Object Record

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Collection Roman Collection
Catalog Number 2015.7.83
Object Name Coin
Description Roman Imperial coin, (base silver or bronze) Billon antoninianus. Struck during the reign of Publius Licinius Valerianus Augustus, possibly during his joint reign with his son Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus Augustus, 253-260 C.E. The radiate head of Valerian faces right in profile with the inscriptions "IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG" surrounding image. On reverse, the standing figure of Felicitas, the goddess and personification of condition of divinely inspired productivity, blessedness, or happiness, faces left in profile and holds a long caduceus in her right hand and a cornucopia in her left with the inscriptions "FELICITAS AVGG" surrounding image. Obverse and reverse slightly off struck and inscriptions are faded rendering them difficult to decipher.
Date range: 253-260 C.E.

Remarks: Towards the end of the joint reign of Valerian and Gallienus, in circa 258 C.E., the silver content of the antoninianus, already very low, was so drastically reduced that the appearance of the coin was that of mere bronze. It therefore became necessary to give the coins a coating of white metal in order to indicate that they belonged to the silver series. The silver wash was, however, very thin and in most cases it soon became very patchy or entirely disappeared. Coins with the silvery coating still intact are therefore quite scarce and worth somewhat more than previously estimated. Now that the antoninianus had become little more than a bronze coin itself, the issue of sestertii, dupondii and asses almost ceased, although both Valerian and Gallienus had previously issued these denominations in some quality. The reign of Valerian was marked by many frontier wars until in 260 C.E., in the course of an advance through Mesopotamia, the army of Valerian was surrounded and the emperor himself made prisoner. He spent the remainder of his life in miserable captivity in Persia, the date of his death being uncertain. Valerian's coins were minted in Rome, Lugdunum, Milan, Viminacium, and Antioch.

Reference: David Sear, "Roman Coins and Their Values", (Vol III, 2005), #9936, pg 265
Title Valerian I
Date 253-260 CE
Material Base silver/Bronze
Dimensions Dia-0.875 inches
Credit line Gift of Arthur G. and Roswitha Haas
Subjects Roman Empire
Ancient Rome