Junk box gems: two coins showing 'wolf and twins' and the helmeted head of Roma

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27 September 2018
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We take a closer look at two little Roman coins, featuring the helmeted head of Roma and on the reverse a wolf and twins

These are Roman coins, made AD330-346, originally at the time when Constantine the Great was dedicating the new capital of Constantinople (330); some honoured the new city, these honoured the old capital, now joint capital of the empire.

After Constantine died (337) and his sons killed relatives who they thought could be rivals the mints seem to have repeated these issues which did not link to any faction, so they are numerous today.

One coin has ‘SCONST’ in the exergue - not the mint of Constantinople, which would be ‘CONSB’, but Constantina - Arles in southern France. ‘S’ stands for ‘secunda’ and means the second officina, or workshop. At Constantinople and most eastern mints the Greek letters A,B,Γ,Δ etc. were used for workshops 1,2,3 and 4.

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The second example is a ‘barbarous’ copy, probably made at the same time, but despite much thought and study, we do not know who made these copies, with what authority if any, or where or why they were made.