WAITING FOR ART
A circa 330 A.D. gold medallion of 9 solidi of Roman Emperor Contstantine the Great highlights Bonham's June 1 sale in Los Angeles of 594 lots of United States coins and paper money, and ancient and world coins.
A cuirassed bust of Constantine the Great, also known as Constantine I, appears facing right on the obverse. On the reverse, a haloed Constantine appears seated on a through, flanked by Constantine II left, and Constantius, right, in military garb. The looped medal is defined as in Very Fine condition. It measures 48.8 millimeters and weighs 41.88 grams.
According to the auction lot description: "Gold medallions were gifts made by the emperor to high ranking individuals of the empire, both civilian and military, as well as to 'foreign ambassadors and chieftains whom it was intended to impress.'"
Numismatic researcher J.M.C. Toynbee in her 1944 reference, Roman Medallions, describes such pieces as "money medallions" because they were denominated in multiples of gold and silver coins and could legally be used as money. The medallions ranged from the 1½-solidi pieces first issued by Constantine I to the 72-solidi piece of Valens, fully Flavius Julius Valens Augustus.
According to the auction lot description, the 9 solidi gold medallion appears to be related to a group of gold medallions and coins that was discovered in the village of Helleville, near Cherbourg in Normandy, France, in 1780.
The medallion, which is reported to be from the numismatic holdings of a private West Coast collector, carries a pre-sale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.
A buyer's premium will be added to the closing hammer price of each lot won. The premium is 25 percent on the first $100,000; 20 percent on the portion from $100,001 to $2 million; and 12 percent on any portion in excess of $2 million.
For more details on the sale, visit the Bonham's website.