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Coin Detail
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ID:     253362
Type:     Ancient Africa
Issuer:     Ousanas I
Date Ruled:     ca. 300 AD
Metal:     Bronze
Diameter:     18 mm
Weight:     1.76 g
Obverse Description:     OVAZEBAC BACI LEYC, draped bust right wearing headcloth, flanked by grain ears
Reverse Description:     +TOV TO APECH TH XWPA (May This [the cross] Please the Country), small draped bust right in circle; the interior of the circle gilt
Primary Reference:     Munro-Hay Type 54
Reference2:     BMC Aksum 245
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Grade:     Near VF, heavy earthen patina.
Notes:     One of the most curious aspects of Axumite coinage is the use of gilding on some of their silver and bronze coins. The amount of gold used would not be enough to significantly change the value of the coin, and the reason for this process remains somewhat a mystery. It is usually found highlighting the portrait of the king or as embellishment of the cross, so it may serve the same purpose as gold tesserae in church mosaics and gold leaf on manuscripts- to reflect the Divine Light shining on the monarch and the church.