Featured One of the scarcer Trebonianus Gallus antoniniani

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    This coin had been misidentified by the auction firm as being RIC 59 from the Rome mint. It is properly attributed as RIC 75, from what was previously considered to be the Mediolanum mint. Sear (RIC 5, vol. III, p. 227) notes there is considerable uncertainty about not only the location of the mint traditionally attributed to Mediolanum, but its actual operation during Gallus' reign. He writes,

    "Rome continued to be the principal mint throughout this reign and was supplemented ... by antoniniani from Antioch .... Attempts have been made to identify a second provincial mint which produced silver coinage with a more abbreviated form of obverse legend than the regular products of Rome (IMP C C VIB instead of IMP CAE C VIB). Both Milan and Viminacium have been proposed as the source of these coins and it is also possible that they represent a separate issue from Rome itself. In the following listings they are described as 'uncertain mint'."​

    I don't believe the coins with the IMP CC VIB TREB GALLVS AVG legend are simply a product of the Rome mint with an alternative obverse inscription. In addition to stylistic differences in the portraits, the silver content of these issues is different than those of the Rome and Antioch mints. Gallus's coins of the Antioch mint average only 18.9% silver, whereas those issued in Rome were less debased (30.9%), with the least debased being the unknown branch mint previously believed to have been Mediolanum (37.9% silver). See Pannekeet's interesting paper about debasement here.

    The coin is scarce to rare and unlisted in Sear, Cohen, or Hunter. There are no examples at Wildwinds and no properly-attributed examples at acsearchinfo, either. The only examples I have been able to find illustrated online are a specimen at the Four Bad Years site and this worn specimen at OCRE. The British Museum has two examples in their collection -- both from the Dorchester hoard -- and these are the coins cited by RIC, which assigns it an R rarity rating. Oddly enough, it is mentioned in the antiquarian catalogs of Wiczay and Banduri, despite its absence in more modern, standard references.

    This reverse type is described by RIC as being used for coins of Volusian and is considered by Mattingly to be a hybrid of sorts. It is also known (here misattributed by the dealer as RIC 75) with the longer Rome mint inscription, IMP CAE C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG (RIC 59, Cohen 35, which is rare and also considered a reverse type of Volusian by RIC). However, it is very commonly encountered with the Antioch mint inscription, IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS P F AVG. I illustrate such an example below, with a specimen from my own collection.

    Post your coins that had been misattributed by auction firms, coins of Treboninanus Gallus, comments, or anything you feel is relevant.

    Trebonianus Gallus, AD 251-253.
    Roman AR antoninianus, 3.60 g, 21.3 mm, 7 h.
    Uncertain mint (formerly attributed to Mediolanum), AD 251-253.
    Obv: IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: FELICITAS PVBL, Felicitas standing facing, head left, holding long caduceus and cornucopiae.
    Refs: RIC 75; Cohen --; RCV --; ERIC II --; Wiczay 2509; Banduri p. 59.


    Antioch mint example with the IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS P F AVG inscription. It's easy to appreciate how debased the coins of Antioch were during this reign.

    Trebonianus Gallus FELICITAS PVBL antoninianus Antioch.jpg
    Trebonianus Gallus, AD 251-253.
    Roman AR antoninianus, 3.94 g, 21.1 mm, 6 h.
    Antioch, AD 251-252.
    Obv: IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: FELICITAS PVBL, Felicitas standing facing, head left, holding long caduceus and cornucopiae.
    Refs: RIC 82; Cohen 34; RCV 9628; Hunter p. cvi.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
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  3. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    Good eye, fun write up and great score on your coin!
    This one could easily be misattributed fit having come from an ancient dung pile (it didn't... I hope):

    Trebonianus Gallus
    (251-253). AR Antoninianus(20mm, 2.8g, 12h). Rome, 251-2. Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust r. R/ Pietas standing l., raising both hands. RIC IV 41; RSC 84.
  4. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    T BONE!


    Trebonianus Gallus, Antoninianus, 251-253 A.D.

    O: IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, R: IVNO MARTIALIS, Juno seated left, stalks of grain in right hand, long scepter in left, RIC IV 46 , Mediolanum mint, 22 mm, 3.3 g
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  5. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Very interesting, RC - I was not aware of the silver fineness discrepancies between the various mints.

    Kind of along the same lines, a while back I posted a muled Trajan Decius /Herennius Etruscus or Hostillian - it seems there were a lot of weird things going on at the mints around that time.

    From my original post: "I recently picked up an odd Trajan Decius antoninianus cheap on eBay that I was having a great deal of trouble attributing. It features PIETAS AVGG with Mercury on the reverse, not a type normally issued for Trajan Decius.

    Stumped, I contacted Richard at the wonderful Four Bad Years website (one of my favorites: http://sonic.net/~marius1/mysite/). Richard told me this was a mule, a Trajan Decius Milan mint obverse (IMP CAE TRA DEC AVG legend) muled with a Herennius Etruscus or Hostillian reverse (they both used the PIETAS AVGG with Mercury type)..."


