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Roman Coins of the 3rd Century Crisis and Decline of the Roman Empire
Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.
Virtus is the personification of valor and courage. Valor was, of course, essential for the success of a Roman emperor and Virtus was one of the embodiments of virtues that were part of the Imperial cult. During his joint reign with his father, Gallienus proved his courage in battle; but his failure to liberate his father from Persian captivity was perceived as cowardice and a disgrace to the Emperor and Empire. It was not, however, actually fear that prevented a rescue. While others mourned Valerian's fate, Gallienus rejoiced in his new sovereignty.RB76153. Orichalcumsestertius, Göbl MIR 38dd, RIC V-1 248, Cohen V 1293, Hunter IV 33, SRCV III 10495, Nice gVF, excellent portrait, green patina, tight flan cutting off much legend, weight 10.962 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 253 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS AVG, laureate and cuirassedbust right; reverseVIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), Virtus standing left, wearing crested helmet and military garb, right resting hand on grounded shield, inverted spear vertical behind in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $450.00 (€382.50)
Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.
Felicitas was the goddess or personification of happiness, good fortune, and success. She played an important role in Rome's state religion during the empire and was frequently portrayed on coins. She became a prominent symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the Roman Empire.RS75697. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 75A (R); RSC IV 130, SRCV III 8945, Hunter III -, EF, superb strike with sharp dies, nice metal, weight 4.966 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 247 - 248 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverseP M TR P IIII COS P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for four years, consul, father of the country), Felicitas standing left, long caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $315.00 (€267.75)
Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria
On 11 February 244, Emperor Gordian III was murdered by mutinous soldiers in Zaitha (Mesopotamia). Philip the Arab (Marcus Julius Philippus) declared himself emperor and made a disgraceful peace with the Sasanian Empire, withdrawing from their territory and giving Shapur 500,000 gold pieces. The Sasanians occupied Armenia. Philip was recognized by the Roman Senate as Emperor and he nominated his son Philippus, age 6, as Caesar and heir to the throne. He gave his brother Priscus supreme power (rector Orientis) in the Eastern provinces; and began construction of the city of Shahba, Syria in the province of his birth.RY85323. Billontetradrachm, Prieur 321 (1 spec.); McAlee 889 (v. rare); BMC Galatia p. 212, 505, EF, sharp attractive portrait, attractive iridescenttoning, parts of legends weak, areas of some porosity, weight 13.256 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 1st issue, 244 A.D.; obverse AVTOK K M IOV Λ ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, Radiate, draped and cuirassedbust left, from behind; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (holder of Tribunitian power), eagle standing slightly left on palm frond, wings open, head left, wreath in beak, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; very rare; $310.00 (€263.50)
Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria
MON VRB stands for MONETAVRBIS. According to H. R. Baldus this initial issue of coins was minted in Rome. Indeed the portrait style is unmistakably that of the mint of Rome, and even if the coins were actually minted in Antioch, the dies were surely engraved by the Rome mint.SH60149. Billontetradrachm, McAlee 899, Prieur 304, BMC Galatia 507, EF, very sharp, handsome portrait and eagle, double strike evident in obverselegend, minor flan crack, small encrustations,, weight 13.825 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome or Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 244 or 246 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛ ΦIΛIΠΠOY CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (holder of Tribunitian power), eagle standing facing on ground line, wings open, head and tail left, wreath in beak, S - C (senatus consulto) below wings, MON VRB in exergue; FORVM paid $225 for this coin!; $225.00 (€191.25)
Otacilia Severa, Augusta, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis
This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Sardis. The wreaths refer to the games sponsored by each of the two cities, the ΠYΘIA games held by Hierapolis, and the XPVCANΘINA games held by Sardes.RP77256. Bronze AE 25, Franke-Nolle, type V, 838 (Vs. A/Rs. 11); cf. Lindgren-Kovacs 976; BMC Phrygia p. 260, 175, F, weight 7.301 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Feb 244 - End Sep 249 A.D.; obverse M ΩT CEVHPA, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges, plait up the back of head; reverseIEPAΠOΛEITΩN K CAP∆,IANΩN NEΩ/KOPΩN (ending in two lines in exergue), two wreaths side by side with inscriptions within, left wreath XPV/CAN, right wreath ΠVΘ/IA, OMONOI/A in the field above; very rare; $220.00 (€187.00)
Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Ephesus
