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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Recovery of the Empire ▸ ProbusView Options:  |  |  | 

Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

Marcus Aurelius Probus was the son of a soldier and was himself a simple soldier at the beginning of his career. By the reign of Aurelian, he was one of the Empire's foremost generals. After the death of Tacitus, he was declared emperor and after the murder of Florian, he was left undisputed master of the Roman world. He embarked on a series of economic revival programs bringing great peace and prosperity to the empire. Tragically mutinous soldiers, enraged at being employed on public building projects, murdered him.


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Virtus was a specific virtue in ancient Rome. It carried connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Virtus applied exclusively to a man's behavior in the public sphere, that is to the application of duty to the res publica in the cursus honorum. Private business was no place to earn virtus, even when it involved courage or feats of arms or other good qualities. There could be no virtue in exploiting one's manliness in the pursuit of personal wealth, for example. It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors and was personified as the deity Virtus.
RL84026. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 816; SRCV III 12071 var. (...P F AVG); Cohen VI 894; Hunter IV -, EF, full silvering, full circles centering, some flatly struck areas, weight 3.888 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, emmision 5, 278 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS P AVG, radiate bust left in consular robe, eagle-tipped scepter in right hand; reverse VIRTVS PROBI AVG (the valor of Emperor Probus), Mars walking right, helmeted, nude but for cloak tied in belt at waist and flying behind, transverse spear upward right in right hand, trophy of captured arms over left shoulder in left hand, XXIV in exergue; $125.00 (€111.25)
 


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In 280 A.D., the Germans destroyed the Roman fleet on the Rhine. Bonosus was proclaimed emperor at Colonia Agrippina (Cologne). After Probus defeated him, Bonosus hanged himself. His family was treated with honors.
RA84373. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 907; Pink VI/1 p. 43; Hunter IV 323 var. (5th officina); SRCV III 11968 var. (...PROBVS AVG); Cohen VI 173 var. (same), Choice VF, well centered, near full silvering, weight 2.557 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, emission 3, 280 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse CONCORDIA MILITVM (harmony with the soldiers), Victory on left, standing right, palm in left hand, with right hand presenting wreath to emperor, on right, standing left, holding spear in left hand, P low center, XXIMC in exergue; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.; EQVITI Series II of Ticinum, E, PXXI

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Ticinum mint EQVITI series II - click "EQVITI" to read the NumisWiki article, "Coins of Probus with Coded Markings of EQVITI Embedded in the mint mark." The letter "E" in the reverse field is the first letter of the codeword EQVITI. The letter "P" in the exergue indicates this coin was struck by the first officina (mint workshop). The letters of the word EQVITI are coded in the mint marks of coins from all the officinae of the mint, with the specific letters of the codeword assigned to each officina in order corresponding with their officina numbers. This codeword probably refers to cavalry. It may be AEQVITI truncated because there were only six officinae in operation.
RA83456. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 480; Pink VI/1 p. 67; Cohen VI 121; SRCV III 11965 var., Choice VF, full circles strike, traces of silvering, weight 4.463 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, emission 9, 281 A.D.; obverse IMP C PROBVS AVG, radiate and mantled bust left, holding an eagle-tipped scepter; reverse CONCORD MILIT (harmony with the soldiers), Concordia standing slightly, head left, flanked by two standards, one in each hand, E left, PXXI in exergue; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


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The reverse legend dedicates this coin to Minerva the companion of Probus. Minerva was the Roman virgin goddess of wisdom, trade, medicine, arts, and magic. From the 2nd century B.C., the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena and often depicted her with her sacred owl. Minerva was born from the head of Jupiter. After impregnating the Titaness Metis, Jupiter recalled a prophecy that his own child would overthrow him. Fearing their child would rule the Heavens in his place, Jupiter swallowed Metis whole. The Titaness forged weapons and armor for her child while within the father-god, and the constant pounding and ringing gave him a headache. To relieve the pain, Vulcan used a hammer to split Jupiter's head. From the cleft, Minerva emerged, whole, adult, and bearing her mother's weapons and armor.
RA83487. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 69; Bastien IX 315; Hunter IV 83; Cohen VI 106; SRCV III 11963; Pink VI-1 p. 70, VF, nice green patina, traces of silvering, some light scratches, weight 4.018 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 281 A.D.; obverse IMP C PROBVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse COMITI PROBI AVG (to the companion of Emperor Probus), Minerva standing slightly left, head left, raising olive branch in right hand, spear and shield at feet in left hand, I (officina number) in exergue; $90.00 (€80.10)
 


