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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Crisis and Decline ▸ Valerian IView Options:  |  |  |   

Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D.

Valerian I was proclaimed emperor after the death of Trajan Decius. He successfully repulsed many barbarian incursions but the standard of living declined and would never recover. In 260 A.D., after four years of war during which Roman forces suffered great losses in battle and to a plague, he arranged for peace talks. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sasanian emperor Sapor and was never seen again. The date of his death is unknown, but in Rome, it was rumored that he had been murdered and that Sapor was using his stuffed body as a footstool.


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Ephesus

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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 cuirassed bust right, wearing aegis; reverse IEPAΠOΛEITΩ-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; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis

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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 Tübingen 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 cuirassed bust right, from the front, round countermark on face; reverse IEPAΠOΛE/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; $135.00 (€114.75)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Ephesus

Click for a larger photo
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.
RP77245. Bronze AE 32, Franke-Nolle, type VII, 743 (Vs. B/ Rs. 39); cf. BMC Phrygia p. 264, 188; SNG Hunterian 1957; SNG Righetti 1189, aVF, slightly ragged flan, potentially active corrosion, weight 10.522 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AV• KE• - ΠOV ΛIK OYA/ΛEPIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, wearing aegis from which two snakes rise; reverse IEPAΠOΛEI/TΩN - K EΦECIΩN, Serapis standing right, kalathos on head holding transverse scepter; to right, Artemis Ephesia facing, resting each hand on the head of a stag, one stag flanking on each side, NEΩ/KO/PΩ/N in four lines in center field, OMONOIA in exergue; very rare; $95.00 (€80.75)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia

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Astarte, called "Ashtroth" in Scripture, was the favorite goddess of the Sidonians, Tyrians, Philistines, and Syro-Phoenicians generally. She was associated with the Greek Aphrodite and Roman Venus Genetrix, being believed by the ancients to be the goddess of generation, as well as of beauty. Astarte was chiefly worshiped and appears on the coins of Berytus, Bostra, Sidon, and Tyre. Her image is of a young woman, wearing a tall headdress; and clothed in a tunic, high in the neck- sometimes, not reaching lower than the knees, or sometimes with a longer dress, but with one knee exposed, and one foot planted on a galley's prow.
RP77850. Bronze AE 29, Baramki AUB 283; BMC Phoenicia p. 287, 453 corr. (rev. leg.); SNG Hunterian 3431 var. (palm and murex reversed, etc.); Lingren-Kovacs 2396; SNG Cop -, F, green patina with lighter highlighting fields, reverse slightly off center, weight 14.794 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse COL - TY-RO - MET, hexastyle temple, Tyche-Astarte standing facing within under central arch, wearing tall headdress and short tunic, right hand on trophy standing to her left, transverse long scepter in left hand, left foot on galley, being crowned by Nike on short column to her right; tree, altar, and murex shell from left to right in exergue; rare; $80.00 (€68.00)
 


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This ironic reverse utterly failed to foresee Valerian's fate. In 260 A.D., after four years of great losses in battle and to plague, Valerian arranged for talks. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sasanian (Parthian) Emperor Shapur but was never seen again. The date of his death is unknown. In Rome, it was rumored that Shapur used his stuffed body as a footstool.
RS64708. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 111b, RIC V 117, RSC IV 183, Hunter IV 23, SRCV V 9968, VF, centered, toned, part of reverse legend weak, some die wear, tiny edge crack, weight 3.212 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 256 - 257 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVTOR ORBIS (to the restorer of the world), emperor standing left, raising kneeling woman with right hand, spear vertical in left hand behind; $50.00 (€42.50)
 


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To the ancient Romans, Rome was "Roma Aeterna" (The Eternal City) and "Caput Mundi" (Capital of the World). During the Early Middle Ages, the population fell to a mere 20,000, reducing the sprawling city to groups of inhabited buildings interspersed among large areas of ruins and vegetation. 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.
RS64709. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1571a, RIC V-1 221, RSC IV 192a, Cunetio 806 (1 spec.), Hunter IV 7, SRCV III 9970, VF, excellent portrait, centered on a tight flan, light marks, light deposits, weak reverse, weight 4.564 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 254 - 256 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, radiate and draped bust right; reverse ROMAE AETERNAE (to eternal Rome), Roma seated left on shield, Victory offering wreath in her extended right hand, spear in her left hand; $36.00 (€30.60)
 


