Lotto 479: Justinian I (527-565). AE Half Follis, Sicilian (?) mint. Dated RY 14 (540-1 AD). D/ DN IVSTINIANVS PF AVG. Helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, holding globus cruciger and shield. R/ Large K between A/N/N/O and XIIII; above, cross; in exergue, [C]ON. D.O. 313 (Constantine in Numidia); M.I.B 243 (Italian mint); Sear 285 (Constantine in Numidia). AE. g. 9.94 mm. 22.00 R. Rare and interesting. In excellent condition for issue. Lovely untouched marbled olive green patina. Minor (typical) weak strike on reverse, otherwise about. The "CON" mint folles and half folles represent another of the all too frequent enigmas of Byzantine coinage. In terms of style they are very close to Constantinopolitan issues, with a few idiosyncratic details, like the elongated upright of the K on the half follis. Site finds show they circulated in Africa, Sicily, Italy and the Dalmatian coast, wherever there were active military operations related to the re-conquest. There are two distinct blocks of dated types, with folles and half folles of RYs14-16 as one and another of folles only dated RY 30; these parallel similar Carthage issues in several denominations, of RYs 13-16 and RY 31, which suggests that the production of the "CON" mint tracked that of Carthage. Constantine in Numidia has been suggested as a mint, as well as a location in Sicily. It may in fact be a mobile military mint, staffed by mint workers from Constantinople and Carthage, and setting up wherever the need for coinage was greatest (CNG 174, 251 note).
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