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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VIII, Lot: 1074. Estimate $4000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 10 January 2005. 
Sold For $2300. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CLAUDIUS II GOTHICUS. 268-270 AD. Æ Medallion (23.16 gm, 1h). IMP C CLAVDIVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind / MONETA AVG, the three Monetae standing facing, heads left, each holding scale in their right hands above a stack of coins at their feet, and cornucopiae in their left hands. Gnecchi II pg. 113, 5 and pl. 117, 5; Toynbee pl. 47, 1; Cohen 181. VF, black patina with flecks of red, traces of gilding. Extremely rare; Gnecchi records five examples, all of which are in museums. ($4000)

From the Michael Weller Collection. Ex Classical Numismatic Group 64 (24 September 2003), lot 1192; Münzen und Medaillen 85 (11 April 1997), lot 230.

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.