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Securitas stands perfectly at her ease, with legs crossed and leaning on a column, clearly relaxed, having nothing to fear. The reverses of Roman coins often expressed hopes rather than reality. This coin was struck during the "Crisis of the Third Century" (235–284 A.D.), a time when the Roman Empire was near collapse under the combined pressures of invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression.
BB64711. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-1 256, RSC IV 204, Cunetio 747 (39 spec.), Eauze 1448, Hunter III 64, SRCV III 9976, aVF, well centered, flat centers, pit flaw 2:00 on reverse, small edge split, weight 3.485 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis u180o, Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) mint, 257 - 258 A.D.; obverse IMP VALERIANVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from front; reverse SECVRIT PERPET (everlasting security), Securitas standing slightly left, legs crossed, long scepter vertical in right hand, left arm rests on a column; $34.00 (€28.90)
 


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Victoria or Nike, the Winged Goddess of Victory, personifies victory. She was described variously in different myths as the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, and the sister of Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal). Nike and her siblings were close companions of Zeus. According to classical (later) myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titan War. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame, symbolized by a wreath of laurel leaves.
RS64740. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 77c, RIC V-1 127 (S), RSC III 221, SRCV III 9984, SRCV III 9984, Hunter IV - (p. xxxiv), aVF, nice portrait, toned, slight porosity, weight 3.566 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 253 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse VICTORIA AVGG (victory of the two emperors), Victory standing half left, head left, resting right hand on grounded oval shield, upright palm frond in left hand; scarce; $34.00 (€28.90)
 


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This type imitates the Caius and Lucius Caesar reverse of Augustus. It refers to the joint consulate of Valerian and Gallienus in 257 A.D.
RS64710. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1598a, RIC V-1 277 (S), RSC IV 169, Hunter IV 70, Cunetio 835 (20 spec.), SRCV III 9962, VF, centered on a tight flan, toned, a little coppery on spots of wear, porous, tiny edge crack, weight 3.973 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 0o, eastern military field mint, 257 A.D.; obverse IMP VALERIANVS AVG, radiate and draped bust right; reverse P M TR P V COS IIII P P (high priest, tribune for 5 years, consul 4 times, father of the country), Valerian and Gallienus standing confronted, laureate and togate, holding two shields on the ground between them, two spears upright behind shields; $30.00 (€25.50)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
This ironic reverse utterly failed to foresee Valerian's fate. In 260 A.D., after four years of great losses in battle and to plague, Valerian arranged for talks. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sasanian (Parthian) Emperor Shapur but was never seen again. The date of his death is unknown. In Rome, it was rumored that Shapur used his stuffed body as a footstool.
RA87017. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1700l(3) (Samosata), RSC IV 190a (Antioch), RIC V-1 287 var. (no officina mark, Antioch), SRCV III 9967 var. (same, uncertain Syrian), VF, well centered on a broad flan, porous, edge cracks, weight 3.331 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, uncertain Syrian mint, 255 - 256 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, two pellets below; reverse RESTITVT ORIENTIS (to the restorer of the East), turreted female (Oriens) standing right, presenting wreath to Valerian, standing left, wearing military attire, spear vertical in left hand, pellet within wreath above; scarce with officina mark •• on obverse; $27.00 (€22.95)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

CONCORDIAAVGVSTORVM
PIETASAVGVSTORVM
FELICIBVSAVGG
IMPCAESPLICVALERIANVSAVG
IMPCPLICVALERIANOAVG
IMPCPLICVALERIANVSAVG
IMPCPLICVALERIANVSPAVG
IMPCPLICVALERIANVSPFAVG
IMPCVALERIANVSPFAVG
IMPPLICVALERIANOAVG
IMPVALERIANVSAVG
IMPVALERIANVSPAVG
IMPVALERIANVSPFAVG
IMPVALERIANVSPIVSAVG
IMPVALERIANVSPIVSFELAVG
VALERIANVSPFAVG


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Besly, E. & R. Bland. The Cunetio Treasure: Roman Coinage of the Third Century AD. (London, 1983).
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).
Elmer, G. "Die Münzprägung der gallischen Kaiser von Postumus bis Tetricus in Köln, Trier und Mailand." in Bonner Jahrbücher 146 (1941).
Göbl, R. et al. Moneta Imperii Romani, Band 35: Die Münzprägung des Kaiser Valerianus I/Gallienus/Saloninus (253/268), Regalianus (260) un Macrianus/Quietus (260/262). (Vienna, 2000).
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & P. Webb. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol V, Part I, Valerian to Florian. (London, 1927).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. IV. Valerian I to Allectus. (Oxford, 1978).
Seaby, H. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume IV, Gordian III to Postumus. (London, 1982).
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 Wednesday, November 14, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Valerian I