    Trajan Decius - Ant PIETAS AVGG rev Apr 2018 (0).jpg

    Trajan Decius Antoninianus
    (250-251 A.D.)
    Milan mint

    IMP CAE TRA DECIVS AVG, radiate, draped & cuirassed bust right draped / PIETAS AVGG Mercury standing left, holding purse & caduceus.
    Unlisted mule; Her. Etruscus or Hostilian rev. with Decius obv.
    (3.63 grams / 21 mm)
  6. Topcat7

    Topcat7 Still Learning

    My Trebonianus Gallus (unremarkable).

    AR TREBONIANUS GALLUS, Antoninianus. Milan mint, AD 251-253.

    IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, radiate, draped, cuirassed bust right.
    PIETAS AVGG, Pietas veiled, standing left by altar, raising both hands.

    RIC 72; RSC 88; Sear (1998) 2790; Sear 9643
    AR Antoninianus Trebonianus Gallus  RIC Milan 72.jpg
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
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  7. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Nice find...
    I only have one of his...The Antioch mints portraits always seems to be more cartoonish in its depiction of the ruler...
    Trebonianus Gallus, AR Antoninianus, Antioch, 251-253 AD, 21.6mm; 3.55 gr.
    Obverse- IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS PF AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right
    Reverse- VICTORIA AVG, Victory walking left, holding wreath and palm.
    RIC IV-3, 93;
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  8. Pishpash

    Pishpash Well-Known Member


    Trebonianus Gallus
    Coin: Silver Antoninianus
    IMP CAE C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG - Radiate, draped bust right
    PROVIDENTIA AVGG - Providentia draped, standing facing, looking left, holding globe in right hand, transverse sceptre in left hand
    Mint: Rome (251 AD)
    Wt./Size/Axis: 4.27g / 22mm / -
    Rarity: R1
    References:RIC 44
  9. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    The problem with the theory of the "branch" mint being anywhere else other than Rome are the number of hybrid coins where the obverse of one mint is found mated with the reverse from another.As an example Trebonianus Gallus Ar Antoninianus RIC trebgallus6.JPG Obv IMP CAE. C. VIB. TREB. GALLVS AVG. (Rome Obverse) Rv Pax standing left PAX AETERNA (Branch reverse) 3.90 grms 22 mm
  10. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I know that Besly and Bland argued that the existence of such hybrids proves that what they termed "special issue" coins were either minted by the Rome mint, or at least by dies supplied by that mint, but I don't find that argument compelling. Unless there are actual reverse die-matches between coins with the Rome obverse legend and the Milan obverse legend, this doesn't mean anything other than that the mints were in communication with each other, coordinating issues. Branch mints often produce reverse types in parallel with the Rome mint. Witness, for example:

    Rome mint:

    Domna VESTAE SANCTAE standing denarius Rome.jpg

    Eastern mint (formerly attributed to Laodicea):

    Domna VESTAE SANCTAE standing denarius Laodicea.jpg

    Nobody would argue that the "Laodicea" mint under Septimius Severus was actually a branch of the Rome mint.

    That theory doesn't take into account the difference in silver content between the coins when sorted by obverse legend. Moreover, Jérôme Mairat notes that the branch mint coins are found disproportionally higher in hoards of the Balkan regions. This suggests a mint closer to the troops fighting the Goths. This is one reason numismatists have suggested the branch mint was in Viminacium.

    For now, the intellectually honest thing to do is to term these coins the product of an "uncertain mint" (as Sear does).
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  11. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Trebonianus Gallus 1.jpg
    AR Antoninianus
    OBVERSE:IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust, right
    REVERSE: LIBERTAS PVBLICA, Libertas standing left, holding pileus and transverse scepter
    Struck at Uncertain mint (Milan?), AD 252
    3.5g, 21mm
    RIC 70; Cohen 68; RCV 9636; Hunter 50
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  12. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    Here is a Gallus which is almost a die-match of the obverse with @Topcat7 's coin, also a Pietas reverse type. Pointy nose on Gallus.

    Trebonianus Gallus, AR Antoninanus, 23mm 3.9 grams

    Milan mint, AD 251-253.

    Obverse: IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, radiate, draped, cuirassed bust right

    Reverse: PIETAS AVGG, Pietas veiled, standing left by altar, raising both hands.

    Reference: RIC 72; RSC 88; Sear (1998) 2790; Sear 9643.


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  13. Alegandron

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

    Great find, @Roman Collector ! It is always a lotta fun to find the unexpected.

    mine (and @red_spork really helped me out on this one!)

