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Philip I antoninianus

Those who are engaged in our hobby use a very wide range of pseudonyms, some of which are quite comical. The finder of the coin featured here goes by the Twitter name of ‘The Mental Detectorist’ – @TheMentalDetec1. At first, I read the second word as Metal but had to smile when I realised it was Mental.

I was told that the coin was unearthed when the finder was only 12 years old. A friend had allowed him to search a field and when the coin first turned up he knew it was Roman but that’s all.

The find is a silver antoninianus of Philip I, whose dates are AD 244 to 249. On the obverse is a radiate head of the emperor and a legend reading IMP M IVL PHILLIPVS AVG. On the reverse the standing figure of Virtus holds an olive branch and a spear and is accompanied by a legend reading VIRTVS AVG.

In volume III of David Sear’s Roman Coins and Their Values this type of antoninianus is listed as number 8974 and in Roman Imperial Coins it is number 52. The type was struck at Rome during AD 244 to 245.

Rome and its Empire suffered greatly from inflation during the 3rd century. During the reign of Philip I the antoninianus was made of silver but it would not be long before it was debased. The denomination eventually contained a very small amount of silver.


The Mental Detectorist’s coin is well struck on a large flan; it has very good eye appeal and would grade good VF. However, a very large number of coins of this period have survived in exceptional condition so they don’t fetch high prices. Therefore, my valuation figure on this very attractive Roman coin would be no higher than £60.

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