Obverse: CRISPVS NOB CAES; Laureate, Draped, and Cuirassed Bust of Crispus Facing Right
Reverse: PRINCIPIA IVVENTVTIS; Crispus Standing to the Right, Dressed in Military Garb, Holding a Spear and Leaning on a Shield
Flavius Julius Crispus was born in 303 A.D., the eldest son of Constantine the Great and his first wife Minervina. He was named Caesar in 316 A.D., served as Consul three times, and governed Gaul in 320 A.D. Crispus was also an able and popular military commander, leading forces to victory against Germanic barbarians as well as commanding the naval fleet during the final war against Licinius and his son. Unfortunately, Crispus’ promising life was cut short when he was executed in 326 A.D. at his father’s command. Apparently, his step-mother, Fausta, accused him of having an affair with her. However, it seems as though she really just wanted to get Crispus out of the way so that her sons would be first in line for the throne. When it was determined that Fausta was lying, she too was executed.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. This ancient coin is a memorial to Crispus, passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation that still appears as vibrant today as the day it was struck.