    This was originally misattributed as Craw 44-6, but is actually a fairly scarce Sicily version:

    RR Anon AR denarius Roma 211-206 BCE ROMA incus Dioscuri single horn-helmet Sear-- Craw 68-1b SICILY ISSUE RARE (originally misattributed as Craw 44-5

    Trebonnius Gallus:

    kinda a rusty nail !
    RI Trebonianus Gallus Ant 20mm 3.0g Apollo Lyre RIC 32 RSC 20
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  14. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    The pointy nose is a stylistic feature of the "Mediolanum" mint. This is additional evidence that it was a separate mint.
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  15. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    Probably the same celator, though the die is different...
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  16. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    Only have two Trebonianus, nothing remarkable; this one is with Victoria, Rome mint:
    Antoninianus, Rome, 252 - 253 AD
    19 x 22 mm, 3.69 g
    RIC IV Trebonianus Gallus 48A; Cohen 128; RCV 9656;

    Ob: IMP CAE C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG radiate, draped bust to right
    Rev.: VICTORIA AVGG Victoria standing left, with wreath in right hand and palm branch in left

    upload_2019-10-8_0-13-58.png upload_2019-10-8_0-14-11.png
  17. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Thats cool.
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  18. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    I read with great interest Roman Collector's response to my comments and I will agree that in the end we really do not know. However some comments do require a response. The first issue is the increase is the increase in silver content of the antoninianii of the Branch mint. I do not know the source of this information but I assume it comes from "The Metrology of the Roman Silver Coinage Part III by D.R. Walker.BAR Supplementary Series 40 1978. This study was based on analysis using XRF analysis. I will not comment on the accuracy of this system except to point out that it has received criticism in the past.
    Using the data from pages 45, 46 and 47 one does note an impressive spike in weight of a theoretical denarius from .63, .64 and .61 minted at Rome to that of .74 from the Branch mint. This is impressive and is used by Roman Collector as a proof of another mint. However looking at the data on pages 39 to 42 which cover the coinage of Philip I one notes that the four issues cited , the weight of the theoretical denarius starts at .91 goes to .87 then to .89 then in the issue of 248-249 A.D to .97. While not as dramatic as the difference between the Rome and Branch mint under Gallus it does hint that the mint of Rome was trying to improve the quality of its coinage.
    Another point that needs to be made is that while you may have a difference in the style of the engraving you may not have an example of another mint. These two coins were once in my collection. They are denarii of Vespasian with the reverse IOVIS CVSTOS They appear to be RIC 849 and 850 respectability Xvespd13.jpg Xvespd12.jpg As one can see the two engravers had a completely different style.
    In response to Mairat's observation about the Branch mint coins being found in larger numbers in the Balkans, I cannot comment. I could not find the source. However many years ago I read a book about the distribution of Roman aes. What the authors of that book surmised is that issues of Roman aes were not uniformly distributed throughout the western provinces of the empire. Some issues were all but confined to a few provinces and in others all but unknown. Unlike denarii, most aes coins would not move far from where they were initially issued.
    In one of my on going studies, that of the silver drachms of the Severan dynasty minted at Petra Jordan I have noticed that up to the present time not a single drachm has ever been found at Petra. in fact the majority of the coins that have entered the market over the last twenty years appear to have been found in the Balkans. Many aureii of the Gallic Empire are actually found in what would have been eastern part of Germany and western Poland."The Gallic Empire" J.F. Drinkwater page 216. Thus one cannot assume especially with gold or silver coins that a number of finds in a certain area would denote the presence of a mint.
    Now I come to my last point a discussion of mint activity during the reign of Gallus. On page 20-21 of "The Cunetio Treasure" by Besly and Brand a summery of the results of analysis of some 19 hoards is noted. Now my math skills leave a lot to be desired so some of these numbers may be a bit off (Sorry) I forgot to buy a calculator.
    Issue......ROME .................. Branch
    1...........About 125.................1
    2a..........About 1300...............6
    2b...........About 620................0 (Types are known)
    3............About 950.................2
    4.............About 750............... 0 (Types are known)
    5.............58...........................About 2200
    It is interesting that the Branch mint emission is actually quite large in comparison to those of the Rome mint. This is reflected in another hoard study "Le Tresor D'Eauze " which on page 124 gives out the following numbers (Gallus only)
    Issue 1, ..........29
    Issue 2a,.........167
    Issue 2b,..........87
    Issue 3,...........191
    Issue 4,............155
    Issue 5 (Rome),..6.........Branch mint, 248.
    I do not know is this hoard was included in the Besly & Brand study and though the Branch mint issue is somewhat smaller in proportion to the Rome issues as recorded in Besly & Brand it is still quite large.
    What is puzzling is why are the two mints virtual mirrors of each other? When Rome is active virtually nothing from the Branch mint yet suddenly the Branch mint starts striking coins in vast numbers and Rome is virtually silent.
    What is interesting is that the "Tresor" does give out the number of Gallus/ Volusian hybrids. 11 in total.
    Okay as noted before, we do not know. However I do think that trying to establish a separate mint for the Branch issue is at best problematic.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
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