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Ticinum mint EQVITI series II - click EQVITI to read the NumisWiki article, Coins of Probus with Coded Markings of EQVITI Embedded in the mint mark. The letter Q in the reverse field is the second letter of the codeword EQVITI. The letter S in the exergue indicates this coin was struck by the second officina (mint workshop). The letters of the word EQVITI are coded in the mint marks of coins from all the officinae of the mint, with the specific letters of the codeword assigned to each officina in order corresponding with their officina numbers. This codeword probably refers to cavalry. It may be AEQVITI truncated because there were only six officinae in operation.
RA77126. Billon antoninianus, Cohen VI 488 (also with helmet); RIC V, part 2, 492 (R); Pink VI-1, p. 67/9; Hunter IV -, SRCV III -, Choice gVF, well centered and struck, much silvering, unusual obverse legend, weight 3.366 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, emission 9, 281 A.D.; obverse VIRTVS PROBI INVICTI AVG, radiate, helmeted and cuirassed bust left, spear in right hand over right shoulder, shield on left arm; reverse PROVIDENT AVG (the foresight of the Emperor), Providentia standing left holding globe in right hand, long transverse scepter in left hand, Q in left field, SXXI in exergue; rare; $170.00 (€151.30)
 


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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In 280 - 281, Probus put down three usurpers, Julius Saturninus, Proculus and Bonosus. The extent of these revolts is not clear, but there are clues that they were not just local problems. In 281, the emperor was in Rome, where he celebrated his triumph. Probus was eager to start his eastern campaign, delayed by the revolts in the west. He left Rome in 282, traveling first towards Sirmium, his birth city.
RA77912. Billon antoninianus, SRCV III 12059 (also this bust); Cohen VI 817 (same); Pink VI-1, p. 62-63/4B; RIC V, part 2, 436; Hunter IV -, aVF, well centered, some silvering, some bumps and marks, some corrosion, weight 3.088 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, emission 4, 278 A.D.; obverse IMP C PROBVS P F AVG, radiate bust left in imperial mantle, eagle-tipped scepter in right hand; reverse VIRTVS AVG (the valor of the Emperor), Virtus standing left, Victory in right hand, grounded shield and vertical spear behind in left hand, QXXT in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $32.00 (€28.48)
 


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Serdica struck many similar types with the reverse legends RESITVT ORBIS and RESTITVTOR ORBIS, combined with various busts, obverse legends, officina, and control marks. This coin differs from all the varieties listed in RIC.

KA in the exergue, is the Greek numeral 21, a mark of value, indicating 21 parts bronze to one part silver (approximately 4.5% silver). Γ, is the Greek numeral 3, indicating the coin was struck by the third officina (mint workshop).
RA79604. Silvered antoninianus, Pink VI-1, p. 44-45/1; RIC, part 2, V 856 var. (RESTITVTOR ORBIS), Cohen VI 508 var. (also draped), Hunter IV -, SRCV III -, aEF, well centered, much silvering, some light corrosion, weight 3.122 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, 3nd officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, emission 1, 276 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVT ORBIS (to the restorer of the world), female (on left) standing right, presenting wreath to emperor, emperor (on right) standing left, extending right hand, spear in left hand, star bottom center, KA•Γ• in exergue; not in RIC; $55.00 (€48.95)
 


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To the ancient Romans, Rome was "Roma Aeterna" (The Eternal City) and "Caput Mundi" (Capital of the World). The empire is history but Rome is still today, the eternal city. Rome's influence on Western Civilization can hardly be overestimated; perhaps a greater influence than any other city on earth, making important contributions to politics, literature, culture, the arts, architecture, music, religion, education, fashion, cinema and cuisine.
RA79930. Silvered antoninianus, Hunter IV 42 (also 2nd officina); Pink VI-1, p. 57/5; Cohen VI 531; RIC V, part 2, 185; SRCV III -, Choice aEF, perfect centering, much silvering, some bumps and marks, weight 3.879 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Rome mint, emission 5, 280 A.D.; obverse IMP PROBVS AVG, radiate bust left in consular robe, eagle-tipped scepter in right; reverse ROMAE AETER (eternal Rome), statue of Roma seated facing inside a hexastyle temple, Victory in right hand, long vertical scepter in left hand, R wreath B in exergue; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


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To the ancient Romans, Rome was "Roma Aeterna" (The Eternal City) and "Caput Mundi" (Capital of the World). The empire is history but Rome is still today, the eternal city. Rome's influence on Western Civilization can hardly be overestimated; perhaps a greater influence than any other city on earth, making important contributions to politics, literature, culture, the arts, architecture, music, religion, education, fashion, cinema and cuisine.
RA79960. Billon antoninianus, Pink VI-1, p. 56/3; Cohen VI 531; RIC V, part 2, 185; Hunter IV -; SRCV III -, Choice gVF, excellent centering, attractive bust, traces of silvering, flan crack, some light corrosion, weight 3.490 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Rome mint, emission 3, 278 A.D.; obverse IMP PROBVS AVG, radiate bust left in imperial mantle, eagle-tipped scepter in right; reverse ROMAE AETER (eternal Rome), statue of Roma seated facing inside a hexastyle temple, Victory in right hand, long vertical scepter in left hand, R * B in exergue; $135.00 (€120.15)
 


