Galerius, as Caesar CE 293-305

AE Follis, 9.46 g, Ticinum mint, CE 300-303
RIC 32b ( C )


R: Genius l. with patera and cornucopiae, star in left field.

Ex: Ancient Byways
Ex: Tamco Numismatics, Sweden (per card that came with coin.)

Gratian CE 367-383

AE 3, 15 mm, 2.52 g, unknown mint, c. CE 367-378
O: diad draped/cuir. Bust r. DN GRATIA[NVS PF AVG]
R: Victory flying to left, [SECVRITAS REP]VBLICAE

Ex: Max Schlachter (1919-1987)/Plaza Stamp & Coin.
86 Congress Street
Bridgeport, CT

This is the first Roman coin that I purchased in 1971. My Dad (z”l) paid $1.00 for this coin that I picked out of the dealers $1 pick junk box. Though this particular dealer’s junk box, as I have since learned had some little treasures here and there.

I had no idea as to who was depicted only that it was Roman. Over the next few years I patiently tried to figure out the incomplete inscriptions, and eventually with the aid of some dealers illustrated lists I determined that the coin likely belonged the the 4th century CE.

I continued my patient pursuit for something tangible to identify the coin, since there were limited if any sources available at my local libraries. My first breakthrough came when I deciphered the DN, and learned through my research that this was an abbreviation for Dominus Noster, “our lord”….with that I figured that the name of whoever was depicted would likely follow that title.

The hunch paid off when I read G-R-A-T-I.

With this less than confident reading, and the thought that this coin belonged to the 4th century, I picked up my 1971 World Almanac and looked for the regnal lists of the Roman Emperors.

Just to be sure I began with Augustus, the first name on this list and methodically worked my way down becoming ever more disheartened since I couldn’t match the letters I had with any name encountered…then I came to Constantius II 337-361, Julian II 360-363, Jovian 363-364, Valentinian I 364-375, Valens 364-378, Gratian 367-383, Valent…..wait a minute….I looked again and noted G-R-A-T-I….A-N…..That was it!! After nearly three years of on again off again often tenacious searching through very limited resources, I had finally determined that the coin likely belonged to Gratian CE 367-383.

This was all finally confirmed when I went to the public library in a nearby city where they had an old copy of the 1964 Roman Coins and their Values. I looked under Gratian and was able to determine what the reverse ultimately was and there you have it.

Shortly after that, once I had enough confidence to feel that I could conquer my next purchase, I returned with my Dad (z”l) to the same shop and made more purchases, patronizing the shop until around 1980 or thereabouts when the shop closed and the owner passed away shortly thereafter. The efforts put forth in determining the identity of this coin have paid off with every purchase acquired since. It is always more rewarding to purchase a lot of unidentified coins and apply the skills I learned so long ago with this one small and common coin of Gratian. It has remained a priceless reminder of how much enjoyment can be gathered for such a small expense.

Constans CE 337-350

AE Centenionalis, 4.93 g, Thessalonika mint, CE 346-350
RIC VIII Thessalonika 118 (C)

O: DN CONSTA-NS PF AVG, diad draped cuir bust left holding orb in right hand
R: FEL TEMP REPARATIO/ TESB, soldier leading barbarian from hut underneath a tree.

Ex: Silenos

Constantine CE 307-337

AE 3, 2.59 g, Nicomedia mint, CE 330-335
CHK 1116-7 variety

Provenance: Ex: Dr. Augustine Shurtleff (24 Aug 1826-27 Jan 1901) Collection (1901)
The Shurtleff Collection of 4,800 US and world coins was bequeathed to the BMFA in January of 1901.
Ex: Boston Museum of Fine Arts Collection Acquisition # 01.7441
Deacquisitioned sometime in or before 2005
Ex: Wayne Sayles

Photo of Dr. Augustine Shurtleff around 1900, taken from a family history found on Google Books.

Constans CE 337-350

AE 4, 15 mm, 1.7 g, Antioch mint, CE 347-348

RIC VIII Antioch 115 (R2)

O: diad bust r. DN CONSTA-NS PF AVG

R: inscription in wreath, VOT/XX/MVLT/XXX in ex SMANZ

Late Roman or Early Byzantine Numisma Weight

Hendin W23 variety, AE 15 mm, 4.59 g, circa 5th –7th Century CE

O: Large N carved into surface indicating the weight as that of a “NUMISMA”
R: plain

Found in Israel

Philip II CE 247-249

AR Antoninianus, 3.3 g, Rome CE 247-248
RCV 9275, RSC 72
O: IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, rad cuir bust of Philip Jr. r.
R: SAECVLARES AVGG/III, goat walking l.

Commemorative of the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Rome during which they celebrated the LUDI SAECULARES or "secular games". The series by the family of Philip I is thought to depict many of the types of animals that were gathered together for the games and related processions.

Ex: Lynn’s Curios, purchased for $5.00 in 1975

Trebonianus Gallus CE 251-253

Bi. Antoninianus, 3.84 g, Antioch mint, late CE 251
RCV 9637, RSC 70
O: IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS PF AVG, rad cuir draped bust r.

R: MARTEM PROPVGNATOREM, Mars helmeted with shield adv. R.

Ex: Silenos

Philip I CE 244-249

AR Antoninianus, 4.04 g, Antioch mint, CE 244
RSC 113
O: IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS PF AVG PM, radiate cuir. Bust r.
R: PAX FVNDATA CVM PERSIS, Pax to l. with olive branch in right hand.

Commemorates Philip’s peace agreement after the death of Gordian III, the PM in the obs inscription refers to his title as “PERSICVS MAXIMVS”

Maximinus CE 235-238

AR Denarius, 2.45 g, Rome CE 235-236
RCV 8315


Gordian III CE 238-244

AR Antoninianus, 4.42 g, Antioch mint, CE 243-244
RCV 8626, RSC 167

R: ORIENS AVG, Sol left holding globe.

