The Merovingian gold tremissis featured here joins the others that have appeared on this website. This specimen was found a number of years since by a detectorist named James, who said he had been trying to get a valuation but had trouble finding someone who would help.
A huge range of imagery can be seen on Merovingian gold coins. Most of the earliest coins copy the designs on late Roman and Byzantine gold issues. The later (National) series usually have the name of a moneyer on one side and the name of a mint on the other. After James found this tremissis he had it identified by Martin Allen, who is based at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
This coin is an example of the National series, with a bust on the obverse and a cross within a beaded circle on the reverse. The moneyer’s name (on the obverse) has been identified as Chuno (CHVN OM on the coin).The mint name (on the reverse, starting at 6 o’clock, reading backwards) has been identified as Zulpich (reading TVLDIA+CORI on the coin.
The two main reference works on Merovingian coins are in French (by M. Prou and A. de Belfort); Prou lists a tremissis similar to the one found by James as number 1222 and Belfort has the type as number 3802. An English language reference work, volume I of Medieval European Coinage, has a similar coin listed as number 503.
The background of the obverse and reverse have a mottled appearance, which suggests this coin was struck from rusty dies. There are a few weak spots but overall the coin wound grade about VF for the issue. Due in no small part to detecting finds, Merovingian coins appear fairly regularly on the open market and prices aren’t always as high as expected. In its present state of preservation, if this example was sold at auction then a likely pre-sale auction estimate would be £800 – £900.
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