Fifth-known example estimated to realize $3,127 U.S.
The fifth known example of a rare coin of Roman emperor Probus is
offered in Numismatik Lanz’s Dec. 8 auction.
The sale, the firm’s 159th, includes other more valuable rarities,
but the circa 277 to 278 A.D. antonianus of Probus has a special
history. The design type was reported in the 19th century but no
examples were known until at least World War II, according to the firm.
The coin shows a half-length portrait of Probus, crowned, on the
obverse, and the muse Calliope, playing a lyre, on the reverse.
The coin may have been issued to celebrate Probus’ assumption of the
consulship following the installation of the new imperial court at
Siscia. After the reigning Aurelian was murdered, Probus was
proclaimed emperor by his troops. On his way to Rome, he defeated
Goths and Germans, strengthening his northern boundary. Siscia would
have been a central base for these operations. Calliope would have
presided over the panegyric (speech of praise) that accompanied the
installation, and these coins could have been distributed to those in
attendance, explaining the rarity today.
Two examples are in institutional collections, the Museo Nazionale
to Rome and the University of Belgrade, with a third sold by
Numismatik Lanz in 2000 and a fourth sold by Classical Numismatic
Group in 2006. The CNG example, reported as Extremely Fine by CNG,
realized $4,600, including the 15 percent buyer’s fee.
This fifth example, in the current Lanz sale, also graded EF, is
estimated at €2,500 ($3,127 U.S.).
For more information about the sale, visit the firm’s website.
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