Roman Mints

Roman celator or minter

Around the middle the 3rd century C. E., Roman mints began incorporating mint marks on their coins - Roman Bureaucracy at work. This actually was part of a quality control endeavor to help regulate consistent coin weights across the empire. Collecting coins from the same mints or collecting a specific coin type from various mints, are directions many take in this hobby. Being able to read the mints is very helpful in fully attributing a coin and necessary if using RIC as your attribution source.

Mint marks contain one to three elements [Surprisingly, the Romans never established a consistent system for applying the mint marks]:

1st - a letter: P (Pecunia = money), M (Moneta) or SM (Sacra Moneta = Imperial money). 
2nd - one to four letters representing the mint.
3rd - a single letter indicating the Officina or workshop. In the Latin system, the officina was indicated by A = prima or 1st officina, B = secunda or 2nd, C = tertia or 3rd, etc.

With the monetary reforms of Aurelian and Diocletian came changes in the mint markings [or at least the notation in the exergue - the area at the bottom reverse of the coin]. Roman numerals appeared, the meaning of which is still debated. Often a single letter or a letter between stars is all that appears in the exergue. The table below lists the major Roman mints and their marks. This table appears several places on the internet so I am unsure of the source (although it parallels Sear and Van Meter texts) and I have added some more obscure mint sites.

Security and secrecy at the mints were of prime importance, as it is now. It is surprising how little has come down to us in written records or in artifacts. Worn and broken dies were probably recycled and records destroyed. There is a fascinating Roman Republican denarius depicting mint tools that was minted by T. Carisius. 46 BCE. The link to the left will take you to an example on Wildwinds.com. Occasionally counterfeiters' dies will be unearthed and in extremely rare occurances an official die will turn up. Recently a wonderful example of a Roman Republican die was sold at auction with an estimate of $12,000.

The Romans also used over 600 provincial mints in cities around the empire. For information on these, click here: Provincial mints.

 
Ancient Location Modern Location Mint Marks Notes
Alexandria Egypt  AL, ALE, ALEX, SMAL ca 294 C.E. - until closed by Leo I
Ambianum Amiens, France AMB, AMBI 350 - 353 C.E.
Antioch/Antiochia  Antakiyah, Syria  AN, ANT, ANTOB, SMAN  closed under Leo I 
Aquileia  Aquileia, Italy   AQ, AQVI, AQVIL, AQOB, AQPS, SMAQ  @ 294 - 425 C.E. 
Arelatum/Constantina  Arles, France   A, AR, ARL, CON, CONST, KON, KONSTAN  313 - 475 C.E. 
Barcino  Barcelona, Spain   BA, SMBA  409 - 411 C.E. - Constantine III 
Caesarea Philippi  Banias, Israel   None  Augustus to Civil Wars of 69.  
Camulodunum  Colchester, England   C, CL  287 - 296 C.E. - Carausius & Allectus 
Carthage/Carthago  (near) Tunis, North Africa   K, KAR, KART, PK  296 - 307 C.E. and 308 - 311 C.E. 
Cherson  NW of Odessa, Ukraine   CON  402(?) - ? C.E. 
Clausentum  Bitterne, England   C, CL  293-296 C.E. - Allectus 
Constantinopolis  Istanbul, Turkey   C, CP, CON, CONS, CONSP, CONOB  326 - ??? C.E. 
Cyzicus  Kapu Dagh, Turkey   CVZ, CVZIC, CYZ, CYZIC, K, KV, KVZ, KY, SMK  Closed under Leo I 
Emesa  Syria     Macrianus 260-261 C.E.
Heraclea  Eregli, Turkey   H, HER, HERAC, HERACI, HERACL, HT, SMH  @ 291 C.E. - until closed by Leo I 
Londinium  London, England   L, LI, LN, LON, ML, MLL. MLN, MSL, PLN, PLON, AVG, AVGOB, AVGPS  287 - 325 C.E. and 383 - 388 C.E. 
Lugdunum  Lyons, France   LD, LG, LVG, LVGD, LVGPS, PLG  closed @ 423 C.E. 
Mediolanum  Milan, Italy   MD, MDOB, MDPS, MED  @ 364 - 475 C.E. 
Moguntiacum  Mainz, Germany     Laelianus 268 C.E. 
Nicomedia  Izmit, Turkey   MN, N, NIC, NICO, NIK, SMN  @ 294 C.E. - until
closed under Leo I 
Ostia  Port of Rome, Italy   MOST, OST  308 - 313 C.E. 
Ravenna  Ravenna, Italy   RAV, RV, RVPS  @ 5th century - @ 475 C.E. 
Rome  Rome, Italy   R, RM, ROM, ROMA, ROMOB   closed 476 C.E. 
Serdica  Sophia, Bulgaria   SD, SER, SERD, SMSD  303 - 308 C.E. and 313 - 314 C.E. 
Sirmium  near Mitrovica, Yugoslavia   SIR, SIRM, SM, SIROB  320 - 326 C.E. and  351 - 364 C.E. and  379 C.E. and  393 - 395 C.E. 
Siscia  Sisak, Croatia   S, SIS, SISC, SISCPS  closed @ 387 C.E. 
Thessalonica  Salonika, Greece   COM, COMOB, SMTS, TH, THS, THES, THSOB, TE, TES, TESOB, TH, TS, OES  @ 298 C.E. - until 
closed by Leo I 
Ticinum  Pavia, Italy   closed 326 C.E. 
Treveri  Trier, Germany   SMTR, TR, TRE, TROB, TRPS  @ 291 - 430 C.E.
Viminacium  Kostolac, Yugoslavia     Valerian @ 253 - 260 C.E.



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