A Reduced Size Follis of Justinian I

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Al Kowsky, May 1, 2021.

  1. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Large size folles of Justinian I are plentiful, but high-grade examples have gotten very expensive in the last few years. I've seen Ex. Fine examples sell for over $1,000.00 :jawdrop:! Very choice examples of the reduced size folles struck after Justinian's War in Italy, 2nd phase, AD 541-554 are even more difficult to find. I recently scored a handsome Year 31 (AD 557-558) follis with some surface roughness & hard green deposits on the reverse.

    CNG 490, Lot 339_2, $460 (4).jpg
    BYZANTINE EMPIRE. Justinian I, AD 527-565, Nicomedia Mint, Officina #2, Dated Year 31 (557-558). Obverse: Helmeted & cuirassed bust of Justinian holding a globus cruciger & shield decorated with a horseman spearing a fallen enemy, cross in right field. D N JVSTINIANVS PP AVG. Reverse: Large M with cross above, ANNO in left field, XXXI in right field, NIKO in exergue. AE 40 nummi: 18.43 gm, 33 mm, 6 h. Sear 201. Ex Peter J. Merani Collection, Bought from Mark E. Reid (The Time Machine), December 6, 1998.
    Mark Reid business card.JPG Mark Reid sales insert.jpg

    Justinian's goal of reconquering Italy was a long, bloody, & expensive series of battles. It took 35,000 troops, 300,000 pounds of gold, & very unpopular tax increases to accomplish his ambition :jawdrop:! It was also necessary to leave 16,000 troops garrisoned in Italy. It is no surprise that the enormous expenses of conducting wars in the Eastern Byzantine Empire, Europe & Africa, coupled with the devastating effects of the bubonic plague, that the bronze coinage shrunk in size :(. Pictured below is a Byzantine 40 nummi coin struck in Year 13 for comparison.

    Justinian I, Year 13 23.23 gm (3).jpg
    BYZANTINE EMPIRE. Justinian I, AD 527-565, Constantinople Mint, Officina #2, Dated Year 13 (AD 539-540). AE 40 Nummi: 23.23 gm, 40 mm, 6 h. Sear 163. Ex Tom Cederlind.

    If any CT members have reduced size Justinian I folles I'd like to see them :happy:.
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  3. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Not an area I collect in......But can really appreciate the OP coin...Lovely detail!
    Big coin too!......Nice pick up!.......Paul
    Inspector43 likes this.
  4. Stanw891

    Stanw891 Active Member

    That is a beautiful coin! Justinian is my favorite emperor! He was lucky he has Belisarius as his general to make his plans happen!

    Hard to find nice examples like that! Congratulations! I am super jealous!!
    BenSi and Inspector43 like this.
  5. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Does 35 mm fit your criteria?
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  6. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Justinian I (527 - 565 A.D.)
    Æ Follis
    O: DN ISTINI-ANVS PP AVG Helmeted and cuirassed bust of Justinian facing, holding globus cruciger and a shield.
    R: Large M, cross above, ANNO left, regnal year XXXI right, G ( = officina 3 ) below, THEUP in ex.
    Theoupolis - Antiochia
    SB 220
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  7. DiomedesofArgos

    DiomedesofArgos Well-Known Member

    Not sure what the cut-off is for reduced size, but I'd going to take this opportunity to show off my year 25 Antioch follis :D


    36 mm, 19.9 gr
  8. Inspector43

    Inspector43 Collecting Since 1948 Supporter

    Here is one I found in an uncleaned lot. Not real fine. It is 30mm. I should mention that mine is year 23.
    Justinian I.jpg
    Last edited: May 1, 2021
  9. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Pete, I believe your follis would fall in the reduced size range. The diameter could go either way, so the weight would be important. If the weight falls below 20.0 grams I'd say it's a reduced size follis :D. Never the less it's a handsome coin ;).
    BenSi likes this.
  10. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member


    Not a follis, but a half follis from a special (military? emergency?) issue from near Salona - this half follis is only 17mm and the folles are about 25mm Justinian half follis military mint Salona.jpg

    My smallest follis of his is from Theoupolis / Antioch, at 31mm Justinian AE follis Theoupolis antioch.jpg
  11. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Mat, This is a great example of a reduced size follis :happy:! The same year as my coin, Year 31, & the weight within .21 of a gram :jawdrop:! A great example from "The City of God".
    PeteB and BenSi like this.
  12. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Dio.Argos, This is a wonderful follis from "The City of God" :jawdrop:! It would take a lot of searching to top this coin :smuggrin:.
  13. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Inspector43, This follis is definitely a reduced size coin :smuggrin:! Can you make out the date o_O? What is the weight?
  14. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Justinian issued reformed (facing bust) folles in years 12 through 39 (538/9 - 565). Constantinople only minted folles until year 37, Nicomedia through year 34, Cyzicus year 31, Antioch year 39 (the latest), and Carthage year 14. Coins with later dates are scarcer and smaller. Here is one from year 35 (561/2):


    33-31 mm. 17.92 grams.
    Sear 163, year 35, Constantinople, officina Є.

    I'd like to see one with a later date.
  15. Inspector43

    Inspector43 Collecting Since 1948 Supporter

    Weight 14.62 Date 23 XX over III
  16. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    A very informative write up. Not sure this counts, exactly, but it is a Justinian follis that is quite small:

    Byz - Justinian I - Salona mint Follis Lot Jan 2020 (0).jpg
    Justinian I Æ Follis
    (c. 540s-550s or 562-565 A.D.)
    Salona / Ravenna Mint (?)
    (Military Mint)

    IVSTI[NI]ANVS PP, Helmeted facing bust, holding globus cruciger and shield; cross to right / Large M; cross above, no mintmark or Officina.
    DOC I 358; MIBE 248; SB 329.
    (6.43 grams / 21 mm)

    "The correct attribution of this unsigned series of bronzes remains uncertain, but numerous examples have been found in the environs of Salona in Illyria...Grierson supports a date in the 540s-550s...while Hahn dates it to 562-565...the reduced size, simplified design, and scarcity of these bronzes speaks of a short-lived issue of limited circulation." CNG Auctions (several)
  17. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    Not reduced but a nice example, I just loved the portrait. Hope you dont mind I share.
    Justinian I, 527-565. Follis (Bronze, 33 mm, 14.71 g, 7 h), Theoupolis (Antiochia), 533-537. D N IVSTINIANVS P P AVG Diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust of Justinian I to right. Rev. Large M between two stars; above, cross; below, Γ; in exergue, +THEЧP+. DOC 210c. MIB 126. SB 216. Repatinated, otherwise, good very fine.
  18. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Here's a follis, of Antioch, dated year 38. This coin was purchased as an Arab imitation, though I do consider this coin from the reign of Justinian I. The legend is quite muddled, but that seems to have been the case for the coins produced at Antioch during the last few years of his reign.

    Quite scarce.

    19.80 grams

    Justinian I follis, year 38, Antioch 555-556 AD 19.80 grams, Roma auction purchase 5-1-21.jpg
  19. mightyknighty

    mightyknighty Member

    I read somewhere that for this ruler the copper coins are actually more expensive as his gold coins due to rarity is that true?
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  20. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    No, thats not true , you can get his copper coinage easily, the higher the grade the higher the price but his copper coins are not rare.

    I have not collected his gold but I know they would go much higher than copper.
    mightyknighty likes this.
  21. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Finn235, Those are two lovely folles :happy:! The 1/2 follis is fascinating & the Antioch follis has an excellent profile portrait :cool:.
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