World Coins

Lexington Collection has silver coin from ‘Year of Six Emperors’

A silver denarius of Gordian I represents the short-lived tenure of the emperor in Rome’s African province. He served with his son, Gordian II, for less than a month. Tabs from the holder for the coins show in the images.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The following post is pulled from Coin World’s International page in the Aug. 11 issue.

Coin dealer Jonathan Kern, based in Lexington, Ky., has built a reputation as a dealer for more than four decades, but Kern’s own collection of ancient coins, dubbed the Lexington Collection, featured in Heritage Auctions’ Aug. 8 sale, is now attracting attention.

In the Aug. 8 auction, Heritage’s first-ever world and ancient coins Platinum Night auction, 46 lots, including 39 ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins, are from Kern’s collection. That follows an April 10 Heritage auction that included 33 of Kern’s ancient coins.

Kern is “one of the most astute numismatists in the country,” said David Michaels, director of ancient coins for Heritage Auctions.

Kern remains an active dealer, but is now selling pieces from his personal collection, according to Cris Bierrenbach, Heritage Auctions’ executive vice president of international numismatics.

Many of the highlights of Heritage’s ancient coin offerings in the Aug. 8 Platinum Night sale are from Kern’s collection. Each is graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. Here are three lots that offer a snapshot of the collection.

For more information and to bid, visit the auction's page at the Heritage Auctions website, or telephone the auction company at 800-872-6467.

238 A.D. Gordian I silver denarius

The Roman Empire was notable for upheaval, but no more so than in 238 A.D., the so-called “Year of Six Emperors.”

One of those emperors, Gordian I, was caught up in the revolt against Maximinus. After a mob killed the procurator in the Roman province of Africa, Gordian I on March 22 was beseeched to serve as emperor, and he adopted the cognomen Africanus. He was approved by the Roman Senate on April 2. His son, Gordian II, served with him. 

Their reign was short.

Capelianus, nemesis of Gordian I and ally of Maximinus, invaded the province. Gordian II died in that year’s Battle of Carthage, and his father committed suicide later the same day, April 12. 

Though their reign was short, the quality of their coins is notably high, creating an “enduring mystery” about whether the revolt had actually been carefully planned, or the production of coins continued long after their reign.

Graded Choice Extremely Fine ?, Fine Style by NGC and designated 5/5 for both strike and surface, the Kern Collection example is estimated to realize $5,000 to $6,000.

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