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ID: 7921


Numismatica Ars Classica NAC AG

Auction Auction 40 (16.05.2007)
Lot 810  ( «  |  » )
Price 34000 CHF (~27908 USD)

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The Roman Empire The mint is Roma unless otherwise stated

Uranius Antoninus, 253 – 254

No.: 810

Estimate: CHF 30000

d=19 mm
Aureus, Emesa 253-254, AV 5.90 g. L IVL AVR SVLP VRA ANTONINVS Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust r. Rev. VICTO – RIA AVG Victory advancing l., holding wreath and palm. RIC 9. C –. Calicó 3397 (this coin). Biaggi 1427 (this coin). Delbruek, NC 1948, p. 20 and fig. 16 (this coin).

Extremely rare. A nick on obverse in the eye, otherwise good extremely fine
Said to have been found in Beirut.

For a short-lived usurper, Uranius Antoninus produced a diverse and fascinating coinage. It consists of imperial-style aurei, excessively rare denarii struck from aureus dies, and three types of provincial-style coinage – silver ‘tetradrachms,’ billon tetradrachms and large bronzes. His coinage includes some exotic reverse types, and one issue of his provincial bronze is dated to the 565th year of the Seleucid Era, and thus provides an anchor date for his rebellion of 253/254. The aurei and the provincial coinages differ in terms of their inscriptions: his aurei are inscribed in Latin, his provincials in Greek; none of his aurei bear imperial titles whereas all of his provincial-style issues describe him as imperator (AYTOKPATWP) and Augustus (CEBACTOC); and his provincial coins generally provide him with the name Sulpicius Antoninus, whereas his aurei reveal his full name, Lucius Julius Aurelius Sulpicius Uranius Antoninus. Despite the differences in their inscriptions, his aurei and silver ‘tetradrachms’ have much in common. Both are uncharacteristically valuable for the era in terms of their purity and weight, and both employ some extraordinary reverse types. By comparison, his billon tetradrachms and bronzes are of a typical style and fabric, and have the familiar reverse types that one would expect for an ordinary coinage of that region in the mid-3rd Century. Uranius Antoninus’ aurei were struck at a heavy standard for the period – something between 55 and 60 per Roman pound. His Roman contemporaries lagged far behind: Trebonianus Gallus (251-253) struck aurei at 1/90th of a Roman pound, and though Valerian and Gallienus struck their aurei at 1/70th of a pound in their accession year of 253/254, they subsequently dropped it to 1/90th. Uranius Antoninus’ silver coins are a complete enigma, for they are about 90 percent pure in an age where Roman silver rarely exceeded 50 percent purity, and their weight is substantial, averaging about eight grams. The answer seems obvious: they were probably meant to equal two Sasanian drachmas or two billon tetradrachms of Roman Syria (i.e. octadrachms), and if we may apply the traditional 14-to-1 value ratio of gold and silver, his aurei would have been worth approximately ten of his silver coins. Since these gold and silver coins could not be equaled by his competitor regimes – the Roman emperors Valerian and Gallienus, and the Sasanian king Shapur I – they probably belong to the earliest part of his reign, when he would have paid bonuses and tried to provide hope. If so, the billon tetradrachms and bronzes would belong to the latter part of his reign, when his resources had been exhausted. But there is no proof available, and it is always possible that all categories of his coinage were produced simultaneously with different roles in mind.