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Roman Coins of the 3rd Century Crisis and Decline of the Roman Empire
Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Akko-Ptolemais, Phoenicia
Akko was refounded as a Roman colony, colonia Ptolemais, probably in 53 or 54 A.D., the last year of Claudius' reign or the first year of Nero’s. Akko was one of hundreds of cities in the Roman provinces that minted civic coins. In the mid 3rd century cities stopped producing their own coins. The last city coins were struck under Gallienus, and Akko was among the very last cities to strike its own coins.JD96394. Bronze AE 27, BMC Phoenicia p. 138, 50 var. (obv. leg.); Rosenberger 86 var. (same); Kadman Akko 256 var. (same, draped); Sofaer 293 ff. (draped, etc.); SNG Cop -, aF, rough green patina, light earthen deposits, a little off center, weight 13.158 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 0o, Ake Ptolemais (Acre, Israel) mint, 253 - 268 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES LIC GALLIEN[VS AVG], laureate head right; reverse COL P-TOL, portable shrine containing a statue of Zeus Heliopolites, shrine consisting of a frame within two pillars supporting a architrave with hatched decoration, two carrying poles projecting from bottom, figure of deity within standing facing on rock or base, wearing short chiton, double axe in right hand, harpe(?) in left hand; an unpublished variant of a very rare type; from the J. Berlin Caesarea Collection, 1977 surface find at Caesarea Maritima, Israel; $550.00 SALE |PRICE| $495.00
Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia
Romans refounded Tyre as a colony in 64 B.C., when Pompey annexed Phoenicia to the Roman Empire. Tyre flourished under the Rome and remained a Roman port city, even under the Byzantine Empire, until the 7th century when it was taken by Muslim conquest.RP96396. Bronze dichalkon, BMC Phoenicia p. 289, 465 var. (murex shell on right); Rouvier -; Baramki AUB -; SNG Hunt -; SNG Cop -, F, rough dark green patina, earthen deposits, weight 16.345 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, Oct 253 - Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, laureate bust right; reverse COL TVRO METR, river-god (Adonis?) standing facing, head left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, right hand dropping incense on flaming altar at her feet on left, long grounded reed vertical in left hand, murex shell on left; from the J. Berlin Caesarea Collection, 1971 Caesarea Maritima surface find; Coin Archives records only one specimen of the type at auction in the last two decades; extremely rare; $450.00 SALE |PRICE| $400.00
Hostilian, Summer - November 251 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria
Hostilian was the younger son of Trajan Decius. After the latter's death, Hostilian was elevated to Augustus by his father's successor Trebonianus Gallus. He died of plague shortly after. McAlee notes, "Hostilian's Antiochene provincial coins are the rarest of the emperors of the 3rd century."RP95883. Billon tetradrachm, McAlee 1162 (very rare, same obverse die), Prieur 653 (2 spec.), Dura 574; BMC Galatia, p. 226, 627 var. (no officina indicated), VF, porosity, light deposits, weight 10.361 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 0o, 6th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 250 - summer 251 A.D.; obverse Γ OVA OCTIΛ ME KVINTOC KECAP, bareheaded and draped bust right, from the front, VI below; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOVCIAC (holder of Tribunitian power), eagle standing right on palm branch, head right, wings open, wreath in beak, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; only one specimen on Coin Archives; very rare; $380.00 SALE |PRICE| $342.00
Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
NEW Ptolemy Soter integrated Egyptian religion with that of the Hellenic rulers by creating Serapis, a deity that would win the reverence of both groups. This was despite the curses of the Egyptian priests against the gods of previous foreign rulers (i.e Set who was lauded by the Hyksos). Alexander the Great had attempted to use Amun for this purpose, but Amum was more prominent in Upper Egypt, and not as popular in Lower Egypt, where the Greeks had stronger influence. The Greeks had little respect for animal-headed figures, and so an anthropomorphic statue was chosen as the idol, and proclaimed as the equivalent of the highly popular Apis. It was named Aser-hapi (i.e. Osiris-Apis), which became Serapis, and was said to be Osiris in full, rather than just his Ka (life force). Ptolemy's efforts were successful - in time Serapis was held by the Egyptians in the highest reverence above all other deities, and he was adored in Athens and other Greek cities.RX92528. Billon tetradrachm, RPC Online VIII U2541 (10 spec.); Dattari 4875; Milne 3526; Geissen 2709; BMC Alexandria p. 252, 1947; Kampmann 74.23; Emmett 3484.2 (R3), Choice VF, centered on a broad flan, flow lines, areas of light corrosion, weight 12.857 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 244 - 28 Aug 245 A.D.; obverse A K M IOV ΦIΛIΠΠOC EVCEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse radiate and draped bust of Helios right, seen from behind, L - B (year 2) across the field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $250.00 SALE |PRICE| $225.00
Herennius Etruscus, Early 251 - First Half of June 251 A.D.