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In 280 - 281, Probus put down three usurpers, Julius Saturninus, Proculus and Bonosus. The extent of these revolts is not clear, but there are clues that they were not just local problems (an inscription with the name of Probus erased has been found as far as Spain). In 281, the emperor was in Rome, where he celebrated his triumph.
RA79969. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 223; Cohen VI 766; Pink VI-1, pp. 57-58/6; Hunter IV -; SRCV III -, Choice EF, perfect centering, bold obverse, excellent portrait, much silvering, reverse die wear, weight 4.205 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Rome mint, emission 6, 281 A.D.; obverse PROBVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA GERM (victory over the Germans), trophy of captured arms, flanked on each side at the base by a seated bound captive facing outward, R thunderbolt A in exergue; $150.00 (€133.50)
 










OBVERSE LEGENDS

BONOIMPCPROBOAVG
BONOIMPCPROBOINVICTAVG
BONOIMPCPROBOINVICTOAVG
BONOIMPCPROBOPAVG
BONOIMPCPROBOPFAVG
BONOIMPCMAVRPROBVSAVG
BONOIMPCMAVRPROBOINVICTAVG
BONOIMPMAVRPROBOINVICAVG
BONOIMPCPROBOPFINVICTAVG
BONOIMPPROBOAVG
BONOIMPPROBOINVICTAVG
BONOETINVICTOPROBOPAVG
BONOETINVICTOPROBOPFAVG
DEOETDOMINOPROBOINVICTOAVG
IMPCMARPROBVSAVG
IMPCMAVRELPROBVSPFAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBOAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSAVGCONSIII
IMPCMAVRPROBVSAVGCONSIIII
IMPCMAVRPROBVSAVGCONSV
IMPCMAVRPROBVSAVGCOSII
IMPCMAVRPROBVSAVGCOSIII
IMPCMAVRPROBVSINVAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSINVICTAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSPAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSPIVSAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSPFAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSPIFEAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSPFINVICTAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSPFINVICTVSAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSPFINVICTOAVG
IMPCMPROBVSINVICTAVG
IMPCMPROBVSINVICTPAVG
IMPCPROBVSAVG
IMPCPROBVSAVGCONSII
IMPCPROBVSAVGCONSIII
IMPCPROBVSAVGCONSIIII
IMPCPROBVSAVGCONSV
IMPCPROBVSAVGCOS
IMPCPROBVSAVGCOSII
IMPCPROBVSAVGCOSIII
IMPCPROBVSCONSII
IMPCPROBVSCONSIII
IMPCPROBVSINVAVG
IMPCPROBVSINVICTVSAVG
IMPCPROBVSINVICTVSPAVG
IMPCPROBVSPAVG
IMPCPROBVSPFAVG
IMPCPROBVSPFAVGCONSIII
IMPCPROBVSPFAVGCONSIIII
IMPCPROBVSPIVSFAVG
IMPDEOETDOMINOPROBOAVG
IMPDEOETDOMINOPROBOINVICTOAVG
IMPDEOETDOMINOPROBOPFAVG
IMPMAVRPROBVSPFAVG
IMPPROBOINVICTOAVG
IMPPROBVSAVG
IMPPROBVSAVGCONSIII
IMPPROBVSINVAVG
IMPPROBVSINVICTVSAVG
IMPPROBVSPAVG
IMPPROBVSPFAVG
IMPPROBVSPIVSFAVG
PERPETVOIMPCMAVRPROBOAVG
PERPETVOIMPCPROBOAVG
PERPETVOIMPCPROBOINVICTAVG
PERPETVOIMPCPROBOPAVG
PERPETVOIMPCPROBOPFAVG
PERPETVOIMPPROBOAVG
PERPETVOIMPPROBOPAVG
PERPETVOIMPPROBOINVICTPAVG
PROBVSAVG
PROBVSPAVG
PROBVSPFAVG
SOLCOMESPROBIAVG
SOLCOMISPROBIAVG
VIRTVSPROBIAVG
VIRTVSPROBIINVICTIAVG


REFERENCES

Alföldi, A. Siscia. Heft V: Verzeichnis der Antoniniane des Kaisers Probus. (Budapest, 1939).
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Bastien, P. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon. De la réouverture de l'atelier par Aurélien à la mort de Carin (fin 274 - mi-285). Numismatique Romaine IX. (Wetteren, 1976).
Calicó, E.X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. II: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 6: Macrianus to Diocletian & Maximianus. (Paris, 1886).
Gnecchi, F. I Medaglioni Romani. (Milan, 1912).
Guillemain, J. Ripostiglio della Venèra, Nuovo Catalogo Illustrato, Volume III/1: La monetazione di Probo a Roma (276-282 d.C.). (Verona, 2009).
Gysen, P. "Nouvelles données concernant l'atelier de Serdica sous le règne de Probus" in RBN CXLVI (2000).
King, C.E. Roman Quinarii from the Republic to Diocletian and the Tetrarchy. (Oxford, 2007).
Mattingly, H. Sydenham and Webb. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol V, Part II, Probus to Amandus. (London, 1933).
Pink, K. "Der Aufbau der Römischen münzprägung in der Kaiserzeit: VI/1. Probus" in Numismatische Zeitschrift 73 (1949).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. IV. Valerian I to Allectus. (Oxford, 1978).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume Three, The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Sunday, March 26, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Probus