Seaton Down Hoard coin, nummus of Helena

A nummus of the type that weighed 1/132 of a pound. It is one of 15 similar coins from the Seaton Down Hoard. It was made around AD 337-340 in Trier, in modern Germany and issued by the House of Constantine.

After the death of Constantine I in May AD 337, there were arguments between two branches of the family regarding who should be his successor(s). The first were Constantine’s three sons, Constantine, Constantius and Constans. The others were also descendants of Constantius I, Constantine I’s father, but by his second wife, Theodora. During this time, there were two coin types issued, one depicting Helena (Constantine I’s mother) and the image of Pax Publica, and the other depicting Theodora and the image of Pietas Romana. These coins show Helena and Theodora as the ancestresses of their respective branches. The image of Pax, the Roman goddess of peace, used on the reverse of Helena’s coins, was often used to show how the Romans could guarantee peace within the provinces of the Empire by way of their armies. By using this reverse image on Helena’s coins, the message may have been that Helena’s descendants would bring peace to the Empire.

RAMM acquired the Seaton Down hoard with help from a generous donation by Patrick and Sally Long, Clinton Devon Estates, Thomson Reuters, Devon County Council and many members of the public. Patrick and Sally Long were particularly keen that the coins are preserved for inspiration and wonder of children.
The conservation and display of the hoard and a project to engage with East Devon schools and communities was funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund with further public donations.
Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Devon archaeology
Common Name
Seaton Down Hoard coin, nummus of Helena
Simple Name
Full Name
coin, nummus (1/132 of a pound), of Helena
Period Classification
Roman (43-410)
Production Year Low
Production Year High
Family Group

copper alloy
Collector / Excavator
Alex Farnell, AC Archaeology
Collection Site Name
Seaton Down near Gatcombe Farm
Collection Parish
Collection Town
Collection County
Collection Country
United Kingdom: England
Collection Area Region
Northern Europe
Collection Continent
Issuer Person
Inscription / Transcription

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