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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Crisis and Decline| ▸ |Philip I||View Options:  |  |  | 

Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

Marcus Julius Verus Philippus, known as Philip I "The Arab" was the Praetorian Prefect and the successor to Gordian III, whom he possibly had murdered. After signing a treaty with the Persians, he returned home. During his reign, the 1000th anniversary of the foundation of Rome (248 A.D.) was celebrated and magnificent games were held on a scale rarely seen. In 249 A.D., a series of rebellions occurred, both Philip and his son were killed after their army was defeated near Verona by the forces of Trajan Decius.


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During Philip's reign the 1000th anniversary of Rome (248 A.D.) was celebrated, and magnificent games were held. This coin was issued as part of that celebration and the reverse undoubted depicts one of the animal types displayed and hunted in the Colosseum during the games.
RB87835. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 160a; Cohen V 183, Hunter III 107, SRCV III 9012, VF, nice portrait, well centered, some bumps and scratches, a little rough and porous, edge cracks, traces of shellac(?), weight 16.917 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped (and cuirassed?) bust right, from behind; reverse SAECVLARES AVGG (Secular games [provided by] the Emperors), stag standing right, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $180.00 (€162.00)
 


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Liberalitas coin types attest to occasions when the emperor has displayed his generosity towards the people by a distribution to them of money, provisions, or both. The first mention of Liberalitas was on coins of Hadrian. It was a type frequently repeated by the succeeding emperors. Indeed these instances of imperial generosity are more carefully recorded on coins than they are by history. Liberality is personified by the image of a woman, holding in one hand a counting board, or square tablet with a handle on which are cut a certain number of holes. These boards were used to quickly count the proper number of coins or other items for distribution to each person. In the other hand she holds a cornucopia, to indicate the prosperity of the state and the abundance of wheat contained in the public graineries.
RB91023. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 180a, Cohen V 88, Hunter III 88, SRCV III 8999, VF, green patina, well centered, excellent portrait, light corrosion, porosity, weight 21.816 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse LIBERALITAS AVGG II, Liberalitas standing half-left, coin counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; from the Eric J. Engstrom Collection; scarce; $170.00 (€153.00)
 


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RIC and RSC list this type with the reverse legend ending AVGG and note that Cohen describes it as ending AVG in error. Cohen does list this reverse from Antioch, but with a bust left. While the AVG ending is rare, we do know of other examples.
RS92350. Silver antoninianus, SRCV III 8917, Tulln Hoard 894, Óvári 7A, Bland 16 (29 spec.), Cohen V 9, RIC IV 82 var. (bust l.); RSC IV 8 var. (same), Hunter III -, EF, excellent portrait, some mint luster, well centered, uneven strike resulting in parts of legends weak, flow lines, tiny edge cracks, weight 4.569 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, mid - end 247 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse AEQVITAS AVG (equity of the emperor), Aequitas standing half left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; rare; $160.00 (€144.00)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Tarsus, Cilicia

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The abbreviated Greek inscription A M K Γ B is a boast of this city, Πρωτη Mεγιστη Kαλλιστη, meaning First (A is the Greek number one), Greatest, and Most Beautiful city of the three (Γ is the Greek number three) adjoining provinces (Cilicia, Isauria, Lycaonia). The final B (B is the Greek number two) indicates the city held two neokorie, temples dedicated to the imperial cult.
RP88856. Bronze AE 36, SNG BnF 1737 (same dies), SNG Levante -, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, BMC Lycaonia -, ANS Mantis -, F, dark green patina, full boarders centering, earthen deposits, scattered porosity, weight 17.154 g, maximum diameter 36.4 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 245 - 246 A.D.; obverse AVT KAI IOV ΦIΛIΠΠON EVT EVC CE, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind, Π − Π across field; reverse TAPCOV MHTPOΠOΛEΩC, Athena standing half left, wearing crested helmet, inverted spear in right hand, left hand resting on grounded shield behind, A / M / K on left, Γ / B on right; very rare; $140.00 (€126.00)
 


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In April 248, Philip combined the celebration of Rome's 1000th anniversary with the Ludi Saeculares. Festivities included spectacular games and theatrical presentations. In the Colosseum, more than 1,000 gladiators were killed along with hundreds of exotic animals including hippos, leopards, lions, giraffes, and one rhinoceros. At the same time, Philip elevated his son to the rank of co-Augustus.
RS89482. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 10, RSC IV 241, Hunter III 43, SRCV III 8916, VF, well centered, frosty surfaces, light bumps and marks, die wear, weight 4.107 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Rome mint, 248 - 249 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate and draped, seen from behind; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (courage of the two emperors), Philip I and II on horseback galloping right, E in exergue; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73, part of lot 970; $110.00 (€99.00)
 


