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CNG Feature Auction 126

Lot nuber 930

Valentinian III. AD 425-455. AV Solidus (21mm, 4.45 g, 7h). Imperial Marriage issue. Thessalonica mint. Struck Winter AD 437-438. EF.

CNG Feature Auction 126
Lot: 930.
 Estimated: $ 30 000

The Family of Constantine Collection, Coin-in-Hand Video, Gold

Sold For $ 52 500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

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Valentinian III. AD 425-455. AV Solidus (21mm, 4.45 g, 7h). Imperial Marriage issue. Thessalonica mint. Struck Winter AD 437-438. Pearl-diademed, helmeted, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Theodosius II standing facing, clasping hands together with Valentinian III standing facing to left and Licinia Eudoxia standing facing to right; all three nimbate and wearing imperial regalia; COMOB. RIC X –; Depeyrot –; Biaggi –; Tkalec (29 February 2000), lot 452 = Triton V, 2227 = Triton VII, lot 1061; Tkalec (19 February 2001), lot 432 (this coin). Lightly toned with some luster. EF. Extremely rare, one of only six known, this coin having been the second known specimen.

From the Family of Constantine Collection, assembled with guidance by Roland Michel, Geneva. Ex Tkalec (19 February 2001), lot 432.

After Galla Placidia's falling out with Honorius, the young Valentinian accompanied his mother and sister to exile at the court of his cousin, Theodosius II, at Constantinople. The eastern attitude toward Valentinian changed in 423 when the usurper Johannes seized power in the west. Valentinian was first reaffirmed as Nobilissimus in 423/424, named Caesar in 424, and, in the same year, betrothed to his cousin Licinia Eudoxia, the daughter of Theodosius II. In 425 he was proclaimed Augustus at Rome, and in 437 he returned to Constantinople for his marriage. The wedding, on 29 October, was a great state occasion. Flavius Merobaudes, the 5th century poet and rhetorician and the official laureate of Valentinian III and Aëtius, describes that in the palace at Ravenna a series of mosaic pictures, now lost, depicted the occasion and the sequence of events that had led up to it. The mosaics showed the "exile" of Valentinian at Constantinople with Galla Placidia, his appeal to Theodosius, his restoration by the eastern government, and his betrothal to Licinia Eudoxia. They further showed the baby daughter of the young couple, born probably in 438 and baptized in infancy. Dominating the composition, however, in the middle of the ceiling, was the Emperor Theodosius and his wife Eudocia, "like the bright stars of the heavens on high." It left no doubt which was the senior court, pre-eminent in power and authority. On their journey back to Rome, the newly-married imperial couple spent the winter of AD 437/8 in Thessalonica, during which time this extremely rare issue of solidi was struck.

Six specimens of this extremely rare issue are known, including the current example, all from the same pair of dies:

1) Numismatica Ars Classica 100 (29 May 2017), lot 724 = Künker 277 (21 June 2016), lot 167 = Numismatica Genevensis SA V (2 December 2008), lot 332 = Glenn Woods Collection (Triton VII, 13 January 2004), lot 1061 = Triton V (15 January 2002), lot 2227 = Berk 116 (17 October 2000), lot 55 = Tkalec (29 February 2000), lot 452.

2) Tkalec (19 February 2001), lot 432 (this coin).

3) J.J. Grano Collection (Numismatica Genevensis SA VIII, 24 November 2014), lot 204 = Numismatica Genevensis SA II (18 November 2002), lot 151.

4) Triton VI (14 January 2003), lot 1160.

5) Numismatica Ars Classica 34 (24 November 2006), lot 114 = Gemini I (11 January 2005), lot 485.

6) Triton XVIII (6 January 2015), lot 1273.

The final winners of all CNG Feature Auction 126 lots will be determined during the live online sale that will be held on 28-29 May 2024. This lot is in Session Three, which will begin 29 May at 9 AM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 22.5% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 25% for all others.

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