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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., Tyre, Phoenicia

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Dido, the founder and first queen of Carthage, is primarily known from Virgil's Aeneid. Upon succeeding their father as king of Tyre, Dido's brother Pygmalion had her husband Sichaeus killed in a plot to seize his immense wealth. Dido, with a large group of friends and followers, escaped Tyre, carrying with them all of Sichaeus' treasure. As depicted on the reverse of this coin, Dido made a sacrifice at the temple of Melqart-Hercules before leaving. The reverse on some other Valerian types, we know of one example struck with this same obverse die, depict Dido in Carthage beginning construction.
RP75357. Bronze dichalkon, Unpublished in the many references examined by Forum, cf. SNG Righetti 2354 (radiate and cuirassed bust), Rouvier 2503 (same), VF, well centered, porous, flan adjustment marks, weight 11.064 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 180o, Tyre mint, Oct 253 - Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP CP LIC VALERIANVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse COL TVRO MET, Dido standing right, kalathos on head, extending both hands toward a distyle temple of Melqart-Hercules in perspective to upper right, club within the temple, flaming column altar at her feet, murex shell on right below temple; from the J. Berlin Caesarea Collection; the best of the few examples of the type known to Forum; extremely rare; $720.00 (€640.80)
 


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

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Located near Lampsacus, Parium belonged to the Delian League. In the Hellenistic period it was in the domain of Lysimachus and then the Attalid dynasty. Julius Caesar refounded it as a colonia within the province of Asia. After Asia was divided in the 4th century, it was in the province of Hellespontus.
RP70938. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 304; SNGvA 1343; BMC Mysia p. 108, 116, VF, perfect centering, struck with a damaged obverse die, weight 4.774 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, Parium mint, obverse IMP VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate,draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse Capricorn swimming right, holding celestial globe between legs, cornucopia on back, CGIHP below; ex Russian Coins; $360.00 (€320.40)
 


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

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Agonistic "urns" or "crowns" were awarded to winners at ancient Greek games, similar to modern trophies. They are called "crowns" because they may have been placed on the head of the victor. The crowns on this coin and the inscription under the table refer to the Severia Olympia Games celebrated by Tarsos and other cities near the Syrian border at a site called "the Quadrigae" where Septimius Severus defeated Pescennius Niger in 194 A.D.

The inscription A M K Γ Γ is a boast of Tarsos: Πρωτη Mεγιστη Kαλλιστη, meaning First (A is the Greek numeral one), Greatest, and Most Beautiful city of the three (adjoining) provinces (Cilicia, Isauria, Lycaonia). The final Γ indicates a third neokoria, which was received under Valerian.
RP83549. Bronze AE 33, SNG Levante 1185 (same dies), SNG BnF 1820 (same), Klose-Stumpf 262, SNGvA 6077 var. (rev. inscription arrangement), SNG Cop -, BMC Lycaonia -, aF, porous, weak center on reverse, reverse a little off-center, weight 16.511 g, maximum diameter 32.9 mm, die axis 180o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 255 - 260 A.D.; obverse AV KAI ΠOVΛI OVAΛEPIANOC CE, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, Π - Π flanking at sides; reverse TAPCO-V MHTPOPOLEWC, three agonistic prize crowns set on table, CEVHPI OΛV / A∆PIA EKI/XIPIAI / AVΓOVCTI-A / AKTIA , A M K Γ Γ in exergue; ex Alex G. Malloy; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


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The PAX AVGG type with this obverse legend is missing from the major references, except one. It is a die match to Göbl MIR 835c. We were unable to find another example online. Perhaps all examples of this very rare variant were struck with this single die pair.
RS90027. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 835c (same dies), RIC V -, RSC IV -, Hunter IV -, SRCV III -, F, irregular flan shape, small edge cracks, porous, weight 2.363 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, Viminacium (Stari Kostolac, Serbia) mint, 3rd emission, c. 257 - 258 A.D.; obverse IMP VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PAX AVGG, Pax standing half left, raising olive-branch in right hand, long transverse scepter in left hand; very rare; $75.00 (€66.75)
 


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Vulcan is the Roman god of fire, including the fire of volcanoes. Vulcan is often depicted with a blacksmith's hammer. The festival of Vulcan, the Vulcanalia was celebrated on 23 August each year, when the summer heat placed crops and granaries at the greatest risk of burning. The Romans identified Vulcan with the Greek smith-god Hephaestus, and he became associated like his Greek counterpart with the constructive use of fire in metalworking.
RS64696. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 884d, RIC V 5, Hunter IV 56, SRCV V 9934, RSC IV 50d var. (no cuirass), VF, toned, irregular oval flan, struck with a worn reverse die, weight 2.606 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, Colonia Agrippina (Cologne) mint, 2nd emission, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse DEO VOLKANO, Vulcan standing left within hexastyle temple, hammer raised in right hand, tongs downward in left, anvil on ground at feet left; scarce; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


