14.01 grams 30mm RIC 184 - noted as common, but a check of databases indicates that rare or scarce would be more accurate. You have to have to hand it to the ancient celators - it takes an enormous amount of skill to engrave the wonderful portraits of much of the imperial period. Compare the engravings from that time to, for example, the crude portraits of later periods. It is not surprising that that ancient art, including coins, inspired the Renaissance. I have always been fascinated by the sestertii of the emperors who directly preceded or lived during the early part of the time of troubles ca. 250 - 260 - Trajan Decius, Trebonianus Gallus, Volusian, Valerian, Gallienus, plus empresses, princes usurpers et als. The web-site "Four Bad Years:" http://www.sonic.net/~marius1/mysite/ shows that the Rome mint was still capable of engraving gorgeous, if not stunning portraits - I go back to the web-site again and again a beautiful example in ancient coin presentation. One of my regrets is letting go of two beautiful sestertii of Trajan Decius and one of Trebonianus Gallus in order to afford coins more in my collecting interest. After all you can't collect them all....right? but boy would I love to have these back. All of this is a long winded way of getting to the sestertius I have posted, of the emperor Valerian I, which was just purchased on ebay. It is not the first sestertii of Valerian I that I have owned - the other was ironically enough purchased from the former owner of the "Four Bad Years" web-site because I thought the reverse was too crude. Another sale I regret. You can't collect them all....right? We know Valerian I as the luckless emperor who was captured by Persians in 260AD, while attempting to negotiate a truce - and ended up as a horse step ladder for the Persian king, and was later executed, stuffed and exhibited. ------------------------------------------ Valerian was Roman emperor from 253 to spring 260 AD. He was taken captive by the Persian emperor Shapur I after the Battle of Edessa, becoming the first Roman emperor to be captured as a prisoner of war. Unlike the later military emperors, Valerian was of a noble senatorial family. He married Egnatia Mariniana, with whom he had two sons: later emperor Gallienus, and Licinius Valerianus. He was consul for the first time either or just before 238 AD. In 238 Valerian negotiated for senatorial acknowledgement of Gordian I's claim as emperor. In 251 AD, when Decius revived the censorship with legislative and executive powers that practically embraced the civil authority of the emperor, Valerian was chosen censor by the Senate, which was declined. Valerian was in charge of affairs in Rome when Decius left for his ill-fated last campaign in Illyricum. Under Trebonianus Gallus Valerian was appointed dux of an army drawn from the garrisons of the German provinces which were ultimately used in a war against the Persians. When Trebonianus Gallus had to deal with the rebellion of Aemilianus in 253 AD it was Valerian that he turned for assistance in crushing the attempted usurpation. Valerian headed south but was too late: Gallus was killed by his own troops, who joined Aemilianus before Valerian arrived. The soldiers then proclaimed Valerian emperor, and march on Rome. Upon his arrival in late September, 253, Aemilianus's legions defected, killing Aemilianus and proclaiming Valerian emperor. In Rome, the Senate happily acknowledged Valerian as emperor, as one of their own. Valerian's first act as emperor on October 22, 253, was to appoint his son Gallienus caesar. Early in his reign, affairs in Europe went from bad to worse, and the whole West fell into disorder. In the East, Antioch had fallen into the hands of a Sassanid vassal and Armenia was occupied by Shapur I. Valerian and Gallienus split the problems of the empire between them, with the son taking the West, and the father heading East to face the Persian threat. By 257, Valerian had recovered Antioch and returned the province of Syria to Roman control. The following year, the Goths ravaged Asia Minor. In 259, Valerian moved on to Edessa, but an outbreak of plague weakened the Roman position, and the town was besieged by the Persians. At the beginning of 260, Valerian was decisively defeated in the Battle of Edessa and held then prisoner for the remainder of his life. --------------------- I really like this coin - it is better in person, since using a volume of RIC is not the best background. Still I thought it illustrates a beautiful example of a coin from this well meaning emperor. I doubt many people collect his coins, but I find his sestertii to be fascinating, if only because it shows that the celators of Rome still maintained a high standard for some of their types.