This week I want to add another identification tip for Roman Imperial coinage – the type of crown the emperor is wearing.
I will review three basic types of crowns you are most likely to encounter and what denominations they may represent.
Each crown is typically associated with a type of coin denomination and period of use. Please remember as I said in other posts this is not 100% – but more likely than not, and so it is a good tip to rely on.
The Laureate type crown.
It is a crown made of laurel or oak, sometimes ivy. This is the most common type of crown used on coinage in the first 350 years.
This will typically be the crown you will find on silver denarii or sestertius.
The Radiate type crown.
It is a sharp looking spikey crown. It originated and is most associated with the Sun god Sol. It was used on the Double Denarius or Antoninianus or Dupondius.
The Diadem crown.
This crown is a band of cloth or metal that would have been highly decorated. It became common during Emperor Constantine’s time and used extensively throughout the end of the empire as it transitions to the Byzantine Empire.
Here is a bonus tip!
Radiate Crowns and Greek Letters
When you see a Radiate Crown and Greek letters it most likely will be a Roman Provincial (or sometimes called Greek Imperial) coin. That is a coin struck under the authority of Rome but struck in a far away province and as I mentioned in a previous post – Greek is the language of the world and so the coin would have been written in Greek but of course have the emperor’s portrait.
The example above is of Nero, struck in Egypt.
Now when you see an emperor on a coin you will be able to tell pretty quickly at what point in the empire it was probably made and even perhaps what denomination, thus narrowing down your search.
It is a terrific tip – use it well.
Have a great week!