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Research Coins: Printed Auction

Sale: Triton XI, Lot: 1062. Estimate $2000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 7 January 2008. 
Sold For $2200. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

VISIGOTHS, Gaul. Uncertain king. 417-507. AV Solidus (4.36 g, 12h). In the name of Valentinian III. Uncertain mint in Gaul. Struck circa 425-430. D И PLΛ VΛLENTINIΛVS P F ΛVC, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right / VICTOR-IΛ ΛVCCC, Valentinian standing right, left foot on bound captive, holding labarum in right hand, Victory set on globe in left; R-V//COMOB. Depeyrot, Solidi -; Reinhart, Münzen -; MEC 1, -; cf. RIC X 3711; Depeyrot -; Hunter, Byzantine -. VF, lightly toned. Charming naive style. Very rare.

The Visigoths were one of many Germanic tribes invaded the Roman Empire in the fourth century AD. Their early period is most notable for their defeat of the emperor Valens at Adrianople in AD 378 and their sacking of Rome under Alaric in AD 410. Alaric’s successor, Athaulf, led the Visigoths into Gaul and Spain, where they subsequently fought against the Vandals and Suevi for the emperor Honorius. Honorius rewarded them, in AD 417, with his permission to settle as foederati in western Aquitaine. Over the following half-century, the Visigoths rendered relatively faithful service for the empire, until their king Euric conquered much of Gaul and established an independent kingdom. This kingdom was quickly squashed in AD 507 by the Franks under Clovis, and the center of Visigothic power moved to Spain, where it flourished and took hold. The majority of the later kings were relatively weak and ineffectual. A few exceptions were the following: Leovigild, an outstanding military and political leader whose long reign (AD 568-586) ushered in the royal line that continued until the end; Reccared, who officially abandoned Arianism for Catholicism; and Sisebut and Swinthila, whose efforts led to the final conquest of Byzantine possessions in Spain. By AD 711, the decentralizing of power in Visigothic Spain had left the kingdom weak in the face of the invading Arabs, who defeated Roderick, the last Visigothic king. Another Visigothic leader, Achila II, continued to rule in Septimania, but he was also killed by the Arabs in AD 714.