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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 159. Estimate CHF2000. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009. 
Sold For CHF3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Maximinus I. 235-238. Sestertius (Orichalcum, 20.18 g 12), Rome, 236-237. MAXIMINVS PIVS AVG GERM Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Maximinus to right Rev. SALVS AVGVSTI / S C Salus seated left on throne, feeding, with her right hand, snake rising right from altar to left. BMC 175. Cohen 92. RIC 85. An excellent piece with a splendid portrait, sharply struck, and with a fine greenish brown patina. Extremely fine.

From the collection of Ph. S., ex Bank Leu 18, 5 May 1977, 368.

Unlike earlier generals who became emperor and who came from noble backgrounds, Maximinus came from a peasant family and probably only gained Roman citizenship after 208. He was apparently a very tough soldier and when Severus Alexander sought a peace treaty rather than battle against the fractious Germans, the soldiers mutinied, killing the emperor and his mother and elevating Maximinus to the throne. His reign was spent campaigning against the barbarian tribes to the north but the ever increasing taxes needed to finance the army led to a revolt that was supported by the Senate, which hated Maximinus as an upstart; he and his son Maximus were soon murdered by their own soldiers. Sestertii of Maximinus are relatively common, but ones of this quality are extremely hard to come by. The artistry of the portrait on this coin is exceptional. The sestertii issued in the 230s and 240s were in constant use until the great inflation of the 260s drove them out of circulation and into the melting pot: there are hoards from Gaul, where sestertii lasted a bit longer than they did elsewhere thanks to the issues produced by Postumus, that contain large numbers of nearly worn-flat sestertii of the 2nd century, combined with sestertii, also very worn, of the first half of the 3rd.