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In 248, Trajan Decius put down the revolts of Pacatianus in Moesia and Iotapianus in Syria. In 249, after his legionaries proclaimed him emperor, Trajan Decius marched to Verona, where his forces defeated and killed Philip the Arab.
RS87885. Silver antoninianus, RSC IV 98, Hunter III 41, SRCV III 8938, RIC IV 8 corr. (officina mark), EF, excellent portrait, well centered on a broad flan, iridescent toning, a few tiny encrustations, uneven reverse strike, weight 4.341 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, die axis 180o, 6th officina, Rome mint, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse NOBILITAS AVGG, Nobilitas standing facing, head right, long scepter vertical in right hand, globe in left hand, ς (6th officina) left; ex Beast Coins, ex Harlan Berk CICF show April 2018; rare; $85.00 (€76.50)
 


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Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one snake bringing another snake healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing. This coin, dedicated to the health of the emperor, probably indicates the emperor was at the time suffering from some disease, and sacred rites had been performed for his recovery.
RB87451. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 186a, Cohen V 211, Hunter III 75, SRCV III 9017, VF, excellent portrait, irregularly shaped flan (typical of the period), light corrosion, cracks, weight 15.469 g, maximum diameter 31.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 244 - 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse SALVS AVG (the health of the Emperor), Salus standing slightly right, head right, feeding snake held with her right arm from patera in her left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; $75.00 (€67.50)
 


Otacilia Severa, Augusta February or March 244 - September or October 249 A.D.

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In Roman religion, Concordia was the goddess of agreement, understanding, and marital harmony. The cult of Concordia Augusta ("Majestic Harmony") was of special importance to the imperial household. She is usually depicted wearing a long cloak and holding a patera (sacrificial bowl), a cornucopia (symbol of prosperity), or a caduceus (symbol of peace).
RB87842. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 203a, Cohen V 10, Hunter III 14, SRCV III 9164, VF/F, nice portrait, partly squared flan, marks, scratches, corrosion, weight 17.715 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 244 - 249 A.D.; obverse MARCIA OTACIL SEVERA AVG, diademed draped bust right; reverse CONCORDIA AVGG (harmony between the Emperor and Empress), Concordia seated left, patera in right hand, double cornucopia in left hand, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $60.00 (€54.00)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Antiocheia, Pisidia

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Pisidia's geographic and strategic position made it difficult to maintain peace. To strengthen control, Rome colonized the area with military veterans, who were attracted to the area by the fertile soil. An important Roman colony, Antiocheia was, like Rome, divided into seven quarters called "vici" on seven hills. The formal language was Latin until the end of the 3rd century A.D.
RP91512. Bronze AE 26, Krzyzanowska p.188, IV/4; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG PfPs -; SNG Leypold -; BMC Lycia -, gF, well centered, light marks, scattered porosity, weight 10.902 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch in Pisidia (Yalvac, Turkey) mint, c. 244 - 249 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse CAES AN-TIOCHI - COLO (clockwise from lower left), vexillum flanked by two standards, all surmounted by eagles, S - R in inner fields; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $40.00 (€36.00)
 







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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

IMPCMIVLPHILLIPVSPFAVGPM
IMPCMIVLPHILIPPVSPFAVGPM
IMPIVLPHILIPPVSPIVSFELAVGPM
IMPMIVLPHILIPPVSAVG
IMPPHILIPPVSAVG
MIVLPHILIPPVSAVG


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Bland, R. "Dr. Bland's List for Philip I and Family" - http://ettuantiquities.com/Philip_1/Philip1-Bland-list.htm
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, vol. 2: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 5: Gordian I to Valerian II. (Paris, 1885).
Göbl, R. "Römischer Münzhort Tulln 1966 (Septimius Severus - Gallienus)" in NZ 83 (1969). pp. 7-57, pl. 1-48.
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & C. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol IV, From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Muona, J. "The Antoniniani of Philip the Arab" in The Celator, Feb. 2002, p. 10.
Muona, J. "The Imperial mints of Philip the Arab" - https://www.forumancientcoins.com/Articles/Philip_Arab/index.html
Óvári, F. "Philippus antiochiai veretu antoninianusairól" in Numizmatikai Közlöny 88/89 (1989/90), pp. 41 - 48.
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III. Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume IV, Gordian III to Postumus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values III, The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
Thibaut, M. Antoniniani from the Mint of Antioch Under the Reign of Philip the Arab (244-249 AD) - http://marchal.thibaut.free.fr/e_index.htm
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Monday, February 17, 2020.
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Roman Coins of Philip I