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Oriens is Latin for "east." Literally, it means "rising" from orior, "rise." The use of the word for "rising" to refer to the east (where the sun rises) has analogs from many languages: compare the terms "Levant" (French levant "rising"), "Anatolia" (Greek anatole), "mizrahi" in Hebrew (from "zriha" meaning sunrise), "sharq" in Arabic, and others. The Chinese pictograph for east is based on the sun rising behind a tree and "The Land of the Rising Sun" to refers to Japan. Also, many ancient temples, including the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, were built with their main entrances facing the East. To situate them in such a manner was to "orient" them in the proper direction. When something is facing the correct direction, it is said to have the proper "orientation."
RS64718. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 868h, RIC V 12, RSC IV 143a, Hunter IV 53, SRCV III 9952, VF, excellent portrait, toned, well centered on a tight, slightly oval flan, deposits, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.908 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 180o, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany) mint, 257 - 259 A.D.; obverse VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ORIENS AVGG, Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, left arm and flying behind, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip in left hand; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


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Vulcan is the Roman god of fire, including the fire of volcanoes. Vulcan is often depicted with a blacksmith's hammer. The festival of Vulcan, the Vulcanalia was celebrated on 23 August each year, when the summer heat placed crops and granaries at the greatest risk of burning. The Romans identified Vulcan with the Greek smith-god Hephaestus, and he became associated like his Greek counterpart with the constructive use of fire in metalworking.
RS64707. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 884d, RIC V 5, Hunter IV 56, SRCV V 9934, RSC IV 50d var. (no cuirass), VF, excellent centering, struck with worn dies, weight 3.562 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, Colonia Agrippina (Cologne) mint, 2nd emission, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse DEO VOLKANO, Vulcan standing left within hexastyle temple, hammer raised in right hand, tongs downward in left, anvil on ground at feet left; scarce; $65.00 (€57.85)
 


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In 256 A.D., the cities in the Roman Empire begin to build walls as the defense of the frontiers collapsed. The Goths invaded Asia Minor, Dacia was lost, and they appeared at the walls of Thessalonica. The Franks crossed the Rhine. The Alamanni penetrated to Milan. In Africa, the Berbers massacred Roman colonists. King Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia and Syria and plundered Antioch, Zeugma, and Dura-Europos.
RA72577. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1687e (Samosata), SRCV III 9995, RIC V 293 (Antioch), RSC IV 276 (Antioch), Hunter IV 76, Choice EF, light corrosion, flan crack, weight 3.129 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Syria mint, 255 - 258 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVGG, Valerian and Gallienus standing facing; Valerian on left, scepter in right, globe in left; Gallienus on right offering Victory to Valerian, transverse spear in left; $65.00 (€57.85)
 


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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.
RS76533. Billon antoninianus, RIC V 277 (S, Antioch), RSC IV 169, Göbl MIR 1598a (Antioch), Hunter IV 70, SRCV III 9962, gVF, good metal for the type, slightly off-center, edge crack, weight 3.615 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, eastern field mint, 257 A.D.; obverse IMP VALERIANVS AVG, radiate and draped bust right; reverse P M TR P V COS IIII P P, Valerian and Gallienus standing confronted, laureate and togate, holding two shields on the ground between them, two spears upright behind shields; scarce; $60.00 (€53.40)
 


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

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Anemurion was in the Roman province of Isauria on Cape Anamur the southernmost point of Asia Minor, only 64 km from Cyprus. Coins from its mint survive from Antiochus IV of Commagene (38-72) to Valerian (253-259). In 260, the Sassanians captured Anemurion, which sent it into decline for decades. It recovered and prospered until the mid-7th century, when it was nearly completely abandoned, probably because the Arab occupation of Cyprus made the coast unsafe. The acropolis occupies the actual cape, protected on three sides by steep cliffs and on the landward side by a wall with towers and zigzag reentrants. The fortifications and buildings are medieval, constructed in part utilizing Hellenistic elements. The lower town extended north of the citadel for at least 1500 meters. Discovered remains include a large theater, a small covered odeon or bouleuterion, three large public baths and one small one, decorated with mosaic floors (some converted to industrial use in late antiquity), four early Christian churches, an exedra possibly of a civil basilica (law court). Outside, there is an extensive necropolis of some 350 sepulchral monuments dating from the 1st to the early 4th century. Some included several rooms, a second story, and even an inner courtyard.
RP78017. Bronze AE 26, SNG Pfalz VI 381 (same obv. die); SNG Levante 519; BMC Lycaonia p. 43, 12; SNG BnF -; SNGvA -; Lindgren III 798 -; SNG Hunterian -, aF, porous, tiny edge cracks, weight 11.706 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 180o, Anemurion (near Anamur, Turkey) mint, autumn 255 - autumn 256 A.D.; obverse AV K Π ΛI - OVAΛEPIANON, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse ANE-MOYPIEWN - ET Γ (year 3), mummiform cult statue of Artemis standing facing, veiled, holding branch in each hand, stag left at feet on left, stag's head turned back right; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; very rare; $60.00 (€53.40)
 




  



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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., Sydenham and 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.A. & D.R. 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 Tuesday, December 06, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Valerian I