Ex: Ancient Byways

Elagabalus CE 218-222

AR Denarius, 3.13 g, Rome CE 221-222
RCV 7518 v

Septimius Severus CE 193-211 Provincial; Moesia Inferior

AE Pentassarion, 25 mm, 9.73 g, circa CE 198-209
Moushmov 394 v
Legate Julius Faustinianus

O: laureate, draped & cuirassed bust right, AVT K CEΠΤΙ CEVHPOC
R: Tyche standing left holding rudder & cornucopiae,

Ex: Amphora

Marcus Aurelius CE 161-180

AE Dupondius, 13.33 g., Rome CE 169-170
O: M ANTONINVS AVG TRP XXIIII, radiate bust r.
Fortuna std. Left

Reverse refers to vows made for Aurelius’ safe return before setting out on his German campaign.

Ex: Silenos

Antoninus Pius CE 138-161

AR Denarius, 3.08 g, Rome CE 148-149
RCV 4067 v
R: Annona l, holding corn ears, modius at her feet and anchor

Ex: Silenos
Acquisition: 2005

Septimius Severus CE 193-211

AE Sestertius, 22.62 g., Rome CE 195
RCV 6405 v
O: laur. Cuir bust r. L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP V
R: Annona stg l holding corn ears and cornucopiae, modius at feet

Ex: Amphora lot of 15 Roman bronzes

Propagandistic reassurance to the Roman populace that the North African corn supply was safe after the defeat of Pescennius Niger.

Roman Procurators of Judea CE 6 - 66

AE Prutah 16 mm, 2.09 g minted CE 54 (in the name of Claudius who ruled until 13 October CE 54 when he died)
Hendin 651

O: IOY/ΛIAAΓ/PIΠΠI/NA within a wreath tied at the bottom with an X.
Julia Agrippina was the wife of Claudius and mother of Nero.

R: Two crossed palm branches, around, TI KΛAVΔIOC KAICAP ΓEPM, date below palms L IΔ.

Ex: Ancient Byways

Byzantine; Manuel I Comnenus CE 1143-1180

Billon Aspron Trachy, 30 mm 4.66 g
Sear 1965 v

O: Virgin enthroned facing, nimbate and wearing pallium and maphorium.
ΜΡ on left with line over it, ΘV on right with line over it

R: Manuel stg facing wearing crown, divitision and chlamys and holding labarum with plain globus cruciger in left hand.


Ex: Ancient Byways

China; Yuan Dynasty CE 1279-1368

Emperor (Khaishan) Wuzong (CE 1281-1311) R: CE 1308-1311 nienhao Chi-da

AE 42 mm, 20.75 g, CE 1310
Schjöth 1099
O: Da yuan tung pao in Mongol seal-script
R: plain

Ex: Frank S. Robinson

According to Ann Paludan, Khaishan was “…a military hero from the steppes,…Utterly untrained in state affairs, he behaved like a nomadic chieftain. Bestowing honours and titles indiscriminantly, he appointed actors, butchers, Buddhist and Daoist clergy as ministers of state, and artisans as ‘dukes’ or ‘councillors’. Wildly extravagant, he lavished money on his palaces and Buddhist temples, supplementing revenue by selling licenses in the state monopolies and tripling the amount of paper money.” (p. 156)

China; Tang Dynasty CE 618-907

AE Cash 19 mm, 3.53 g,
Schjöth 315 variety
O: Kai yuan tung Pao “The currency of the Kai-yuan period”
R: crescent at 120’clock

Purchased at China Treasury Antique Gallery, 61, Shamian Main St., Guangzhou, PRC for RMB 10 (1.22 USD) in 2002.

The Kai-yuan is the ubiquitous currency of the Tang period. Schjöth remarked that he even encountered them during his tenure in China in the 19th century (p.22).

Schjöth also states that the Kai-yuan “were practically minted uninterruptedly for three hundred years.” For the entire Tang period.

Islamic; Ghaznavid CE 977-1186

Khurasan, Afghanistan & northern India

Zahir ad-Dawla Ibrahim CE 1059-1099
AV Dinar 24 mm, 4.16 g

Ex: Ancient Byways
SOLD: 2007

China; Tang Dynasty CE 618-907

Emperor Suzong CE 756-762
AE 29 mm, 8.52 g,
Schjöth 352, Ding Fubao 693
O: Chien Yuan Chung Pao “The heavy currency of Chien Yuan”
R: blank

Ex: Frank S. Robinson

According to Schjöth “In the 1st year of Chien-yuan (A.D. 758) the chief minister, Ti Wuchi, was commanded to cast at Chiang-chou (in Southern Shansi) Chien yuan chung paos, which had double rims, and were to circulate jointly with K’ai-yuans, one representing fifty. This causing much hardship on the public, the value was reduced to thirty and even less.” (p.22)

“The reign of Suzong (756-762) and that of his eldest son, Daizong (762-779) , were dominated by the An Lushan rebellion which lasted until 763, and the records of that decade are biased and incomplete. Both emperors followed a policy of clemency towards the rebels, leaving local leaders in power, thus increasing provincial fragmentation. The population census fell from nearly 53 million in 754 to 17 million in 764 and the Tang dynasty never recovered from the devastation.” (p. 112-Paludan, A. Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors, London, Thames & Hudson, 1998).

According to William Langer’s Encyclopedia of World History, An Lushan was “…a Turkish adventurer who had been adopted by the emperor’s favorite concubine,….and had united three military commands, plunged the empire into particularly sanguinary and destructive civil war.” (755, page 364)