Aurelian As upgrade

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by singig, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. singig

    singig Well-Known Member

    Hello, many years ago, at a coins show, I received(as a bonus coin) a very low grade Aurelian As. I really liked the coin type, I had never seen another before, was larger and much thicker than the antoninianus already knew. Since then I'm looking for a upgrade, was hard to find one in good shape and for a reasonable price.

    The new coin is less heavier(6.1g vs 9.3g) but much larger(27mm vs 24mm) than the old one, I attached photos below.

    I tried to find similar examples and I was surprised to see how many different denomination names are used for this unique type(RIC 80). Experts for different auction houses are using :
    Nomos: Sestertius
    CNG: Sestertius or As
    Heritage: Reduced Sestertius or As
    Roma: Reduced Sestertius Sestertius

    Please post your asses(reduced sestertii) from this period.

    Aurelian AE As. RIC 80v
    IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, laureate, cuirassed bust right / CONCORDIA AVG, Aurelian and Severina clasping hands, radiate bust of Sol right between them, no mintmark. RIC V-1, 80 var (not in RIC without mintmark); Cohen 35, Sear 11646
    27 mm / 6.1 g

    Attached Files:

  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Enrich the soldiers...ignore all others

    I've seen these only very rarely. I have no idea how they tariffed this piece relative to the antoninianus. Whatever it was, it seems like Tacitus abandoned it.
    DonnaML, +VGO.DVCKS and singig like this.
  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Here's a reduced sestertius of Severina, though MER/RIC calls it an as:

    Severina, AD 270-275
    Roman AE as or reduced sestertius, 5.85 gm, 26.7 mm
    Rome, issue 11, AD 275
    Obv: SEVERINA AVG, diademed and draped bust right
    Rev: IVNO REGINA, Juno standing left, holding patera and scepter; peacock at feet; S in exergue.
    Refs: RIC 7; MER/RIC temp 1879; RCV 11711; Cohen 9; MIR 147.
  5. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Cool upgrade, @singig ...

    Wow, since coins devolved pretty much to AE's by this time, they all look alike to me! :)

    Here are my AE Ants!

    RI Aurelian 270-275 CE AE Ant receiving Globe from Jupiter

    RI Severina Wife of Aurelian 274-275 CE BI22 Antoninianus 3.14g Rome mint Crescent Concordia RIC 317
  6. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    Sear 11646 Aurelian.jpg

    I agree you don’t see these too often. Nice upgrade for you!

    Mine was described (and priced) as an antoninanus by the coin dealer. The inner «time to buy» light went green immediately.
  7. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    I don't have the as anymore as I sort of "replaced" it with the double sestertius below (already shown many times...)

    Aurelian and Severina, Double sestertius - Rome mint AD 274-275
    IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust of Aurelian right
    SEVERINA AVG, diademed and draped bust of Severina right, on crescent
    11.18 gr
    Ref : Cohen # 1, RIC # 2, RCV # 11696

  8. singig

    singig Well-Known Member

  9. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    I still need one of these but want a rome mint bronze of Claudius Gothicus first which in itself looks like an almost impossible task.

    The OP coin must have indeed been intended as a ("reduced") Sestertius and not an As, because the radiate type with the Severina portrait reverse as illustrated by Cucumbor has roughly twice it´s weight. If the laureate type was an As, than the radiate coin would have been a Dupondius, but then there would have been no such weight difference.

    These illustrate the further desintegration of the AE coinage. While my Sestertii of Aemilian and Salonina weight a mere 12 grams each (only 50 % of that denomination´s average size a century before, which drove older specimens out of circulation and into hoards or the melting pot from the mid 250´s, the same fate shared by the Denarius a decade before), it diminished to 6 grams within a decade. After Aurelian bronze coins were handed out as presentation pieces only and became almost as rare as Medallions during the dynasty of Carus.
  10. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    The 6 to 9 months that these were produced meant likely that they did not get to be widespread enough as to impact the Empire's many different markets. As they were struck at Rome only as part of Aurelian's monetary reform that saw the re-standardization of the billon currency, it's also possible that they were meant for local use rather than worldwide circulation.

    S. Estiot considers the denomination to be an as rather than a sestertius. This specimen comes from a Swiss collection which might show that at least some crossed the Alps.

    sest aurel4.JPG
  11. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Something to note that could coraborate this local perspective is that these AE issues do not have the traditional SC in fields. Idk.
  12. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    That would make sense.

    By the way this denomination was exclusive to Rome only with the imperial couple clasping-hands-reverse, while an issue of the same denomination was also struck, presumably a year earlier, in 274, at Serdica, albeit with a bust of Sol on the obverse and Aurelian sacrificing on the reverse:

    (sadly not my coin :confused:)

    That type is very rare however while the roman mint version was struck with many die combinations and more than 50 specimens to be found on AC search which would make it seem that it was indeed planned for a wider circulation, as compared to later examples (as attested by only a single reduced Sestertius by Carinus on AC search, for example)
  13. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Very interesting possibility: a local "traditional" but obsolete denomination minted not under the usual senatorial authority but rather the direct authority of the emperor.
  14. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Nice example! I still need one of these. (@svessien, yours is great!)

