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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Special Medallic Issue

Sale: Triton X, Lot: 739. Estimate $500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 8 January 2007. 
Sold For $650. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Claudius II Gothicus. AD 268-270. Medallic Antoninianus (6.65 g, 7h). Antioch mint, 7th officina. 1st emission, AD 268-269. IMP C CLAVDIVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind / GENIVS EXERCI, Genius standing facing, head left, holding patera in right hand, cradling cornucopia in left arm. Unpublished, but cf. RIC V 48 and Normanby 661 for the standard-weight antoniniani. Good VF, dark brown surfaces, slight striking weakness in centers. Apparently unique.

This interesting coin is approximately double the standard weight of official antoniniani and appears to be struck in bronze rather than silver-washed billon. Such anomalous issues are known for a number of reigns in the later third century AD, but the examples known are too few, and thus an understanding of their meaning is as yet unknown. According to the traditional chronology of Claudius’ reign, another issue not fully settled today, this issue was struck just prior to his arrival in Rome following his elevation to the purple. For that occasion, a series of aurei, Æ quinarii, denarii, and asses were struck (see H. Huvelin, L’atelier d’Rome sous Claude II le Gothique” in QT XIII [1984]). It is therefore possible that this double-weight coin is a medallic issue also struck to commemorate the emperor’s arrival in Rome. The rarity also suggests that it may have been a trial strike of a potential issue for this event that was subsequently dismissed. Regardless, in comparison to the standard crudeness of the contemporary issues of antoniniani, the obvious care that was taken in the engraving of the dies used for this coin, as well as the strike, also suggest that it was made for some special, important occasion.