Mark Antony restitution issue by Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus
ANTONIVS AVGVR III VIR R P C
Galley moving left over waves
ANTONINVS ET VERVS AVG REST
Legionary eagle between two standards LEG VI across lower field
Rome 168-9 AD
Sear 5236; RIC 443; RSC Mark Antony 83
The reasons for this remarkable restoration remain obscure. Mattingly suggests that Legio VI Ferrata, which had fought for Antony at Philippi in 42 BC, may have played a leading role in the Parthian War of AD 164, the exceptional commemoration of this achievement on the coinage being prompted both by the legion's long and distinguished history and the similarity of the names "Antonius" and "Antoninus". The 200th Anniversary of the battle of Actium perhaps provides a more obvious reason for the issue.
The reason for the restoration is not in doubt in my opinion, having been discerned by Mommsen in 1859.
Because of their lower silver content, Antony's legionary denarii were excluded from Trajan's recoinage of 107, and therefore Trajan did not restore this type.
But by the reign of Marcus and Verus, the silver content of the current denarius had fallen to the point that it had now become profitable to recoin Antony's denarii. Marcus and Verus did so, and therefore restored the coin too, picking at random one of the commoner legions for their restoration, since it was quite unnecessary to restore coins for several different legions, or for all of them!
The Reka Devnia hoard, ending essentially in c. 241 AD, still contained 9 original legionary denarii of Antony, plus 20 restorations by Marcus and Verus!
Sold back to ANE February 2020