Roman Probus aureus up 153% on estimate in classical coin auction

A Roman aureus coin dating to the reign of Probus (AD 276-282) has sold with strong results in Classical Numismatic Group's Triton XVII auction in the US, held on January 6.

Roman Probus Aureus gold coin
'Obverses depicting jugate busts are exceptional in coinage of Imperial Rome'

The exceptional coin (AD 277) displays a bust of Probus, a late third century soldier emperor, next to that of Sol Invictus, the sun god of the Roman Empire. Graded Superb EF, it sold for $190,000, making a 153.3% increase on its $75,000 estimate.

Probus led a successful campaign against the usurpers Proculus, Bonosus and Saturninus to become the leader of Rome. Sol was first adopted by Emperor Aurelian (AD 214 - 275) as the patron god of the military and therefore makes a fitting accompaniment to Probus on the coin's obverse.

The fact that Probus' bust is next to that of Sol Invictus shows that the emperor considered himself an equal to the god. According to the auction house, "obverses depicting jugate busts are exceptional on the coinage of imperial Rome", and this example certainly provides evidence of this.

The reverse shows Securitas, the goddess of security and stability, seated with a sceptre in her right hand.

There are only nine known examples of the coin, including the example at auction. They were struck from one obverse and two reverse dies.

The coin, which was once part of the esteemed Moretti and Pennisi Collections, originates from Naxos, a city in ancient Sicily

Even more impressive results were seen by a Naxos hemidrachm from 415-403 BC, which made a 333.3% increase on its $30,000 estimate to sell for $130,000. The coin is superbly struck, earning a grading of Superb EF.

On the obverse, a bust of the horned river god Assinos faces left, wearing an ivy wreath, while the reverse shows Silenos, the companion of wine god Dionysus, holding a kantharos in one hand and two pipes in the other.

January is the main auction period for world and classical coins, and there are some exciting sales coming up. Be sure to sign up to our free newsletter to ensure you keep up to date with the latest consignments and results.

We also have a superb selection of rare coins for sale.

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