The reverse legend dedicates this coin to the Prince of Youth, Herennius Etruscus. When Augustus ruled Rome, he was not called emperor or king, he was the Princeps, the "first of men." In the empire, the designated successors to the emperor were named caesar and also given the title Princeps Juventutis, the "first of youths." This is the origin of the English word prince, meaning the son of a monarch.RB95775. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV Decius 171a (R), Cohen V 28, Banti 6, Hunter III 22, SRCV III 9534, aVF/F, excellent portrait, attractive mottled patina, porosity, rough areas, squared flan, reverse legend mostly obscure or off flan, weight 18.297 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, as caesar, 250 - early 251 A.D.; obverse Q HER ETR MES DECIVS NOB C, bare-headed, draped bust right, from behind; reverse PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS (to the Prince of Youth), Herennius standing left in military dress, rod downward in right, transverse spear in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; rare; $250.00 SALE |PRICE| $225.00
17 Nice Roman Antoniniani of Valerian I, 253 - 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.LT96177. Silver or billon Lot, Lot of 11 antoniniani, 18.9mm - 22.6mm, F or better, some silver (debased), some silvered, some billon, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; the actual coins in the photograph, no tags or flips, as-is, no returns; $250.00 SALE |PRICE| $225.00
Philip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria
Zeugma was founded by Seleucus I Nicator who almost certainly named the city Seleucia after himself. In 64 B.C. the city was conquered by Rome and renamed Zeugma, meaning "bridge of boats." On the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China, Zeugma had a pontoon bridge across the Euphrates, which was the long time border with the Persian Empire. The Legio IV Scythica was camped in Zeugma. The legion and the trade station brought great wealth to Zeugma until, in 256, Zeugma was fully destroyed by the Sassanid king, Shapur I. An earthquake then buried the city beneath rubble. The city never regained its earlier prosperity and, after Arab raids in the 5th and 6th centuries, it was abandoned again.SL89808. Bronze AE 27, Butcher 31c; SNG Cop 35; BMC Galatia p. 128, 35; SGICV 4142, NGC Ch VF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (4094544-007), weight 15.63 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 0o, Zeugma (Belkis, Turkey) mint, 247 - 249 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ZEYΓMATEΩN, tetrastyle temple with peribolos enclosing the sacred grove of trees, below Capricorn right; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins, NGC| Lookup; $225.00 SALE |PRICE| $203.00
Volusian, c. November 251 - July or August 253 A.D.
Adventus reverse types commemorate the emperor's arrival at Rome, either at the commencement of his reign or on his return from a distance. They may also refer to his arrival in some other city or province of the empire. At their accession, emperors were not conveyed in a chariot nor in any other vehicle, but went on horseback or on foot when they made their first public entry into the capital of the Roman world.RS93314. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 224(a) (R), RSC IV 2b, SRCV III 9738, Hunter III - (p. cviii), VF, attractive style, well centered, darkened bronze and turquoise encrustations, flan cracks, weight 2.800 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Antioch mint, 252 A.D.; obverse IMP C V AF GAL VOLVSIANO AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind, three pellets below; reverse ADVENTVS AVG (arrival of the Emperor), Trebonianus Gallus on horseback left, raising right hand in salute, long scepter in left hand, paludamentum flying behind, horse's right foreleg raised; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $220.00 SALE |PRICE| $198.00
Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Antiocheia, Pisidia
Gordian III was the grandson of Gordian I and nephew of Gordian II. Made Caesar before the murders of Balbinus and Pupienus, he succeeded them. Little is known of his reign. He attacked Persia, gaining Mesopotamia. He died shortly after, through illness or plot of his Praetorian prefect and successor, Philip I.RP92552. Bronze AE 32, Krzyzanowska I/2; SNG Cop 72; SNGvA 8577; SNG Righetti 1346; BMC Lycia p. 189, 78; McClean 8959; Lindgren III 683; SNG BnF - (all same dies), F, toned copper surfaces, high points flatly struck, die damage on obverse at 2:00, central depressions, weight 25.090 g, maximum diameter 32.1 mm, die axis 210o, Antioch in Pisidia (Yalvac, Turkey) mint, 238 - 244 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse ANTIOCHIA COLONIA CAESARIA, Aphrodite(?) seated right on throne, left hand on prow of galley, palm frond in right hand, Eros running left at foot, S R (Senatus Romanus) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection, large 25 gram, 32 mm bronze; rare; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00
Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Ephesos, Ionia
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.RP95365. Bronze AE 25, Karwiese 1131(a1) (O13/R95); SNG Munchen 260; SNG Hunterian XII 1749; SNG Cop 519; SNGvA 7889; SNG Tub -; BMC Ionia -, gVF, well centered on a broad flan, obverse die wear and minor die breaks, weight 6.759 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, obverse AYT K ΠO ΛIKI ΓAΛΛIHNOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse EΦECIΩN A D• NE•Ω•KOPΩN, agonistic urn (prize crown) containing palm fronds, band across the crown is marked EΦECIAI; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00
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