“BRI” mint

One mint mark not discussed on the mints page is the “BRI” mint. So far this is only recorded on a handful of PAX AVG and SALVS AVG coins of an early style. Indeed, when Norman Shiel published “The Episode of Carausius and Allectus” in 1977 he was only able to confirm six examples of this mark with a seventh sketchily described in Numismatic Chronicle as being from a find of Roman coins in Strood in the 1830′s.

The first properly recorded example of this type was a Pax type from Wroxeter found in 1925. The Roman name for Wroxeter is Viriconium and there was the hypothesis, carried through into RIC V (part 2), that this was the place of mintage of the coin. It is perhaps an unfortunate coincidence that B and V can be transposed in classical Latin and thus Viriconium could become corrupted to Briconium.

The finds distribution of the known specimens does not support this as a place of mintage and besides the Wroxter specimen and the probable Strood coin two examples are noted from Richborough and one from Corbridge.

Using Shiel’s numbering for the coins the specimens known to me are as follows:

No Picture

Shiel 1

IMP CARAVSIVS PF AVG (rad, dr & cuir bust r)

PAX AVG (Pax stg left, transverse sceptre) RIC 1087

Found: Wroxeter

Shiel 2

IMP CARAVSIVS PF AVG (rad, dr & cuir bust r)

SALVS AVG (Salus stg left, vertical sceptre feeding serpent rising from altar) RIC 1093

Found: ?

Shiel 3

IMP CARAVSIVS PF AVG (rad, dr & cuir bust r)

PAX AVG (Pax stg left, transverse sceptre) RIC 1087

Found: ?

Shiel 4

IMP CARAVSIVS PF AVG (rad, dr & cuir bust r)

SALVS AVG (Salus stg left, altar at feet) RIC ? same reverse type as 1093?

Found: Richborough

Shiel 5

IMP CARAVSIVS PF AVG (rad, dr & cuir bust r)

SALVS AVG (Salus stg left, vertical sceptre feeding serpent rising from altar) RIC 1093

Found: Richborough

Shiel 6

IMP CARAVSIVS PF AVG (rad, dr & cuir bust r)

SALVS AVG (Salus stg left, vertical sceptre feeding serpent rising from altar) RIC 1093

Found: ?, ex F Baldwin collection, current whereabouts unknown, cast in Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

No Picture

Shiel 7

Strood find specimen, reverse type not known, recorded in Numismatic Chronicle Ser. 1 vol 2 (1842?)

Supplimentary 8

IMP CARAVSIVS PF AVG (rad, dr & cuir bust r)

PAX AVG (Pax stg left, vertical sceptre) RIC 1087

Found: “1987″ hoard (location unknown), currently in a private coll’n.

Supplimentary 9

IMP CARAVSIVS PF AVG (rad, dr & cuir bust r)

SALVS AVG (Salus stg left, vertical sceptre feeding serpent rising from altar) RIC 1093

Found: ?, currently in a private coll’n.

Supplimentary 10

IMP CARAVSIVS PF AVG (rad, dr & cuir bust r)

SALVS AVG (Salus stg left, vertical sceptre feeding serpent rising from altar) RIC 1093

Found: ?, currently in a private coll’n.

Obverse: 1=3=5=6;    9=10

Reverse: 6=9=10

Having said above that the mint is not Wroxeter then where is it? The current hypothesis is that the mint is an early marked incarnation of the London mint, possibly just before or, perhaps more likely, just after the “RSR” mark. The BRI mark itself has been expanded to BRI(tannia), although again there are a couple of alternate expansions to BR(intannia) I(nferior) – ie a location in northern England and also BR(itannia) I (or prima) – southern England.

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