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Roman Coins of the 3rd Century Crisis and Decline of the Roman Empire
Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D.
Providentia is the personification of the ability to foresee and to make provision for the future. This ability was considered essential for the emperor and providentia was among the embodiments of virtues that were part of the imperial cult. Cicero said that providentia, memoria (memory) and intellegentia (understanding) are the three main components of prudentia, the knowledge what is good or bad or neither. SH94301. Gold aureus, RIC IV 23 (R), Calicó 3213, Cohen IV 195, SRCV III 8579, Hunter - (p. lxxxiii), gVF, well centered and struck, flow lines, bumps, light scrape on obverse, weight 4.732 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Rome mint, special emission, early 239 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P II COS P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for two years, consul, father of the country), Providentia standing left, globe in right hand, transverse scepter in left; scarce; $4700.00 (€4136.00)
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)
Trajan Decius, July 249 - First Half of June 251 A.D.
The rare double sestertius denomination, distinguished by its radiate crown, was introduced with this issue. The denomination was also issued by Gallienus and especially by Postumus.
Trajan Decius, a general under Philip I, was sent to crush the revolt of Pacatian but was forced by his troops to declare himself emperor. He defeated Philip in a great battle at Verona. Decius spent the rest of his short reign combating barbarians. In June 251, Trajan Decius and his son Herennius Etruscus became the first Roman emperors to die in battle against a foreign enemy. SH94035. Orichalcum double sestertius, RIC IV 115(a) (R), Hunter III 42, Cohen V 39, SRCV III 9395, NGC XF, strike 5/5, surface 2/5, removed from NGC holder, flaws on obverse, edge crack, weight 34.843 g, maximum diameter 35.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 249 - 251 A.D.; obverse IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder (as normal for similar busts, not described in references except in Hunter); reverse FELICITAS SAECVLI (era of good fortune), Felicitas standing slightly left, head left, grounded long caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking at center; ex Pegasi sale 154 (21 Aug 2018), lot 425 ($2950 on tag, $2500 estimate, unsold), big 35 mm DOUBLE Sestertius!; rare; $1400.00 (€1232.00)
Balbinus, 22 April - 29 July 238 A.D.
Providentia is the personification of the ability to foresee and make provision. She was among the embodiments of virtues that were part of the Imperial cult of ancient Rome. Providentia apparently did not favor Balbinus. If he had a little foresight, he would have modified the chain of events that led to his murder after a reign of only 99 days.SH92614. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 19, BMCRE VI 34, Cohen V 24 (12 fr.), Hunter III 19, SRCV III 8499, Choice gVF, well centered, excellent portrait, squared flan as typical for the period, some light corrosion, tiny edge crack, weight 21.840 g, maximum diameter 31.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES D CAEL BALBINVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse PROVIDENTIA DEORVM (to the foresight of the gods), Providentia standing half left, head left, wand downward over globe at feet in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection, ex H. Donald Collection; scarce; $1200.00 (€1056.00)
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; $1170.00 (€1029.60)
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 (previously rejected by NGC for "altered surfaces", 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; $225.00 (€198.00)
Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Cotiaeum, Phrygia
Asklepios is the Greek god of medicine. Hygieia is the goddess of health and Askelpois' daughter. Telesphoros is Asklepios' assistant. Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one snake bringing another snake healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing.RP91190. Bronze tetrassarion, SNG München 333; SNGvA 3791; SNG Hunterian 2048; BMC Phrygia p. 177, 95 var. (exergue in two lines...Ω/N); SNG Cop -; SNG Righetti -, Choice VF, well centered, dark patina, highest points flatly struck, small edge split, central depressions, weight 6.308 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 180o, Cotiaeum (Kutahya, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AYT K Π ΛIK OYAΛEPIANON, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse EΠI Π AI ∆HMHTPIANOY IΠΠ (P. Ailios Demetrios, archon and hipparchos), Hygieia, on left, standing right, feeding serpent in right hand from patera in left hand; Asklepios, on right, standing facing, head left, leaning with right hand on serpent-entwined staff; Telesphoros between them, standing facing, ΛP/X in two lines above center, KOTIAEΩN in exergue; $200.00 (€176.00)
Volusian, c. November 251 - July or August 253 A.D.
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.SH92354. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV Volusian 256a, Cohen V 74, Hunter III 32, SRCV III -, VF, nice portrait, obverse centered on a tight flan, scratches and bumps, porosity, weight 20.423 g, maximum diameter 29.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 251 - 253 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE C VIB VOLVSIANO AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PAX AVGG (the peace of the two emperors), Pax standing left, raising olive branch in right hand, transverse scepter in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across center; $200.00 (€176.00)
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