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Research Coins: Printed Auction


Impressive Claudius Gothicus Medallion

Sale: Triton XI, Lot: 981. Estimate $25000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 7 January 2008. 
Sold For $18750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Claudius II Gothicus. AD 268-270. Æ Medallion (32.27 g, 6h). Rome mint. IMP CAES CLAVDIVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind / MONETA AVG, the three Monetae standing facing, heads left, each holding cornucopia in their left hand, scale in their right above a stack of coins at their feet. Gnecchi II 3, pl. CXVII, 2 (same obv. die); Grueber 237; Froehner p. 234; Tocci 108, pl. LII, 73 (same rev. die); Dressel -; Toynbee pl. XLVII, 1 (same rev. die). Good VF, brown patina, traces of original gilding, light smoothing in fields. Very rare.

The reverse of this medallion depicts the tres Monetae, female personifications of the three metals of gold, silver, and bronze, and commemorates the attempt of Claudius II to reform Roman currency. When Claudius II took the throne on the death of Gallienus in 268 AD, the Roman Empire had reached its lowest point. In addition to the numerous internal and external rebellions, the economy was in a state of near-collapse. While gold aurei still continued to be struck in order to pay the army, silver denarii and antoniniani, as well as the earlier large bronze denominations, had disappeared completely. In their place, near-billon antoniniani had become the medium of daily exchange. These too, however, were being reduced in size and silver content. Claudius II seems to have planned a reform of the currency, and he also began minting a wide variety of reverse types which emphasized traditional divine protection and renewal of Roman power. Unfortunately, the early death of Claudius delayed the anticipated monetary reformation, which his successor, Aurelian, would carry through.