    The denomination question is interesting. A sample of 30 of these on acsearch have an average weight of 7.47g and an average diameter of 24.7mm. For the radiates like @Cucumbor's amazing coin, the average weight is 14.42g and average diameter 29.45mm.

    For comparison, here's a late As issued during Gallienus's sole reign:
    Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 6.18.59 PM.jpg
    It weighs 5.89g and measures 22mm, and there's no real question of which denomination it is. It would be interesting to see some averages for Gallienus sole-reign bronzes and see how they compare to the Aurelians. (There are even some Gallienus double sestertii.)
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2021
  15. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I would address the possibility that the coin was not a regular issue coin but a mini-medallion of some sort for a special use which we do not understand. As far back as the Severans, asses were sometimes/often special issues honoring a special occasion like assumption of a consulship. Has anyone addressed this in the literature?
  16. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    It looks like quite a few of us have one of these. Who else is jealous of @Cucumbor's fancy radiate double header.

    aurelian as.jpg
    AE As. 7.1g, 24.5mm. Rome mint, Jan-Sep AD 275. RIC 1st 80; Sear 11646; Cohen 35; New RIC V.2 Online temp #1878. O: IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right. R: CONCORDIA AVG, Aurelian and Severina clasping hands, radiate bust of Sol between them; Δ in exergue.
  17. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    The average weight of Gallienus´ sole reign Sestertii is 15 g (sample of 25 specimens ranging from 7,38 to 24,40 g).
    The average weight of his sole reign double Sestertii is 19 g (sample of 5 specimens ranging from 14,80 to 23,53 g).

    Both denominations were discontinued after 262 AD. There seems to have been no regular production of Asses and Dupondii during Gallienus´ sole reign.

    The INT URB coins that Gallienus issued at the end of his reign have an average weight of 16 gr (sample of 25 specimens ranging from 9,21 to 28,67 gr).

    The extreme variation of weights in all of these types resulted in the practice of counting them "al marco" and not "al pezzo".

    Each of the three large bronze types of Gallienus´sole reign dircussed above (which did not circulate long due to their material value being a multiple of that of a debased Antoninianus) is in itself rarer than the reduced Sestertii of Aurelian.
    singig and Justin Lee like this.
  18. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Thanks for the further work, @Julius Germanicus! I think your introduction of the Genius types (INT VRB, though they don't all have this legend) is key. I checked out the Yonge paper on these, and it really puts a lot of stuff together quite convincingly.

    Yonge argues that the Aurelian laureate bronzes are sestertii coming at the end of a natural reduction in module proceeding from early in the sole reign of Gallienus, through the Genius types and Claudius II (there are rare laureates for him :jawdrop:).

    It seems pretty clear that the Genius types came at the end of Gallienus's reign. Note that we need to distinguish the radiate from the laureate Genius types. The laureates fall in nicely as sestertii, with the radiates as double sestertii. (This would mean the last asses came in 260-62, like my Salonina above.)

    Here are my own numbers from acsearch, which I think bear the Yonge story out pretty well. I've listed them chronologically within the two denominations. "Central range" means the range excluding outliers. (Esp. important under Gallienus when production values were so poor.) As you can see, there's a nice weight-reduction progression paired with a very slight reduction in diameter. For the double-sestertii the reduction in diameter is only reflected in die diameter. (I get the die diameter measurements from Yonge. I've had earlier occasion to remark that die diameter is something we should pay more attention to.)

    Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 3.23.24 PM.jpg

    I'm convinced the Aurelian OP coins are sestertii, and @Cucumbor's is a double sestertius. That's how I'll be listing them in future, at least.
    singig, galba68, Cucumbor and 4 others like this.
  19. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Now if I can only figure out what denomination this super-weird item is, which I picked up towards the end of last year. It's only 13mm and 1.86g, with a radiate crown. Which doesn't make sense for any known denomination! :confused: Rome mint (probably).


    I won't say where my speculations are leaning so as not to bias any suggestions.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2021
  20. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Some sort of limes... item?
  21. Claudius_Gothicus

    Claudius_Gothicus Well-Known Member

    Wow, that is indeed something very unusual, since the dies were clearly made for this size, so it can't be an antoninianus that lost weight due to wear/corrosion. It doesn't appear to be an imitation either, because it seems to be of the same quality as standard antoniniani. The only denomination that makes sense for this size is the quinarius, but it's not supposed to feature a radiate crown. Maybe it was just a prototype?
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page