Imperial 284-476AD

Roman Imperial 284-476AD coins for sale. We are looking to buy any collections or individual rarities from the Roman period, Gold Aureus, Carausius denarius to name but a few. Often these do not appear for sale on our site for long so if you collect something specific please do get in touch, similarly if you have coins to sell we’d love to hear from you.

Diocletian initiated the ‘tetrachy’ in 293AD, which refers to a governing system of two Augusti and two Caesars, and also carried out a much needed reform of the monetary system. In 295AD, the follis was introduced intended to replace the sestertius; the reverse type of ‘Genio Populi Romani’ being extensively issued into the Constantinian period when a series of smaller bronzes dominated the monetary system under rising inflation, the series referred to as ‘AEs’. The follis reappeared later in the fourth century. Likewise, the short-lived silver argenteus, was issued as a replacement for the antoninianus, and valued at one hundred denarii.
Diocletian’s successors failed to keep this monetary system intact. In Constantine’s subsequent monetary reform of 312AD, the gold aureus was replaced by the gold solidus, to consolidate the basis of the currency once again. The miliarense and siliqua appeared at this time as part of the reforms. During the Constantinian period and beyond, the imperial portrait was still the dominant feature of the coinage, though more stylized. Reverse types typically reflect, for example, the glory of the Roman army, vows for the continuity of Imperial rule, and the ongoing struggle against barbarians on the frontiers.

Following the Edict of Milan, also in 312AD, legalizing Christian worship, the Christian monogram begins to appear on coins, the Greek letters ‘chi’ and ‘rho’ superimposed, sometimes on a standard, beginning with Constantine I; later combined with the alpha and omega, as seen under Constantius II and Magnentius. Christianity and paganism were portrayed alongside each other, though it is noteworthy that the coinage of Julian II was dominated by a range of pagan types.

In 330AD, Constantinople, formerly ancient Byzantium, was designated the new capital of the Roman Empire. After 360AD, the gold solidus, and in the 380’s, the tremissis (third solidus), increased in use as a result of greater gold availability. The full development of the Christian tradition in coinage followed during the Byzantine period.

For further reading on the golden age try ‘Imperial Legitimation’ by G Barker

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