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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Recovery of the Empire| ▸ |Probus||View Options:  |  |  |   

Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

Marcus Aurelius Probus was the son of a soldier and was himself a simple soldier at the beginning of his career. By the reign of Aurelian, he was one of the Empire's foremost generals. After the death of Tacitus, he was declared emperor and after the murder of Florian, he was left undisputed master of the Roman world. He embarked on a series of economic revival programs bringing great peace and prosperity to the empire. Tragically mutinous soldiers, enraged at being employed on public building projects, murdered him.


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Virtus was a specific virtue in ancient Rome. It carried connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Virtus applied exclusively to a man's behavior in the public sphere, that is to the application of duty to the res publica in the cursus honorum. Private business was no place to earn virtus, even when it involved courage or feats of arms or other good qualities. There could be no virtue in exploiting one's manliness in the pursuit of personal wealth, for example. It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors and was personified as the deity Virtus.
RA92326. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 234, Cohen VI 857, SRCV III 12063, Hunter IV 14 var. (R*E), Choice EF, well centered on a broad flan, much silvering, excellent portrait, weight 4.185 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Rome mint, emission 2, 277 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS P F AVG, radiate bust left in imperial mantle, scepter surmounted by eagle in right hand; reverse VIRTVS AVGVSTI (to the valor of the Emperor), Virtus standing half left, helmeted head left, resting right hand on grounded shield, spear vertical in left hand, RE in exergue; $130.00 (€114.40)
 


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Serdica struck many similar types with the reverse legends RESITVT ORBIS and RESTITVTOR ORBIS, combined with various busts, obverse legends, officina, and control marks. This coin differs from all the varieties listed in RIC.

KA in the exergue, is the Greek numeral 21, a mark of value, indicating 21 parts bronze to one part silver (approximately 4.5% silver). Γ, is the Greek numeral 3, indicating the coin was struck by the third officina (mint workshop).
RA92325. Silvered antoninianus, Pink VI-1, p. 44-45/1; RIC V-2 856 var. (RESTITVTOR ORBIS); Cohen VI 508 var. (also draped); Hunter IV -; SRCV III -, aEF, much silvering, well centered, scratches, corrosion, some pitting, edge split, weight 3.251 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, 3nd officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, c. 276 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVT ORBIS (to the restorer of the world), female (on left) standing right, presenting wreath to emperor, emperor (on right) standing left, extending right hand, spear in left hand, star low center, KA•Γ in exergue; not in RIC; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


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Pax, regarded by the ancients as a goddess, was worshiped not only at Rome but also at Athens. Her altar could not be stained with blood. Claudius began the construction of a magnificent temple to her honor, which Vespasian finished, in the Via Sacra. The attributes of Peace are the hasta pura, the olive branch, the cornucopia, and often the caduceus. Sometimes she is represented setting fire to a pile of arms.
RA91819. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 712, Cohen VI 420, Pink V1-1 p. 52-3, Hunter IV - (p. cxlvi), SRCV III -, VF, well centered, near full silvering, scratches, weight 2.932 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 180o, 6th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, c. 280 A.D.; obverse IMP C PROBVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse PAX AVGVSTI (to the peace of the emperor), Pax standing left, olive branch in right hand, transverse scepter in left hand, VI in right field, XXI in exergue; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 57, part of lot 1351; $35.00 (€30.80)
 


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This coin is dedicated to the goddess Fides for her good quality of preserving the public peace by keeping the army true to its allegiance.
RA88558. Billon antoninianus, Hunter IV 47, RIC V-2 169 corr. (obv. leg.), Cohen VI 254 corr. (same), SRCV III 11981, Pink VI-1 p. 58; struck only by the 5th officina, F, green patina, oval flan, earthen encrustations, weight 3.371 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Rome mint, 280 - 281 A.D.; obverse IMP PROBVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse FIDES MILITVM (the loyalty of the soldiers), Fides standing slightly left, head left, holding standard in each hand, R thunderbolt E in exergue; $.99 (€.87)


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In 281, Probus returned to Rome, where he celebrated his triumph over the Vandals and the usurpers (Bonosus, Julius Saturninus and Proculus).
RA88575. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 920; Hunter V 342 var. (5th officina); Cohen VI 91; Pink p. 40, emission 2; SRCV 11960 var. (obv. leg.), F, oval flan, rev. a little off center, porous, tiny edge crack, weight 1.973 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 180o, 8th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 280 - 281 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse CLEMENTIA TEMP (time of peace and calm), Probus on left, standing right, in military garb, transverse eagle-tipped scepter in left hand, receiving globe from Jupiter with right hand, Jupiter on right, standing left, nude but for cloak, long scepter vertical in left hand, offering globe with right hand, H• in center, XXI in exergue; $14.00 (€12.32)
 


