Numismatik Lanz München   |   Auction 162   |   6 June 2016
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Lot 457

Estimate: 10'000 EUR   |   Starting price: 6'000 EUR Unsold
Denar, Soisson. CARo / LVS im Perlkreis. Rs: VESSION (retrograd) um kleines Kugelkreuz, im Perlenkreis. 1,03g. Fein getöntes, vorzügliches Prachtexemplar. Ex Numismatik Lanz, Auktion 160, 15. Juni 2015, Lot 782. The first coinage produced in Charlemagne’s name when he succeeded to the throne in 768 was very similar to that minted by his father Pippin, and this type was produced until the major coinage reform of 793, although there are signs that in the course of that quarter of a century Charles took various steps to standardise the coinage and to bring the mints under closer royal control (Coupland 2014). Additional mints are regularly coming to light due to the discovery of previously unknown coin types, and some 107 are currently known from the pre-reform period (Coupland forthcoming). Of these around 30 cannot be located with any degree of certainty, some because they bear the name of an individual rather than a place, others because the reverse legend as yet defies interpretation, and still others because there is disagreement or doubt over the correct interpretation of the legend. The new type offered for sale here bears the mint name VESSION in a circle around a cross, and although it is hitherto unknown in the name of Charlemagne, it matches coinage produced in the name of Pippin III (Gariel 1884, II.46; MG 22-23; Depeyrot 2008, nos. 935-936; Kluge 2014, no. 48). There has been much debate about the identification of this mint: Gariel ascribed it to Neuss or Sens, an attribution repeated by Völckers in his magnificent study of the coinages of Pippin III and Charlemagne (Völckers 1965, I.18). Morrison and Grunthal opted for Sens, reading the legend as SENNOIS, while the most recent discussion by Kluge left the question open as to whether it should be attributed to Sens, because minting was otherwise unknown at Soissons before the reign of Charles the Bald, or Soissons, because other coins were know from Sens with a different mint name (SEN, SENNES, or SENONES). Kluge was, however, apparently unaware of the study by Hourlier and Dhénin which confidently ascribed these coins of Pippin to Soissons, evidently on the basis of the similarity of the mint-name to that of the Merovingian coins known from the town (Hourlier and Dhénin 1998, 256-257; 2000, 238). This attribution was followed by Depeyrot, and this new coin of Charlemagne strengthens the identification with Soissons, both on the basis of the very clear legend, which cannot be mistaken for Sens, and the continuity of minting which can now be demonstrated from the reign of Pippin to that of his son Charles. The fact that minting at the town evidently ceased in 793 is not remarkable: only 40 mints are known from the following period, with many of the pre-reform mints only restarting production much later in the Carolingian period, if at all. This coin is thus a very valuable addition to the corpus of Carolingian coin finds, revealing the hitherto unknown existence of a mint at Soissons under Charlemagne and confirming the attribution of the comparable coins of Pippin III to that mint. Coupland forthcoming: Simon Coupland, ‘Charlemagne and his coinage’, in Rolf Große (ed.), Charlemagne : les temps, les espaces, les hommes. Construction et déconstruction d’un règne (Paris).

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