DEV-464726: byzantine coins obverse

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Unique ID: DEV-464726

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Four early medieval copper alloy coins, known as 'folles', or ('follis' for a single coin), dating to the sixth century AD. It is probable that they are all from the reigns of Justin I (AD 518-27) and Justinian I (527-65) and that they were struck between 518 and 537. 1) Copper alloy follis, of Justin I or Justinian (518-565),struck at Constantinople (c. 518-537): Obv. D N IV[ ]; diademed bust r. Rev. Large M [indicating 40 nummi]; above, cross; either side unclear; below, possibly A [showing that the coin was struck in the first workshop at Constantinople]; in exergue, CON 2) Probably Justin I (518-27), copper alloy follis of Constantinople (probably struck c. 518-22): Obv. (DN IVSTINVS)[ ]; diademed bust r. Rev. large M [indicating 40 nummi]; above, cross; on either side, a star; below, Delta {indicating coin struck in 4th workshop at Constantinople]; in exergue CON c.f. Hahn, MIBE, no. 11 3) The third coin is very worn on the obverse; the reverse bears the Greek letter 'M' under which are the letters 'CON', again, showing that this follis was minted in Constantinople, probably also c. 518-537. 4) The fourth coin is too worn to read, but it is of a similar size and weight to the other three coins, so is most probably also a follis. The finder reported that there were originally about ten coins altogether (the other six or so are now lost). When the coins were discovered, they were stuck together in a line with a heavy 'bar' of corrosion along one length. Sam Moorhead has suggested that the coins were probably found in this arrangement because they were in a purse, which has since rotted away. Although it is believed that many coins of this type found in Britain were souvenirs brought over from the continent during the last two centuries, the description of the way the coins were found, together with the patina of the coins, indicates that they probably came to Devon during the early medieval period. The coins are a significant find because they date to the transitionary stage between the last days of the Roman empire and the beginning of the Byzantine empire. In Britain this period is known as the Early Medieval period or the 'Dark Ages', and at present, it is one of the least understood periods of our history. The fact that the coins, which were minted in Constantinople, were discovered on the banks of a navigable river in Devon, indicates links directly, or indirectly, with the Byzantine world. The National Finds Adviser might revise the descriptions when he has had a chance to handle the coins himself.


The coins were discovered by the finder several years ago whilst out walking. The coins were brought into a Portable Antiquities Scheme finds day at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: BYZANTINE
Period from: BYZANTINE
Date from: AD 518
Date to: AD 537

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 4

Personal details

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Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy

Coin data (numismatics)

Denomination: Uncertain
Obverse description: Coin 1: Diademed bust of Justin I or Justinian I facing right Coin 2: Diademed bust probably of Justin I facing right Coin 3: Worn- just possible to make out bust facing right Coin 4: Very worn
Reverse description: Coin 1: Greek letter ‘M’ and above this is the Christian symbol of the cross. Coin 2: The reverse has the Greek letter ‘M’ with the Christian symbol of the cross above it. Coin 3: Greek letter ‘M’ under which are the letters ‘CON’
Reverse inscription: Coin 1:CON in exergue Coin 2 CON in exergue Coin 3 CON in exergue Coin 4: Very worn

Coin references

No coin references available.

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Devon (County)
District: East Devon (District)
To be known as: Bicton CP

Spatial coordinates

Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: DEV
Created: 15 years ago
Updated: 2 years ago

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