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Invincible Sol charging in a facing quadriga and raising his hand commanding the sun to rise, is one of our favorite reverses of the Roman Imperial series and Forum's recommended coin type for Probus. If you only plan to buy one Probus coin, it should be this type!
RA88614. Billon antoninianus, Hunter IV 314 (also 1st officina); Pink VI-1, p. 44, em. 3; RIC V-2 911; Cohen VI 682; SRCV III 12041, F, oval flan, porous, encrustations, weight 2.857 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, emission 3, 280 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS P F AVG, radiate bust left in consular robe, eagle-tipped scepter in right hand; reverse SOLI INVICTO (to the invincible sun god), Sol in a spread quadriga facing, radiate, cloak billowing out behind, raising right hand commanding sunrise, whip in left hand, CM below center, XXIP in exergue; $15.00 (€13.20)
 


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Virtus was a specific virtue in ancient Rome. It carried connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Virtus applied exclusively to a man's behavior in the public sphere, that is to the application of duty to the res publica in the cursus honorum. Private business was no place to earn virtus, even when it involved courage or feats of arms or other good qualities. There could be no virtue in exploiting one's manliness in the pursuit of personal wealth, for example. It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors and was personified as the deity Virtus.
RA88801. Silvered antoninianus, Hunter IV 322 var. (also 5th officina, but V below horse vice E in ex.), RIC V-2 913, Cohen VI 928, Pink VI-1, p. 44, SRCV III -, aF, rough corrosion, weight 3.131 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Cyzicus mint, 280 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS P F AVG, radiate, helmeted, and cuirassed bust left, spear in right hand over right shoulder, shield on left arm; reverse VIRTVS PROBI AVG (the valor of Emperor Probus), Probus on horseback prancing left, bare-headed and wearing military garb, raising right hand in salute, scepter in left hand, bound captive seated left before horse, EXXIMC in exergue; $14.00 (€12.32)
 


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In 278 A.D., Probus campaigned against Germanic incursion in Raetia and the Vandals in Illyricum.
RA89637. Billon antoninianus, Hunter IV 21 var. (4th officina); RIC V-2 157; Pink VI-1, pp. 56 - 57; Cohen VI 37; SRCV III 11953 var. (bust), Choice VF, full borders centering, nice portrait, traces of silvering, weight 3.468 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 180o, 6th officina, Rome mint, emission 4, 279 A.D.; obverse IMP PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ADVENTVS AVG (arrival of the Emperor), Probus on horseback prancing left, raising right hand in salute, scepter in left hand, bound captive seated left in front of horse below raised right foreleg, R crescent ζ in exergue; ex Beast Coins; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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Probus marched against the enemies of Rome in Gaul and Germany. Several battles were fought and Probus left 400,000 barbarians dead in the field. After similar success against the Sarmatians, Probus had successfully quelled and terrified to peace the numerous barbarian tribes of the north. He then marched through Syria against the Blemmyes in the neighborhood of Egypt and defeated them with great slaughter. The military character of the emperor was so well established, that the king of Persia sued for peace and attempted to buy Probus' favor with the most splendid presents. Probus was feasting upon the most common food when the ambassadors were introduced. Without even casting his eyes upon them, he said that if their master did not give proper satisfaction to Rome, he would lay Persia as desolate and as naked as the crown of his head. As he spoke the Emperor took off his cap and showed the baldness of his head to the ambassadors. His conditions were gladly accepted by the Persian monarch.
RA89639. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 886, Cohen VI 928, SRCV III 12075, Hunter IV 299 var. (officina), Pink VI-1 p. 45 4, Choice gVF, near full silvering, excellent centering, very light scratches, some reverse die wear, weight 3.437 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 180o, 1st Officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 276 - 282 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS P F AVG, radiate helmeted and cuirassed bust left, eagle-tipped scepter in right over right shoulder, shield in left decorated with horse and rider and two rows of soldiers; reverse VIRTVS PROBI AVG (the valor of Emperor Probus), Probus on horseback left, raising right hand in salute, long scepter in left hand, bound captive seated left in front of horse below raised right foreleg, KAA in exergue; ex Beast Coins; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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The reverse depicts the double temple of Venus and Roma, designed by Hadrian, the largest and most splendid temple in Rome, finished by Antoninus Pius. Damaged by fire in 307, the temple was restored "in magnificent manner" by Maxentius. When Constantius visited Rome fifty years later, the "Temple of the City" was one of the sights he most admired. In 625, Pope Honorius received a special dispensation from Heraclius to strip the gilded bronze roof tiles for the repair of St. Peter's. During a twelve-day visit to Rome in 663, Constans II stripped it of its remaining bronze ornaments. It was damaged by an earthquake in 847. Later a church was built in the ruins.
RA91617. Silvered antoninianus, Hunter IV 32 (also 3rd officina); RIC V-2 185; Cohen VI 530; Pink VI-1, p. 56-57/4; SRCV III -, Choice gVF, excellent centering, traces of silvering, center high points a little weak, weight 4.076 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Rome mint, emission 4, 279 A.D.; obverse IMP PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse ROMAE AETER (eternal Rome), statue of Roma seated facing inside a hexastyle temple, head left, Victory in right hand, long scepter in left hand, R pellet in crescent with horns up Γ in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, ex Munzen und Medaillen (Basil, Switzerland); $100.00 (€88.00)
 




