A Roman gold medal of Constantine the Great realized 644,000
euros ($871,648 in U.S. funds) Oct. 14 in an auction conducted by
Gorny & Mosch in Munich, Germany.
The price includes a 15 percent buyer’s fee.
The unique, unpublished medal was reportedly issued in July 335 in
Nicomedia to celebrate the jubilee of Constantine’s reign. The piece
weighs 27.66 grams, which makes it equal to the coinage equivalent of
The obverse shows a bust of the ruler with diadem (a type of
crown). Two winged Victories hold a wreath on the reverse.
The piece was specifically produced to be distributed to soldiers
and officials on a special occasion, according to the auction firm. On
these special days, which included birthdays, accession days and other
official celebrations, soldiers and officials alike were given an
extra donation in addition to their pay.
In early imperial times, rulers learned that loyalty had a price,
one that had to be paid continually, and so it became a custom to give
precious metal items as a present on the occasion of throne jubilees,
the firm said.
This medal came from a private collection in southern Germany and
was acquired from Münzen & Medaillen in Basel, Switzerland, in 1972.
In Extremely Fine condition, the medal had an estimate of 150,000
euros ($204,530 in U.S. funds) in the recent auction.
The medal is just one of many highlights of Roman material
receiving strong bidding in the Gorny & Mosch auctions.
An extremely rare portrait aureus of Octavian, struck at a mint in
Gallia Cisalpina between July and autumn 43 B.C., realized 120,750
euros ($163,434 U.S.). It shows the portrait of Julius Caesar on the
reverse and was listed as Very Fine to EF.
Gorny & Mosch conducted auctions Nos. 215 to 217 from Oct. 14
to 18. The three sales realized more than 4.8 million euros (about
6,498,512 U.S.) in an estimate provided by the firm.
Catalogs for the recent auctions may be viewed at the firm’s
website, www.gmcoinart.de/ or
ordered through Gorny & Mosch, Giessener Münzhandlung,
Maximiliansplatz 20, D-80333 Munich. Telephone the firm at (011) 49 89
24 22 6430.
The German firm also announced that it is accepting consignments
for a March auction until Dec. 20. ■