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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Engraver’s Error - Wrong Name

Sale: CNG 75, Lot: 1122. Estimate $300. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 23 May 2007. 
Sold For $500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Aurelian, with Vaballathus. AD 270-275. Antoninianus (2.62 g, 6h). Antioch mint, 3rd officina. 1st emission, AD 270-272. IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and draped bust of Aurelian right; G below / IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Vaballathus right. RIC V 381 var. (correct legends); BN 1244-5 var. (same). VF. Very rare mint error.

During the reign of Vaballathus and Zenobia, the Antioch mint was firmly under their control. During the first emission, from AD 270-272, Aurelian was still featured on the coins, but the second emission, struck during their usurpation from March-May AD 272, dropped the emperor from the coinage. It is possible that this ‘error’ coin was struck just after their revolt was quashed, when an exigency resulted in the old dies from the first emission being used, but with Aurelian’s name engraved over Vaballathus. The coin displays no evidence of re-engraving, though, so it is more likely that it was simply an engraver’s error, albeit egregious.