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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Exceptional High Relief Portrait

CNG 93, Lot: 1234. Estimate $30000.
Sold for $42500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Probus. AD 276-282. Æ Medallion (36mm, 26.54 g, 12h). Rome mint. Struck AD 281-282. IMP C PROB VS PF AVG, laureate bust left, wearing slight drapery and cuirass with aegis, holding globus surmounted by Victory standing right, holding wreath / MONETA A VG, the Tres Monetae standing left, each holding scales above pile of coins in right hand and cornucopia in left. Gnecchi II, p. 118, 26; Pink VI/1, p. 47; Cohen 379. Superb EF/VF, encrustation, a good bit of silvering remaining. Artistic portrait in high relief. Very rare.

Ex Property of Princeton Economics acquired by Martin Armstrong (Classical Numismatic Group Electronic Auction 271, 11 January 2012), lot 89 (sold for hammer $65,000, but not paid); Numismatica Ars Classica 15 (18 May 1999), lot 451.

The “Tres Monetae” medallions of Probus must have been struck in substantial numbers, although they are quite rare today. Like his coinage they feature an impressive array of bust types, albeit produced with the highest artistry. The portrait on the current piece is exceptional, with the details of the protruding upper forehead, deep set eyes, sunken cheeks, and weak jaw of a man in his fifties doing nothing to impede the success of what was truly the goal of the portrait – to show the embodiment of imperium.