  






OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

BONOIMPCPROBOAVG
BONOIMPCPROBOINVICTAVG
BONOIMPCPROBOINVICTOAVG
BONOIMPCPROBOPAVG
BONOIMPCPROBOPFAVG
BONOIMPCMAVRPROBVSAVG
BONOIMPCMAVRPROBOINVICTAVG
BONOIMPMAVRPROBOINVICAVG
BONOIMPCPROBOPFINVICTAVG
BONOIMPPROBOAVG
BONOIMPPROBOINVICTAVG
BONOETINVICTOPROBOPAVG
BONOETINVICTOPROBOPFAVG
DEOETDOMINOPROBOINVICTOAVG
IMPCMARPROBVSAVG
IMPCMAVRELPROBVSPFAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBOAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSAVGCONSIII
IMPCMAVRPROBVSAVGCONSIIII
IMPCMAVRPROBVSAVGCONSV
IMPCMAVRPROBVSAVGCOSII
IMPCMAVRPROBVSAVGCOSIII
IMPCMAVRPROBVSINVAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSINVICTAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSPAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSPIVSAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSPFAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSPIFEAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSPFINVICTAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSPFINVICTVSAVG
IMPCMAVRPROBVSPFINVICTOAVG
IMPCMPROBVSINVICTAVG
IMPCMPROBVSINVICTPAVG
IMPCPROBVSAVG
IMPCPROBVSAVGCONSII
IMPCPROBVSAVGCONSIII
IMPCPROBVSAVGCONSIIII
IMPCPROBVSAVGCONSV
IMPCPROBVSAVGCOS
IMPCPROBVSAVGCOSII
IMPCPROBVSAVGCOSIII
IMPCPROBVSCONSII
IMPCPROBVSCONSIII
IMPCPROBVSINVAVG
IMPCPROBVSINVICTVSAVG
IMPCPROBVSINVICTVSPAVG
IMPCPROBVSPAVG
IMPCPROBVSPFAVG
IMPCPROBVSPFAVGCONSIII
IMPCPROBVSPFAVGCONSIIII
IMPCPROBVSPIVSFAVG
IMPDEOETDOMINOPROBOAVG
IMPDEOETDOMINOPROBOINVICTOAVG
IMPDEOETDOMINOPROBOPFAVG
IMPMAVRPROBVSPFAVG
IMPPROBOINVICTOAVG
IMPPROBVSAVG
IMPPROBVSAVGCONSIII
IMPPROBVSINVAVG
IMPPROBVSINVICTVSAVG
IMPPROBVSPAVG
IMPPROBVSPFAVG
IMPPROBVSPIVSFAVG
PERPETVOIMPCMAVRPROBOAVG
PERPETVOIMPCPROBOAVG
PERPETVOIMPCPROBOINVICTAVG
PERPETVOIMPCPROBOPAVG
PERPETVOIMPCPROBOPFAVG
PERPETVOIMPPROBOAVG
PERPETVOIMPPROBOPAVG
PERPETVOIMPPROBOINVICTPAVG
PROBVSAVG
PROBVSPAVG
PROBVSPFAVG
SOLCOMESPROBIAVG
SOLCOMISPROBIAVG
VIRTVSPROBIAVG
VIRTVSPROBIINVICTIAVG


REFERENCES|

Alföldi, A. Siscia. Heft V: Verzeichnis der Antoniniane des Kaisers Probus. (Budapest, 1939).
Bastien, P. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon. De la réouverture de l'atelier par Aurélien à la mort de Carin (fin 274 - mi-285). (Wetteren, 1976).
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. II: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 6: Macrianus to Diocletian & Maximianus. (Paris, 1886).
Gnecchi, F. I Medaglioni Romani. (Milan, 1912).
Guillemain, J. Ripostiglio della Venèra, Nuovo Catalogo Illustrato, Vol. III/1: La monetazione di Probo a Roma (276-282 d.C.). (Verona, 2009).
Gysen, P. "Nouvelles données concernant l'atelier de Serdica sous le règne de Probus" in RBN CXLVI (2000).
King, C. Roman Quinarii from the Republic to Diocletian and the Tetrarchy. (Oxford, 2007).
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & P. Webb. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. V, |Part| II, Probus to Amandus. (London, 1933).
Pink, K. "Der Aufbau der Römischen münzprägung in der Kaiserzeit: VI/1. Probus" in Numismatische Zeitschrift 73 (1949).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. IV. Valerian I to Allectus. (Oxford, 1978).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. 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 Friday, October 18, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Probus