Nickle Picks: Scott Coleman, Numismatics Student Assistant, 2019, Nickle Galleries

My favourite coin in Nickle Galleries’ collection is a bronze coin attested to Constantine the Great. The reason I chose it is for its apparent multigenerational use and characteristics most other Roman/Byzantine bronze coins do not have. First, the coin has one of the earliest Christian symbols stamped onto it; the Chi-Rho, a symbol associated with Constantine during the battle of the Milvian bridge in 312. The coin also has an overstrike, suggesting its reuse by later rulers, possibly Islamic. A fascinating feature is a puncture that appears to be a recent addition and indicates a shift in it’s function and utilization. The puncture’s diameter seems to be a perfect circle and has less wear than the rest of the coin, suggesting a much later date of manipulation. The hole also suggests the coin’s use as a piece of jewellery, either as a necklace or bracelet. I chose this coin as my personal favourite for its deep and complicated history.

Bronze follis of Constantine the Great, 4th century (with overstrike).
Photo: Brittany DeMone
Collection of Nickle Galleries

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