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Victoriae Laetae Princ Perp / Vot Pr





The reverse type illustrated above was minted in great numbers for Constantine and Licinius augusti and for Crispus, Constantine II and Licinius II caesares. The reverse has ‘Two Victory’s holding shield inscribed VOT/PR above altar’.


This type was imitated extensively in the Danube regions, mostly using Siscia mint prototypes. There are a few things most of these imitations have in common, although of course there are many exceptions. First, the legends, especially reverse legends, are usually ‘blundered beyond recognition’: only in very few cases an emperor’s name can be deciphered. Typically, very ‘stylized’ legends are encountered, containing strings of identical ‘letters’, like for example IIIIII or VDVDVD. Other times a legend contains a number of ‘letters’, but no attempt is made by the barbarous engravers to meticulously copy a certain prototype’s legend. Finally, another thing this group of imitations often share is the mintmark, which shows many interpretations of the prototypes’ SIS: OIS, SIS, retsIrets, IretsI et cetera. Of course, this too, is not a rule.







Left: 2.69g/17.4mm; Right: 2.07g/17.2mm



Illustrated above are some typical Laetae imitations with a helmeted, laureate and cuirassed bust right.




Left: 2.68g/19mm; r: 2.86g/18.5mm



These two coins, using a DVDV-type legend, use the helmeted and cuirassed bust r. The legends of both obverse and reverse use sequences of V’s and D’s. The resemblance of style and the use of this particular type of legend blundering leads me to think they are from the same unofficial mint.




Left: 2.42g/18mm; r: 2.32g/16.5mm



The original Laetae type was minted with many different bust types. This means the imitations occasionally have some of the rarer busts. Like these two coins, imitating the helmeted and cuirassed bust with a high crested helmet, shouldered spear and shield on left arm. The shield design on the reverse of the left hand coin resembles a christogram (instead of the letters VOT PR), but I doubt that was intentional.







This coin, with a typical VVVV-obverse legend, has a beautiful profile eye, which results in a quite exotic design.




2.91g/18mm; Ex De Wit collection


This coin is out of the ordinary because it has relatively legible legends. The obverse has IMP COIISTANTINIS PF ΛVC. The reverse legend is more garbled, but some parts of the prototype’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP can be found – for example PRINC starting at 1 o’clock. Also, it has a neat retsIrets-mintmark with retrograde S’es.


Constantine London prototype





Barbarous imitations of Siscia mint prototypes vastly outnumber imitations of the products of other mints – although this type was minted extensively in the western provinces. The coin above has a clear PLN mint mark, with a retrograde L, indicating that the prototype was from the London mint. The style of this coin is quite different from the typical imitative coins of this reverse type, and the legends are entirely legible.


Crispus Caesar






As mentioned above, the obverse legends of this group of imitations are usually so garbled, that it is not possible to identify the ruler. Constantine is the best guess in those instances. The coin above is remarkable because it has a readable obverse legend: CRISPVS NOB CAESAR. This rare obverse legend enables us to find an exact prototype – which does not happen very often with this group of imitations: RIC 57. The reverse also has a classic ‘garbled’ Siscia mintmark IretsI, with a retrograde S.



Licinius Caesar





The obverse legend of this rather special coin – VICINI…VN NOB C – indicates that a very rare Licinius II coin was used as a prototype. The legend LICINIVS IVN NOB C appears at the Trier mint with this radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right (RIC 232). However, the reverse of RIC 232 has the reverse legend VICTORIA LAET PP, while this imitation has the more common and less abreviated legend VICTORIAE LAE…PRINC. The exergue also points to Trier as the prototype’s mint: DTR. This is another example of the fact that irregular workshops did not try to copy a specific ‘coin’, but rather produced several obverse and reverse dies, that were combined without reference to actual coins, resulting in coins that we would describe as hybrids.


Finally, this coin is atypical on this page: as it imitates a western issue of the Laetae-type it is probably a western imitation, as opposed to the Danube region products that dominate this type of imitation.