The Malmesbury Coin Hoard contains 1266 coins ranging in date from 286AD to 317AD.
The coins weigh approximately 3 to 6 grams each and are about 2cm wide.
The majority of the coins are nummi, with 3 of the coins being radiates.
Nummi (or nummus for a singular coin) were a new type of coin introduced in about 294AD as a low value bronze coin. The copper-alloy coins that make up the hoard would have had a light 5% sliver wash and would have looked very different than they do today as most of that coating has been eroded away during the years the coins have been in the ground.
In AD317 the currency system was reformed, and these type and size of nummi were no longer minted. This means the coins are from a very short-lived period in Roman history.
Three of the coins are known as radiates because they have a sun-like pointed crown on the emperor’s head. The coins were minted by the following emperors:
- Maximianus (286AD)
- Allectus (293AD to 296AD)
- Diocletian (295AD)
The coins were minted by different emperors, each of which had their image stamped on the front (or obverse) side of the coins, with the reverse usually showing a figure of a god or goddess. Coins were minted as propaganda for the emperor’s reign and to show their power, as well as for currency.
At the time these coins were minted, the Roman Empire was undergoing a period of infighting so that there were often two or more emperors. The emperors who minted the coins in the hoard included:
The coins were minted in 8 cities in 5 countries in Europe:
- London, England
- Trier, Germany
- Lyon, France
- Arle, France
- Ticinum, Italy
- Rome, Italy
- Ostia, Italy
- Siscia, Croatia