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Roman Coins of the 3rd Century Crisis and Decline of the Roman Empire
Balbinus, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.
Balbinus was elected along with Pupienus to end the reign of the brutal Maximinus. A military stalemate ensued, until Maximinus was murdered by his own troops. The population and the Praetorian guard held little respect for the two ex-senators, however, and they were murdered after a reign of only 99 days.SH92723. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 11; BMCRE VI 71; RSC III 6, Hunter III 5, SRCV III 8485, Choice EF, superb portrait, superb strike with full boarders centering on a broad flan, dark old cabinet toning, flow lines, edge slightly ragged as expected for the type, weight 4.423 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES D CAEL BALBINVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FIDES MVTVA AVGG, clasped hands; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 59 (11 Jul 2019), lot 907; ex CNG, Classical Numismatic Review XLIII.2 (Aug 2018), no. 482057; Aureo & Calico auction 241 (8 Feb 2012), lot 355; ex Imagines Imperatorum Collection; $1600.00 (€1408.00)
Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D., Alexandria Troas, Troas
The representation of the decurions of Alexandria depicted on the reverse of this type is unique within the Roman provincial series. The decurions were members of municipal senates responsible for procuring funds for new public works, festivities and games, as well as for welfare networks. Their fiscal responsibilities also extended to the collecting of imperial taxes, for which they were expected to cover any shortfalls.RP87204. Bronze AE 22, RPC IX 432 (12 spec.); Bellinger A409; SNG Çanakkale 376; BMC Troas p. 27, 145; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, aVF, dark green patina, reverse slightly off center, tiny encrustations, some legend weak, edge cracks, weight 4.586 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria Troas (Eski Stambul, Turkey) mint, Jun/Jul 251 - Jul/Aug 253 A.D.; obverse IMP C VIBI TRIBO GALLVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse The curia decurionum of Alexandria in session: nine men wearing togas seated in a semicircle, two outer men seated on curule chairs, two in center holding short staffs, AVG above, two steps below, ALEXAND on upper step, decorative pattern on lower step, TROADA in exergue; ex Roma Numismatics, e-sale 40 (28 Oct 2017), lot 429; very rare; $1300.00 (€1144.00)
Mariniana, Died c. 253 A.D., Wife of Valerian I
Egnatia Mariniana was the wife of Emperor Valerian and mother of Gallienus. She died shortly before or shortly after her husband's accession to the throne.RB91454. Bronze sestertius, Göbl MIR 213d, RIC V-1 11 (R2), Hunter IV 6, Cohen V 10, SRCV III 10076, F, nice portrait and peacock, somewhat rectangular flan, edge cracks, weight 13.534 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, posthumous, c. 256 A.D.; obverse DIVAE MARINIANAE, draped bust right, wearing veil and stephane; reverse CONSECRATIO, peacock facing in splendor, looking right, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking legs; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, ex Pegasi Coins, ex George M. Beach (Owosso, MI); rare; $380.00 (€334.40)
Pupienus, 22 April - 29 July 238 A.D.
A.D. 238 was the year of six emperors. Maximinus Thrax was killed (along with his son Maximus Caesar) when his soldiers mutinied. Gordian II was killed in battle. Gordian I hanged himself. Pupienus was lynched by his bodyguard. Balbinus was beaten and dragged naked through the streets of Rome before being killed by the Praetorians. Gordian III lived to become sole emperor.SH91233. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV-1 14 (S), Cohen V 15, BMCRE VI 10, Hunter III 16, SRCV III 8531, VF/F, black patina, scratches, reverse rough, weight 21.051 g, maximum diameter 30.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M CLOD PVPIENVS AVG, Laureate and draped bust right; reverse LIBERALITAS AVGVSTORVM (the generosity of the Emperor), Liberalitas standing half-left, coin counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C divided across lower half of the field; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 76 (7 Apr 2019), part of lot 942; scarce; $360.00 (€316.80)
Trajan Decius, July 249 - First Half of June 251 A.D.
