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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 72, Lot: 1154. Estimate $1500. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 14 June 2006. 
Sold For $1250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

BITHYNIA, Nicomedia. Valerian I, with Gallienus and Valerian II Caesar. AD 253-260. Æ 26mm (10.16 g). Struck AD 256-258. Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Valerian I right, seen from behind, and radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Gallienus left, seen from behind, vis-à-vis; between, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Valerian II right, seen from behind / Three neocorate temples situated around central altar with serpent. RG 407; SNG Copenhagen -; SNG von Aulock 860 (same dies). Good VF, hard bright green patina.

Ex Triton VII (13-14 January 2004), lot 747.

The acclamation of Valerian II as Caesar in AD 256 provided the Empire with a third ruler in addition to the already existent Augusti, Valerian’s father, Gallienus, and grandfather, Valerian I. To commemorate the occasion, Nicomedia produced special coinage with the theme of “three”: three rulers on the obverse, and three civic symbols on the reverse. In both cases the obverses show the confronted busts of the co-emperors Valerian I and Gallienus, with the young Caesar Valerian II between them. The arrangement was carefully considered: Valerian I, as senior emperor, occupied the position of honor at the left; both he and Gallienus as Augusti are radiate, while the young Caesar remained bare-headed. The reverse follows a similar pattern of "three": three temples at Nicomedia. Provincial cities competed aggressively with each other to gain special permission from Rome to build temples dedicated to the emperor; upon earning these honors the cities attained neocorate status. The most famous and prosperous cities accumulated this honor two or more times. Nicomedia was especially fortunate, since it attained such status three times.