Wednesday April 10th 2013 Washigton Hotel, London England The famous numismatic auction is expected for weeks now, espacially lot # 694. For half a year, the discovery of this coin have been advertised all around the world. This is one of the rarest antoninianus ever offered for sale in history. Rumors have spread widely about rich collectors willing to pay anything for the coin in question. Estimations for the sale price went up to £90000 ! Finally the lot is presented, excitation in the room is noticeable and...no hands raised, no movements by anyone, no internet bid neither...absolutely nothing happened. What did go wrong ? To try to understand, let me tell you the story of one of the most controversial emperor : Proculus. Who was he ? A wealthy land owner, an ambitious commander who accept to be proclaimed emperor and attempted a rebellion against Probus with an army of 2000 soldiers. But why so many people disagree with his coinage ? Let’s look at the details. Historical sources Titus Aelius Proculus has been mentionned by many sources around the 4th century AD. Historia Augusta ( vita probi, 4-5 ) Euthopius, a roman historian ( brevarium 9, 17 ) Orosius, historian ( hist.adversus paganus libi septem 7, 24, 3 ) So no doubts about the character’s historicity. Middle ages coins Coins of this usurper are recorded as far as the 16 th century in litterature. But modern analyses shows that they were all fakes. There are two categories of forgeries about Proculus : 1) This example is the property of the British Museum since 1950. IMP CT AEL PROCVLVS AVG VICTORIA AET The curator’s comments explains : “tooled from a radiate of Gallienus to look like Proculus.” 2) An example of a forged specimen from the 16th century cast by hand : IMP CT AEL PROCVLVS AVG VIRTVS AVG Conclusion : all coins from this emperor from the 16th to the 19th century were considerated as counterfeit. That explain why the authors of the RIC ( 1933 ) said : “of Proculus no genuine coins are known (...). Like so much of the local coinage of Gaul, they are blundered.” October 9th 1991 Munich, Germany For the first time in an auction, a coin in the name of Proculus appeared and was considered by many as genuine. Where did it come from ? Richard Swan, a British coin dealer, has discovered it while he was cleaning a hoard of roman coins recovered in England. The extra fine condition specimen was described as : IMP C PROCVLVS AVG VICTORIA AVG 18 mm 3.46 g It finally was sold for 94000 Deutsh marks ( 55000 US $ ) and is now in a museum in Munich. November 7th 2012 Yorkshire, England Mark Hildreth and Colin Popplewell, two experienced detectorist, unearthed an unknown coin near Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire. At first, they didn’t recognized the bearded portrait or the name on their find. So they took a picture and posted it on Facebook. Soon they had many messages back : “You should really show your discovery to an expert !” The 2 lucky detectorists. A picture taken right in the field. During the next months, it was demonstrated that the 2 Proculus coins were from the same pair of dies. They also appear to have a higher silver contents than the official issues of Probus. Meanwhile, the question about their authenticity divided many experts in the numismatic world. A specialist from the British Museum believed it was a forgery. On many discussion forum, debates occured with opposite point of view on the two coins. So that’s what happened previously to the anecdote told in the introduction of this story. The second coin. December 9th 2013 Munich, Germany Numismatik Lanz auctionned the 2nd ‘genuine’ Procolus coin, and this time it was sold for the amount of £ 48800 ( 55700 US $ )...... Epilogue So what do you think about this story ? Do you believe that the Proculus coins are genuine ? The one thing that would adress the issue would be the discovery of a third example, or even better, a whole hoard of this controversial emperors coins !