This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Ephesus. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a city’s status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.RP77249. Bronze AE 33, SNG Hunterian 1957 (same dies); cf. Franke-Nolle, type VII, 736 (Vs. A/Rs. -, unlisted reverse die); BMC Phrygia p. 264, 188; SNG Righetti 1189, aVF, large edge split, potentially active corrosion, weight 17.950 g, maximum diameter 33.1 mm, die axis 190o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse A K Π Λ OVAΛEPIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, wearing aegis; reverseIEPAΠOΛEITΩ-N K EΦECIΩN, Serapis standing right, kalathos on head, holding transverse scepter; to right, Artemis Ephesia facing, with two supports, flanked by a stag on each side, NE/OK/O in three lines in center field, OMONOIA in exergue; very rare; $200.00 (€170.00)
Trajan Decius, July 249 - First Half of June 251 A.D., Anazarbus, Cilicia
This coin commemorates an Olympic victory by Anazarbus. Agonistic "urns" or "crowns" were awarded to winners at ancient Greek games. They are called "crowns" because they may have been placed on the head of the victor. Beginning about two decades after this issue, the Olympics would begin a long decline. In 267, the German Heruli invaded Greece attacking Athens, Corinth, Argos, and Sparta. Although the invaders probably never reached Olympia, buildings were dismantled for material to build a wall around the Temple of Zeus and the Bouleterion. An earthquake, a failing economy, further invasions, and Christian antagonism probably caused further decline. The record of victors is very patchy after 261, with a gap of nearly a century from c. 277 to c. 369. Events may merely lack documentation or perhaps there was a moratorium. The last known Olympic victor was the Athenian boxer, M. Aurelios Zopyros in 385. In 393, Theodosius I outlawed all pagan festivals, including the Olympics, ending a thousand years of Greek tradition. Source: Eros and Greek Athletics by Thomas F. Scanlon.RP84934. Bronze triassarion, Ziegler 744 (Vs 2/Rs 2, 4 spec.), SNG Levante 1495, SNG Pfalz 4732, SNG Leypold 2272, SNG BnF -, SNGvA -, F, dark patina, interesting portrait, porous, weight 8.486 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 180o, Anazarbus (Anavarza, Turkey) mint, 249 - 250 A.D.; obverse AYT K KVI TPAIAN ∆EKIOC CEB, radiatehead right; reverse ANAZA• EN∆OΞ• ET HΞC (glorious Anazarbus, year 268), agonistic prize crown inscribed ∆EKIOC, containing palm frond, Γ − Γ (seat of 3 provinces, holder of 3 neocorates) flanking crown, OIKOVM/ENIKOC (Ecumenical = Olympic Games) in two lines below; very rare; $200.00 (€170.00)
Salonina, Augusta 254 - c. September 268 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
Tyche (Greek for luck; the Roman equivalent was Fortuna) was the presiding tutelary deity that governed the fortune and prosperity of a city, its destiny. Increasingly during the Hellenistic period, cities had their own specific iconic version of Tyche, wearing a mural crown (a crown like the walls of the city).SH66838. Billontetradrachm, Dattari 5342; Geissen 2982; Kampmann-Ganschow 91.47; SRCV III 10716; BMC Alexandria p. 2266; Milne 4140, Choice aEF, weight 11.345 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 315o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 266 - 28 Aug 267 A.D.; obverse KOPNHΛIA CAΛWNEINA CEB, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges and in plait looped below ear; reverseTyche reclining left on couch, kalathos on head, rudder in right hand, LI∆ (year 14) above; $180.00 (€153.00)
Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis
This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Sardis. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a city’s status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.RP77255. Bronze AE 30, cf. Franke-Nolle, type VI, 848 ff. var. (Vs.C/Rs.-, unlisted reverse die); SNGvA 3668; SNG Tubingen 4054; Lindgren III 596, aF, obverse rough, weight 10.243 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AY• K• - ΠOY• ΛIK• OYAΛEPAN/OC, radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from the front, round countermark on face; reverseIEPAΠOΛE/ITΩN - KE - CAP∆IANΩN NEWK/OPΩN, Apollo on left, standing right, plectrum in right hand, kithara in left hand; cult statue of Kore facing, wearing kalathos and veil, OMONOYA in exergue; very rare; $170.00 (€144.50)
Philip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D.
When Philip visited Antioch, Saint Babylas refused to let him enter the gathering of Christians at the Easter vigil (Eusebius, Historia ecclesiastica, VI, 34). Later legend elaborates, stating that Babylas demanded that he do penance for his part in the murder of the young Gordian III before he would allow Philip to celebrate Easter. Saint Babylas died in prison in 253 during the Decian persecution. He asked to be buried in his chains.RS86485. Silver antoninianus, Bland 61 (32 spec.), Óvári 7B, SRCV IV 9258, Cohen V 1; RIC IV-3 240a (R) var. (notes Cohen as AVG, in error); RSC IV 1 var. (same), Hunter III -, Choice EF, well centered, slightly weak centers, edge cracks, tiny encrustations, light marks, weight 3.872 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 2nd issue, mid 247 - end of 247 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, seen from behind; reverseAEQVITAS AVG (equity of the emperor), Aequitas standing half left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; scarce; $150.00 (€127.50)
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