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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Crisis and Decline ▸ Trajan DeciusView Options:  |  |  | 

Trajan Decius, July 249 - First Half of June 251 A.D.

Trajan Decius, a general under Philip I, successfully crushed the revolt of Pacatian. His troops forced him to assume the imperial dignity and although he still protested his loyalty, Philip advanced against him. Decius was victorious and Philip was killed. The Senate then recognized Decius as Emperor, giving him the attribute Traianus as a reference to that good emperor. As the Byzantine historian Zosimus later noted: "Decius was therefore clothed in purple and forced to undertake the government, despite his reluctance and unwillingness." Decius spent the rest of his short reign combating barbarians. Sometime in the first two weeks of June 251, Trajan Decius and his son Herennius Etruscus became the first Roman emperors to die in battle against a foreign enemy. Herennius died at his father's side, struck by an arrow. Decius survived the initial confrontation, only to be slain with the rest of the army before the end of the day.


Trajan Decius, July 249 - First Half of June 251 A.D., Anazarbus, Cilicia

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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, radiate head 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 SALE PRICE $180.00
 


The Coinage of Trajan Decius (AD 249 - 251)

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BL43194. The Coinage of Trajan Decius (AD 249 - 251) by Augustus Brown, published by the author c. 1960, 8vo, paperback, 20 pages plus one plate; $6.00 SALE PRICE $5.40
 


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Rare denomination introduced with this issue, and equal in value to the obsolete silver quinarius. The c. 4g brass "semis" introduced at the same time as this issue, may well have been a "reduced as" half of the c. 8.5 gram dupondius, one quarter of the c. 17 g sesterius, and one eighth of this coin. Completing the sub-antoninianus denominations, a rare, small, silver coin of c. 1.6 g was a denarius. The double sestertius, easilly distiguished by its radiate crown, was also issued by Gallienus and especially Postumus. A rare denomination of Aurelian and Severina is sometimes referred to as a "dupondius," sometimes as an "double sestertius." its rarity precludes its use as a smaller than half fraction of the c. 275 A.D. aurelianus. Probably the 7 g "as" was a half of the aurelianus, making the 14 g radiate Aurelian / Severina bronze an attempted bronze aurelianus.
SH26392. Orichalcum double sestertius, RIC IV 115a, Cohen V 39, Choice VF, weight 34.518 g, maximum diameter 36.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 249 - 251 A.D.; obverse IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, drapery in left shoulder; reverse FELICITAS SAECVLI S C, Felicitas standing left, caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; exceptional quality for this late issue, olive patina; ex The New York Sale, Auction XIV, 10 January 2007, lot 373; SOLD







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

IMPCAESCMESSQDECIOTRAIAVG
IMPCAESCMESSTRAIQDECIOAVG
IMPCAESQTRAIANVSDECIVS
IMPCAETRADECAVG
IMPCAETRADECIVSAVG
IMPCDECIVSAVG
IMPCMQTRAIANVSDECIVSAVG
IMPTRAIANVSAVGDECIVS
IMPTRAIANVSDECIVSAVG


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. Two: 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).
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & C. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol IV, From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
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).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Saturday, February 17, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Trajan Decius