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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
11100790

“Peace Everywhere”

CNG 111, Lot: 790. Estimate $7500.
Sold for $12600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Probus. AD 276-282. AV “Heavy” Aureus (21mm, 6.30 g, 6h). Rome mint. 6th emission, AD 281-282. IMP PROB VS P F AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust left, holding spear over far shoulder with left hand / V B IQVE PAX, Victory, holding olive branch in right hand and reins in left, driving fast biga right. RIC V 139; Pink VI/1, p. 59, series 6; Calicó 4209; Biaggi –; Hunterian –; Jameson –; Mazzini –. EF, lustrous, edge marks and contouring from prior bezel, some striking imperfections, a few field marks. Struck on a broad flan. Extremely rare.


From the Brexit Collection. Ex Nomisma 57 (18 May 2018), lot 204 (realized €15,000); Baldwin’s 99 (4 May 2016), lot 34; New York Sale XXV (5 January 2011), lot 238.

The reverse of this impressive aureus refers to “Peace Everywhere” (VBIQVE PAX), which Probus had seemingly achieved in AD 281 after years of relentless campaigning. In that year he celebrated a well-deserved triumph in Rome, where this piece was struck. The relative calm reportedly prompted Probus to express hope for such a universal peace that his armies could be disbanded. Word of this remark got back to his soldiers, who were being employed in land reclamation and other public works to keep them from being idle. Early in AD 282, while Probus was en route to the Danube frontier, a rebellion broke out among the disgruntled legionaries that rapidly spread through the ranks. The emperor was trapped in a guard tower near Sirmium and butchered by his own soldiers. So dangerous were the times that even an emperor as successful as Probus could not escape an undeserved death.