|Roman Imperial. Nerva (96-98). Proto-Contorniate (Sestertius), 97, Rome mint.|
|Obverse:||IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P COS III P P.
Laureate head right.
Fortuna, draped, standing left, holding rudder in her right and cornucopia in her left hand, in the field S C.
|Dimensions:||AE, 29.60 g, 34 mm, 5h.|
|References:||RIC 83 (sestertius);
BMC 108 (sestertius);
Cohen 67 (sestertius).
|Condition:||Partially corroded and uncleaned, hammered edge, fine dark tone. Fine.|
|Comment:||By hammering the edge, this sestertius was reworked into an Contorniate, which is why it is called a Proto-Contorniate.
Contorniates were medallions of the late Roman Empire (4th-5th century). Purpose and use of them is not yet clear.
Some researchers have suspected the use of the medallions as tokens or ID cards. The use as winning prizes in games has also already been considered. Other ancient historians suspected that it was also used as a propaganda medium against the Christian imperial houses, for which the frequent depiction of pagan deities and anti-Christian rulers on the medallions would speak.