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Rare VICT PART – Prophetic for Valerian

247, Lot: 330. Estimate $150.
Sold for $900. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Valerian I. AD 253-260. AR Antoninianus (20mm, 3.20 g, 6h). Viminacium mint. 3rd emission, AD 257-258. Radiate and cuirassed bust right / VICT PART, Victory standing left, holding shield and palm; to left, captive seated left, in attitude of mourning. Cf. RIC 262; MIR 847d; cf. RSC 255. VF, toned. Very rare.

During the joint reign of Valerian and Gallienus, a pragmatic approach to ruling the vast empire was adopted, hopefully abating the difficulties of governing such vast territorites by the previous emperors. The novel mechanism was to split the empire between the two Augustii, with Gallienus ruling in the West while Valerian campaigned (and ruled) in the East. The Persians were the most pervasive threat to the Empire at the beginning of Valerian's reign, and it was obvious that Valerian would have to personally lead an army to combat them. Valerian's army arrived too late to stop the Sasanians under their king, Shahpur I, from devastating the eastern provinces. The Sasanians typically did not occupy, but rather raided, as their forerunners, the Parthians, typically had done. Valerian stayed in the East to mop-up and rebuild while Gallienus faced threats along the Rhine and Danube. During his Danube campaign, Gallienus opened the mint of Viminacium to have a mint located close to the imperial headquarters along the war front. In AD 257, Valerian joined Gallienus there. Not long after, word reached him that the Sasanians were once again invading, and Valerian left for the east in the spring of AD 258. This issue either was made for a token commemoration of the previous campaign, or else (more likely) in anticipation of another, and hopefully final, victory. If the latter, than all was for naught, as Valerian was captured by Shahpur in AD 260, becoming the first Roman emperor to ever be captured by an enemy. News of his capture gave impetus for massive invasions by Alamanni, Franks, and Juthungi across the Rhine and Danube frontiers, and emboldened the Goths' sea raids. These events prevented Gallienus from ever attempting to lead an army east to rescue his father, who died as a captive, after being subjected to years of public humiliations at the hands of Shahpur.