In 249, Trajan Decius put down a revolt in Moesia and Pannonia. After his legionaries proclaimed him emperor, he marched them to Verona, where he defeated and killed Philip the Arab.RB92355. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 124a, Hunter III 54, Cohen V 87, SRCV III 9407, EF, superb portrait, brown tone, centered on a tight flan, reverse double struck, edge split, weight 11.916 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jul 249 - Jun or Jul 251 A.D.; obverse IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, laureate, cuirassed, slight drapery, bust right; reverse PANNONIAE, the two Pannoniae standing facing, looking away from each other, each holding a standard, S - C across fields; $300.00 (€264.00)
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; $250.00 (€220.00)
Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D.
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.RB92356. Orichalcum sestertius, Göbl MIR 22g, RIC V-1 160, SRCV III 10012, Cohen V 70, Hunter IV - (p. xxxiv), VF, excellent portrait, centered on a tight flan, smoothing, weight 16.655 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 1st issue, Oct 253 - 254 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FIDES MILITVM (the loyalty of the soldiers), Fides standing facing, head left, flanked by two standards, one in each hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; $250.00 (€220.00)
Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.
In 263 A.D., King Odenathus of Palmyra declared himself ruler of the area west of the River Euphrates and was given the title Dux Orientalis by Emperor Gallienus.RB86184. Orichalcum sestertius, Göbl MIR 92h, RIC V J209, Cohen V 132, Hunter IV J24 corr. (described with aegis), SRCV III 10467, aVF, tight flan, dark green patina with light earthen deposits, some corrosion, a few blue-green spots, tiny edge cracks, weight 16.198 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 253 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse CONCORDIA EXERCIT (harmony with the army), Concord standing left holding patera and double cornucopia, S C (senatus consulto) at sides low across field; the lighter blue-green spots are hard, not powdery, and do NOT appear to be active corrosion; $200.00 (€176.00)
Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.
During Philip's reign the 1000th anniversary of Rome (248 A.D.) was celebrated, and magnificent games were held. This coin was issued as part of that celebration and the reverse undoubted depicts one of the animal types displayed and hunted in the Colosseum during the games.RB87835. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 160a; Cohen V 183, Hunter III 107, SRCV III 9012, VF, nice portrait, well centered, some bumps and scratches, a little rough and porous, edge cracks, traces of shellac(?), weight 16.917 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped (and cuirassed?) bust right, from behind; reverse SAECVLARES AVGG (Secular games [provided by] the Emperors), stag standing right, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $200.00 (€176.00)
Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Side, Pamphylia
A thyrsos and a torch on another Side reverse mentioning the Agon Mystikos (BMC 118) indicates the Sidetan Mystikos was dedicated to Dionysos and Demeter, and perhaps also to the Roman emperor (see J. Nollé: Der Agon Mystikos in Side, in: Chiron 16 (1986), pp. 204-206). As Dionysos is, among other roles, a god of the arts, it was likely an artistic rather than athletic competition. Nollé dated the conferment of the Sidetan Agon Mystikos to the time of Hadrian, but as the first reference to it comes from coins of Gallienus (such this coin). More likely, the Agon was founded in the mid 3rd century, perhaps in fact under Gallienus, whose interest in mystery cults is well attested and who was famously initiated into the Eleusian Mysteries himself (like Hadrian!).RP88915. Bronze AE 32, SNG PfPs -, SNG BnF -, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, BMC Lycia -, Lindgren -; ISEGRIM -; et al. -; c/m: Howgego 805 (169 pcs, applied 253 - 268 A.D.), aF, legends weak, a little off center, rough and porous, weight 17.252 g, maximum diameter 32.2 mm, die axis 30o, Side (near Selimiye, Antalya Province, Turkey) mint, joint reign, Aug 253 - 260 A.D.; obverse AYT KAI ΠOY ΛI ΓAΛΛIHNOC CE, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; countermark on right: E (5 assaria) in 7.5mm round punch obliterating IA (prior mark of value); reverse IEPA ΠVΘIAE IEPOC MYCTIKOC (holy Pythian [games], sacred, mystical), two prize urns containing palms, set on an agonistic table, table edge inscribed CI∆HW, uncertain object(s) or inscription below table top and in exergue (if any); we could not find a single specimen of this type online or in our many references - this is the only specimen of this type known to FORVM; extremely rare; $200.00 (€176.00)
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