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Roman Coins of the 3rd Century Crisis and Decline of the Roman Empire
Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Irenopolis-Neronias, Cilicia
NEW Wandering the world in a panther-drawn chariot, Dionysos rode ahead of the maenads and satyrs, who sang loudly and danced, flushed with wine. They were profusely garlanded with ivy and held the thyrsus, a staff topped with a pine cone, a symbol of the immortality of his believers. Everywhere he went he taught men how to cultivate vines and the mysteries of his cult. Whoever stood in his way and refused to revere him was punished with madness.RP96990. Bronze 7 assaria, Karbach Eirenopolis - (cf. 146-7 same obv. die, diff. rev. type); Leu web auction 12 (2020), 870 (same dies); SNG Levante -; SNG Paris -; SNG PFPS -, aVF/F, green patina with earthen deposits, weight 12.523 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 225o, Irenopolis (Düzici, Turkey) mint, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse ΠOY ΛIK Γ/θ>AΛIHNOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; uncertain round countermark; reverse IPHNOΠOΛE (or similar), Dionysos drinking with his entourage, standing facing, kantharos (wine cup) in his right hand, pedum (shepherd's crook) in his left hand, Pan on right supporting him, Satyr on left standing with outstretched right hand, panther seated left at feet on left, Z (mark of value) right; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 13 (15 Aug 2020), lot 921; the second known; $1000.00 (€920.00)
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; $490.00 (€450.80)
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 (€414.00)
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 (€349.60)
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; $225.00 (€207.00)
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; $200.00 (€184.00)
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; $180.00 (€165.60)
Maximinus I Thrax, 20 March 235 - Late May 238 A.D.
NEW An ironic reverse legend for an emperor murdered by his own troops not long after this coin was minted.RS97465. Silver denarius, RIC IV 7A, BMCRE VI 58, RSC III 7a, Hunter III 6, SRCV III -, Choice gVF, full border centering, excellent portrait, flow lines, edge slightly ragged with small cracks, weight 2.155 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 236 - 238 A.D.; obverse IMP MAXIMINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse FIDES MILITVM (the loyalty of the soldiers), Fides standing sightly left, flanked by a military standard in each hand; ex Savoca Coins auction blue 89 (07 Nov 2020), lot 1310; $170.00 (€156.40)
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, Aug 253 - Sep 268 A.D.; 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; $160.00 (€147.20)
Gordian III and Tranquillina, May 241 - 25 February 244 A.D., Marcianopolis, Moesia Inferior
Homonoia was the goddess (or spirit or personification) of harmony, concord, unanimity, and oneness of mind. She is usually depicted either seated or standing with a cornucopia.RP96914. Bronze pentassarion, H-J Marcianopolis 220.127.116.11 (R6), BMC Thrace p 40, 91; Varbanov I 2046 (R3), AMNG I/I 1188, SNG Cop -, VF, obverse off center, flow lines, central depressions, weight 13.543 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Markianopolis (Devnya, Bulgaria) mint, consular legate Tertullianus, 241 - 244 A.D.; obverse AYT K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC AYΓ CEB, TPANKIΛΛEINA (her name in exergue), confronted busts of Gordian on left, laureate, draped, and cuirassed, and Tranquillina on right, draped and wearing stephane; reverse YΠ TEPTUΛΛIANOY MAPKIANOΠOΛ,I/T/Ω/N (the last four letters in column in right field), Homonoia standing left, patera in right hand held over flaming altar at feet on left, cornucopia in left hand, E (mark of value) in upper left field; rare; $160.00 (€147.20)
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