONSTAT[sic]NVS PF AVG, helmeted bust right
   /VOT XX / MVLT / XXX T.S.Γ[backwards]
A similar reverse is below under Constantine II.

crude lettering and bust
obverse legend with some letter-like forms including T, I, S, V
helmeted and curiassed bust right
imitation:  two captives at base of standard with "IV/oo" onit, [dot]SIS[dot] mintmark.
AE17. 12:00.
Prototype:    /VIRTVS EXRCITI type, two captives at base of standard, inscribed VOT/PR

Crispus (317 - 326)
VOTA types
Crispus/VOT V imitation
Slightly crude, but legible.
CRISVIIS NOB CAES with some crude letters, bust left with spear forward and shield
    /VOT V in wreath, CAESARV[M N]OSTRORVM with some crude letters
    /reverse double sturck so mint mark, if ever there, is not legible
AE19. 5:00.

    The next few have reverse types suggesting "VOT XX" which is not a type of Crispus, rather Constantine. Nevertheless, the legend and bust left suggest the pieces imitate coins of Crispus. Why VOT XX is more popular than VOT X, an official legend, is a mystery to me.

Crispus/VOT XX imitation
reasonably legible
retrograde "VOT" so:  /TOV XX in wreath, .... STRORVM, first part off flan
    /mint mark off flan
obverse:  FL IVL CR..VS NOB CAE[S]
Prototype:  VOT/XX in wreath, DOMINORVM NOSTRORVM around
an unlisted prototype, a combination of Lyon elements. An obverse legend of 319-320 and a reverse legend of 320 and VOT XX of 321 for Constantine. Reverse legend also used 323-4.

Crispus/VOT X imitationofficial Crispus/VOT X
Imitation. AE17.  6:00.  2.02 grams                                                                                                         and its prototype
Lovely patina. Clear SIS mint mark
    obverse legend of illegible letter-like forms, bust left
    /VOT + in wreath, letter-like forms around
Prototype:  RIC Siscia, bust of Cripus left, mint mark issue of 320 but lacks bust left and VOT V
    VOT X could be RIC 165 or 169 with longer mint marks. The legend would be
    CAESARVM NOSTRORVM, of 320-324.
Bastien ANSMN 30 (1975) 5 has some similarities.
Prototype here:  FL IVL CRISPVS NOB CAES, bust left
    /VOT X in wreath, CAESARVM NOSTRORVM around
RIC Thessalonica 125, struck AD 324.

    Left facing busts of Crispus are common -- more common than for his siblings. Although these legends usually cannot be read with enough certainty to identify Crispus by name, the bust left strongly suggests a Crispus prototype.


AE18.  6:00.  2.11 grams
    This reverse type is common. The coin reminds me of Crispus, but he did not issue a vota piece with XX.
Left-facing bust, garbled legend of retrograde letters, mostly N's, with an S and an O
    / X  X  below crude upside down V, nonsense legend of retrograde letters, mostly N's and O's.
    /exergue also illegible letter-like forms
Reverse prototype  VOT XX inside wreath around which DOMINORVM NOSTRORVM or similar.
The dealer thought it was "possibly from Slovakia."

bust left/VOT XX imitation  AE16.  9:00.
obverse legend mostly I's, with one O
    /V /+ +
    /reverse legend mostly O's and I's
    /illegible letter-like forms in exergue

another  AE16-15.  11:30
reverse die-identical to the above.
The obverse has the same intent, but different execution.

still another  AE16.  12:00.
both sides similar to, but not identical to, the above two coins.
Again, the obverse legend is so crude that it does not identify the prototype.
    /mint mark area too weak to read

    Above are four coins, from three different reverse dies, with "U"-like symbol in place of "VOT".  Why was this type used?

Helena, Mother of Constantine
Helena imitationofficial Helena PAX PVBLICA
AE12.  6:00. imitation                                                                            and its AE15, 12:00 prototype
diademed bust of Helena right, ....LENA .....
    /PA[X PVBLI]CA, Pax holding branch and transverse sceptre
    /TRS[dot] in exergue
Prototype:  Sear 3810.
Bastien ANSMN 30 --, cf. FMRZ Lux II, plate VIII.2790 and FMRZ Lux I, plate XIII.3740-43, which are similar.
Prototype here:  FL IVL HE-LENAE AVG, Helena bust right in ornamental mantle and necklace
    /PAX PVBLCIA, Pax standing left holding branch and transvers sceptre
RIC Trier 90, Sep.t 337 - Spring 340.

Constantine II (Caesar 317 - 337, Augustus 337 - 340)
small Constantine II anepigraphicofficial anepigraphic of Constantine II
An imitation of nearly official style, but small (AE15, 6:30, 1.48 grams), and a larger similar official anepigraphic of Antioch.
anepigraphic, bust left
    /SMRT in exergue, for Rome mint
RIC Rome 282 is 2mm larger. Is this official and simply small?
Found with three other anepigraphic imitations in a hoard of 8000 mostly GLORIA EXERCITVS coins. It fits their module.
Similar official coin:  AE18, some dull surface-silver, 6:00.
    RIC Antioch 59 of 324-5.
Constantine II, Thessalonica mint vota type
Thessalonica mint type, 18-17 mm.
bust left, gabled legend with some letter-forms reading outwards counterclockwise
CONS... CAE[S]    [possibly resembling CONSTANT NOB CAES, which is not an official legend]
    /Type intended to be VOT/MVLT/XXX/<dot>TS<gamma><dot>
Prototype:  RIC Thessalonica 27-32 of Constantine, but no similar obverse legend. See plate 15.30 for the reverse prototype.  RIC p. 504, AD 318-9.  This obverse legend is retrograde and shortened for RIC 43-47 of Constantine II.

unidentified  AE12. 12:00.
Bust left, looks like Constantine/bulky standing figure
Very crude markings where the legend would be.
Found in the English midlands in 1996, with the typical English green patina/corrosion.

Continue with Constantinian imitations from AD 330-340.

Go back to the pages on imitations of  "two victories", GLORIA EXERCITVS, VRBS ROMA, or CONSTANTINOPLIS types.

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Victor Clark has a page of similar imitations (off site in a new window):