New Gold Valentinian III Solidus, Official or Imitation?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by arnoldoe, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. arnoldoe

    arnoldoe Well-Known Member

    Coin that just arrived yesterday from a group lot off Ebay :angelic:
    Valentinian III Solidus, Ravenna Mint, 4.4g, 21mm

    Obverse: DN PLA VALENTINIANVS PF AVG diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right
    Reverse: VICTORIA AVGGG emperor standing facing, with long cross and Victory on globe, foot on man-headed serpent; in fields: R V, in exergue: COMOB

    I think it is probably a Germanic imitation? Based on some spelling errors in obverse legend (I instead of L / no lines across the A's and a backwards N) Snake on the reverse turned into a spiral, line at the bottom is shorter than other official examples + slightly unusual style, (not super far off though)

    - Imitations are variously attributed to.. Burgundians (Chilperich II / Gundobad) or Vandals (Gaiseric) or Visigoths (Theodoric I / II) or Uncertain Germanic / Frankish Tribe.
    panzerman, zumbly, Finn235 and 19 others like this.
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  3. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    This solidus was almost certainly not minted at Ravenna, but at an unknown mint in Gaul. Hence, they are sometimes called "solidi gallici". Whether they were made by Roman magistrates or under the suzerainty of a Germanic king or warlord is not known. My best guess is that the coin was minted under the Burgundian king Gundowech/Gundioc perhaps at Lyon or Geneva. I have a piece of very similar style in my collection. A similar style can be seen in the Burgundian tremisses minted in the name of Anastasius, which in later issues bear the monogram of Gundobad.
    Congratulation, this is a great find.

  4. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    You got a Valentinian III solidus in an eBay group lot?
    DonnaML likes this.
  5. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    I agree with Tejas (Dirk) on this one :).
    panzerman likes this.
  6. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    Nice pick-up of an "unofficial" solidus. In some ways more interesting than a typical mint issue.
    jamesicus likes this.
  7. The Trachy Enjoyer

    The Trachy Enjoyer Well-Known Member

    Its really hard to say one way or the other. The pseudo imperial visigothic issues in France (which is what this would be if barbaric) are often attributed on style alone...this becomes quite tricky as the western empire crumbles. General mint quality sees a decline and I imagine many of these "imitations" are in actuality a product of declining mints. We really don't know where the line is crossed from official mint production to barbaric imitation, thus the "pseudo imperial" title. All of this to say, your coin is not so distinct in style to be clearly barbaric. The bust style is more akin to later official issues (like Avitus). I would think this was minted post 440 AD. It really doesn't look visigothic (which are quite distinct) and without distinct markings or symbols in the fields, I would say this is an official issue.

    (I tend to be conservative with these pseudo imperial identifications)
  8. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Exactly! I can't imagine that gold coins of any type, ancient or otherwise, often appear in Ebay group lots. I assume that it wasn't priced like the usual Ebay group lot!
    panzerman likes this.
  9. arnoldoe

    arnoldoe Well-Known Member

    The lot was my most expensive coin purchase ever lol..

    I did some searching before the auction and was able to find out that 4 of the coins including the solidus sold at good auction houses in 2002 so it wasn't too big a risk of them being fakes..

    philip ii.jpg

  10. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    That has got to be the single most impressive group lot I have even seen sold on eBay. Congratulations on a great snag.

    Sorry if I'm going too far off topic, but I just want to add that this is also the case with a lot of mid/late 3rd century antoninani, especially those of the Romano-Gallic Empire. Trying to determine between official and unofficial Tetricus I and II or Claudius Gothicus Consecration issues is sometimes a lost cause.
    DonnaML and Jay GT4 like this.
  11. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    There are some very impressive coins in this group :jawdrop:! It seems to be a foolish way to liquidate these coins, & most likely a smart purchase by you :happy:. Would you be willing to reveal what the lot cost you o_O?
    Harry G, panzerman and DonnaML like this.
  12. arnoldoe

    arnoldoe Well-Known Member

    here are a few other similar coins I found, one with the same obverse die.., + the coin above/below mine also look like they were engraved by the same person, with the same legend errors.

    The coin on the top left is an imitation, since an official coin wouldn’t have the wreath above Valentinian’s head
  13. arnoldoe

    arnoldoe Well-Known Member

    idk, went pretty high, was hoping to get it cheaper lol.. but still just the Philip Tetradrachm alone went for 950 Euros + Fees back in 2002, + the 2 scyphate Celtic Tetradrachms sold for 450 + 480 + Fees
    DonnaML likes this.
  14. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Congrats on a great investment :D!
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