Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) has graded an important large-sized gold medallion of the Roman Emperor Constantine I (307-337 CE) that many believe to be unique.
One of the most famous Roman Emperors, Constantine I is often called “the Great” for his many achievements during his three decades in power. He is particularly well known for being the first Christian emperor as well as for founding a new capital in Constantinople.
Some scholars believe that this medallion was struck in 330 CE to commemorate that event. It weighs an impressive 41.88 grams, which equates to a denomination of 9 solidi. Although issued as presentation pieces, these medallions were sized so that they could circulate in commerce. Only a small number would have been struck and each likely would have been personally given by Constantine I to important dignitaries.
NGC Ancients, a division of NGC dedicated to ancient coins, graded this piece Choice VF with a 5/5 Strike, 2/5 Surface and noted that its dies were engraved in Fine Style. Also noted was the circular mount at the top, which indicates that it had been used as an ornament. It was encapsulated in an NGC Oversize Holder® because of its size—48.8 mm from top to bottom.
“Roman medallions of this size are of the greatest rarity, with very few existing outside museum collections,” says David Vagi, Director of NGC Ancients. “We may be sure this piece was prized by its recipient, and perhaps by his descendants, for the gold suspension loupe indicates it was used for ornamental purposes, presumably by a Roman nobleman or by a high-ranking member of an allied nation.”
Bonhams will feature this medallion in its September 14 auction in Los Angeles. Although originally slated to be sold in June, the medallion was moved to a later sale so that it could be graded and encapsulated by NGC Ancients.
“Bonhams is delighted to be working with NGC again to promote and offer this exceptional rarity,” says Paul Song, Director of Coins and Banknotes for Bonhams. “During my 27 year plus career, I have been fortunate enough to work on the Hunt Brothers and Athena Fund Collections, still two of the most valuable collections of ancient coins ever to be offered, and a medallion of nine solidi such as this was in fact lacking from both. We are sure that this opportunity to acquire something of this high rarity will be a once in a generation event.”
The medallion will be on display at the Bonhams booth #1617 at the American Numismatic Association (ANA) World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Illinois, August 11-15.
For more information about the medallion and to bid, visit bonhams.com.
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