WILT-13C61D: Roman coin: Nummus of Diocletian

Rights Holder: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
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Unique ID: WILT-13C61D

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A lead alloy gilded Roman possible contemporary copy of a nummus of Diocletian.

Obverse inscription: IMP DIOCLETIANVS P AVG

Obverse description: laureate head left

Reverse inscription: MAXIMI[NVS] NOB CAES

Reverse description: Bust helmeted and laureate, spear or sceptre on right shoulder and shield on left shoulder

There seems little doubt that the reverse legend would have been MAXIMINVS rather that what might have been expected MAXIMIANVS, as the letter following the second I is almost certainly an N rather than an A and there is insufficient space for the longer name.

The obverse legend was used for Diocletian from c.294 to before 1 May 305, that for Maximinus from after 1 May 305. The obverse matches the style and typology of early nummi from Trier (c.298-9), cf. RIC VI, p. 182, no. 185a or p. 187, no. 299,). The reverse is probably based on a prototype from Aquileia (305-307), cf. RIC VI, p. 320, no. 68b or p. 323, no. 100a.

This piece is made by casting two different nummi and could only have been produced from the elevation of Maximinus in AD 305. Casting moulds of the tetrarchic period are known from Duston yet due to its methods of production it seems unlikely to be a cast copy of a nummus designed defraud.

The gilding suggests that this could be a plated copy of a gold aureus or medallion although at present this is uncertain. If the copy is intended to be a coin or medallion it would have to be of the weight of a double aureus.

A silver medallion in Paris is discussed in RIC Vol VI, p. 241 with the obverse inscription IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG Bust laureate and cuirassed left and the reverse inscription MAXIMIANVS NOB CAES Bust laureate right.

Thanks to David Algar for his comments

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: For inclusion in British Numismatic Journal ‘Coin Register’

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 305
Date to: Circa AD 307

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Weight: 8.59 g
Diameter: 29.25 mm

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Richard Henry
Identified by: Mr Richard Henry
Secondary identifier: Dr Vincent Drost

Other reference numbers

Other reference: WHM 2015-36

Materials and construction

Primary material: Lead
Completeness: Complete
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Coin data (numismatics)

Denomination: Nummus (AE 1 - AE 4)
Denomination qualifier: Possibly
Ruler/issuer: Diocletian
Primary ruler qualifier: Certain
Reece period: Period 15 [296-317]
Obverse description: Laureate head left
Obverse inscription: IMP DIOCLETIANVS P AVG

Reverse description: Bust helmeted and laureate, spear or sceptre on right shoulder and shield on left shoulder
Reverse inscription: MAXIMI[NVS] NOB CAES

Status: Contemporary copy
Status qualifier: Possibly

Coin references

No coin references available.

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Tilshead (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SU0347
Four figure Latitude: 51.22218769
Four figure longitude: -1.95842426
1:25K map: SU0347
1:10K map: SU04NW
Grid reference source: From finder
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: WILT
Created: 3 years ago
Updated: 3 years ago

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