World Coins

Auction features new type for emperor Postumus

A unique and previously unknown type of antoninianus coin of emperor Postumus highlights Paul-Franics Jacquier’s Sept. 15 auction.

Images courtesy of Paul-Francis Jacquier.

A newly discovered type for an antoninianus coin of Postumus leads a Sept. 15 auction by Paul-Francis Jacquier.

The unique and previously unknown type of the antoninianus of Postumus is notable for its unique bust. The bust featured on the obverse is cuirassed (armored) but devoid of drapery, which distinguishes it from the tens of thousands of others known from coin hoards, public and private collections, and auction catalog illustrations. During the reign of Postumus, antoniniani generally showed a ruler’s bust as cuirassed and draped with a military commander’s cloak.

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According to the auction preview, this extremely rare portrait without the cloak can be dated to the beginning of 268. The coin was struck in Cologne and weighs 3.44 grams.

The auction preview description asserts that the coin “is definitely neither a mistake of the engraver nor the quality product of an ancient counterfeiter. The characteristic style of the inscriptions, the superbly carved portrait, and the quality of the metal give rise to the assumption that this surprising striking is a surviving example of a marginal official antoninianus coinage featuring a cuirassed bust.”

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The coin shows the radiate (or crowned) ruler on the obverse, and the reverse depicts Jupiter with a scepter and thunderbolt. Many reverse inscriptions were used for the antoninianus coins of Postumus, and it is unknown whether other examples with this same bust exist with reverse inscriptions different from those found on this unique example.

The unique coin is graded Extremely Fine by the auction house, which gives it an estimate of €2,500 ($2,972).

To learn more, visit the firm’s website.

Editor's note: the image of the coin was updated at 8 a.m. EDT Sept. 6 to correct an error in the earlier version that showed the wrong coin.

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