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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 5, Lot: 252. Estimate CHF3000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 24 October 2011. 
Sold For CHF4500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Postumus. Romano-Gallic Emperor, AD 260-269. Double-sestertius (Bronze, 32mm, 23.24 g 5), Colonia (Cologne), 261. IMP C M CASS LAT POSTVMVS P F AVG Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust of Postumus to right. Rev. LAETITIA AVG Small naval vessel, a navis lusoria, sailing to right. Bastien, Postume 87 (Colonia). Cohen 177. RIC 14 (Lugdunum). Nicely struck, an unusually clear example with a fine greyish-green patina. . Minoir scrape on the obverse, otherwise, good very fine.

Ex Künker 124, 16 March 2007, 9415.

The reverse of this well-preserved and well struck bronze of Postumus shows a small ship designed for military use on the rivers of the Roman Empire, especially on the Rhine and its tributaries. They required a staff consisting of at least 30 rower-marines, a steersman and two sailors to manage the sail; highly maneuverable and quite fast, they were able to travel up to 100 km in a day. Well-known from their use in the 4th century, especially under Julian, after the great German invasion of c. 405/407 the fleet was progressively abandoned. In an amazing discovery while preparing the foundations for a new hotel in Mainz, five of these ships were found sunk in the mud of the riverbank, where they had rested since their abandonment in the late 4th or early 5th century. Mainz, Mogontiacum had been the base of the Roman Classis Germanica since 13/12 BC and was an important part of the Roman defenses of Gaul. It was sacked in 368 and later in 405/407, and was last used as a Roman base by Valentinian III, after which it became a Frankish city. The ship on the reverse of this coin is surprisingly similar to those found in Mainz, save for the obvious shortening to allow it to appear on the coin.