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CNG Feature Auction 114

Lot nuber 977

Gallienus. AD 253-268. AR Denarius (21.5mm, 2.68 g, 11h). Rome mint. 8th emission, circa AD 264-265.


CNG Feature Auction 114
Lot: 977.
 Estimated: $ 20 000

360 Photo, Roman Imperial, Silver

Sold For $ 27 500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

Gallienus. AD 253-268. AR Denarius (21.5mm, 2.68 g, 11h). Rome mint. 8th emission, circa AD 264-265. GALLIENVS P F A VG, bust left, wearing crested Corinthian helmet and cuirass decorated with an aegis on the breast, balteus across chest, holding in right hand a spear over his far shoulder, shield decorated with aegis on left arm / P M T P XIII C VI P P (sic), Mars, holding transverse spear in right hand and round shield in left, descending right through the air to Rhea Silvia, who is reclining, naked to waist, asleep on the ground, hands behind her head. Cf. MIR 36, 945-6 for reverse type with alternate legends; otherwise unpublished. Full silvering, medium cabinet tone, traces of deposits. Choice EF. Struck in high relief with artistic dies. Unique.

Ex Palombo 17 (20 October 2018), lot 101.

This denarius, seemingly unique, can be dated to AD 264-265 because of the reverse legend, "Tribunicia Potestate tertium decimum Consul sextum", as it is in AD 264 that Gallienus became Consul for the sixth time (with Saturninus). Roma XIII, lot 890, and XIV, lot 796, and Triton XXI, lot 832 have offered for sale three coins that closely resemble this example, but with a different reverse legend: instead of P M T P XIII C VI P P (on this coin), they bear the legend P M TR P XV C VII P P. The reverse type of this coin has already been studied by Jean-Marc Doyen (Recherches sur la chronologie et la politique monétaire des empereurs Valérien et Gallien, vol. 2a: Etude des émissions monétaires de Milan, PhD thesis, Louvain-la-Neuve 1989, pp. 101-103, available online), and it is copied from a rare series of Antoninus Pius, struck in AD 140 (as ref. RIC III 694a and aureus ref. Calicó 1689) which celebrated with some advance the 900th birthday of Rome. It was first used by Gallienus in 260, with the legend TRIB POT VIII COS III and a laureate bust left, on a coin struck in Mediolanum (Milan) (ref. MIR 36, 945gg = Doyen 49), and again with the legend TRIB POT COS IIII (MIR 36, 946gg = Doyen 71). It shows Mars descending toward Rhea Silvia, daughter of King Numitor and a Vestal virgin who is depicted as sleeping in the forest, just before raping her. This mythological episode (told by Ovid, Fast. III.V.11 and Livy, Ab Urbe Condita I) is of the utmost importance for the story of Rome, as the intercourse led to the conception of the twins Romulus and Remus, legendary founders of Rome. The same iconography can be found on wall paintings from Pompeii and in the baths of Titus (see LIMC II/1 pp. 459-51 and II/2 pls 415-6), but also on mosaics, reliefs, silverware, and gems.

The final winners of all CNG Feature Auction 114 lots will be determined during the live online sale that will be held on 13-14 May 2020. This lot is in Session 3, which begins 14 May 2020 at 9 AM ET.

UPDATE: As the CNG staff and many of our clients remain under social distancing and other restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CNG 114 will be held as an internet only auction. The sale will take place as scheduled on 13-14 May 2020.

Winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 22.50% for all others.

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