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Volusian at his best


Tejas
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I would like to show an Antoninian of Volusian, which I received today and which is quite remarkable in terms of both, condition and portrait style.

Volusian was raised to the rank of Augustus by his father Trebonianus Gallus in around August 251, i.e. after the death of Hostilianus the son of Trajan Decius. Volusianus was killed alongside his father in August 253, while preparing to fight the usurper Aemillianus. According to Wikipedia, the short reign of Volusianus and Trebonianus Gallus was marked by the outbreak of plague (which is said to have killed Hostiliianus), an invasion by the Sasanian Empire and raids by Germanic tribes (especially the  Goths).

Antoniniani of Trebonianus Gallus and Volusianus are of course readily available, often also in very good condition. Still the coin below is in remarkable condition and the picture below doesn't do the coin justice.  I would call it mint condition with original luster. So while I knew the condition was good, I was still surprised when I first saw the coin.

The other thing that stands out is the portrait. While the portraits of Volusian show a great variety, I think this one stands out. It is particularly life-like and expressive and I have never seen this particular portrait of Volusian before.

The seller attributed the coin to Rome, which is likely. However, sometimes coins of Volusian get attributed to an "unknown branch mint". Does anybody know what that is about?

Show us your coins of Volusian or his father, or any other Emperor related to his short reign.

PS: I still find the fact that there are now two numismatic discussion fora very unsatisfactory. 

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Edited by Tejas
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Here is my only Volusian antoninianus

image.png.08af9a6e00fcec7948102d6aa529287a.png

For me, this coin, even if it's far from attractive, condition wise, was an excellent addition, especially because it was very cheap. The surprise was that it is a very rare variety.

Volusian AD 251-253. Antioch
Antoninianus AR
22 mm, 2,97 g
IMP CV AF GAL VEND VOLVSIANO AVG Bust radiate, draped, cuirassed r., Rv. ROMAE AETERNAE AVG, Roma seated left with Victory and spear, shield at side. In exergue, 3 pellets
Cf RIC 234a (R)

Here is also my only Trebonianus Gallus antoninianus (attractive - too bad of the corrosion and the worn reverse die)

image.png.5d2ba919a32c3f2d5e21d707078cfcff.png

Trebonianus Gallus AD 251-253. Rome
Antoninianus AR
21 mm, 3,77 g
IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, bust of Trebonianus Gallus, radiate, draped, cuirassed, right / LIBERTAS PVBLICA, Libertas, draped, standing left, holding pileus in right hand and transverse sceptre in left hand
RIC IV Trebonianus Gallus 70; RSC 68

 

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4 minutes ago, Tejas said:

I would like to show an Antoninian of Volusian, which I received today and which is quite remarkable in terms of both, condition and portrait style.

Volusian was raised to the rank of Augustus by his father Trebonianus Gallus in around August 251, i.e. after the death of Hostilianus the son of Trajan Decius. Volusianus was killed alongside his father in August 253, while preparing to fight the usurper Aemillianus. According to Wikipedia, the short reign of Volusianus and Trebonianus Gallus was marked by the outbreak of plague (which is said to have killed Hostiliianus), an invasion by the Sasanian Empire and raid by the Germanic Goths.

Back to the coins. Antoniniani of Trebonianus Gallus and Volusianus are of course readily available, often also in very good condition. Still the coin below is in remarable condition for any Roman silver coin (much better in hand than in the photo).  I would call it mint condition with original luster. 

Also, while the portraits of Volusian show a great variety, this one stands out. I have never seen this particular portrait of Volusian before.

Show us your coins of Volusian or his father, or any other Emperor related to his short reign.

PS: I still find the fact that there are now two numismatic discussion fora very unsatisfactory. 

 

 

 

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Your coin certainly looks MS, despite the softness of the reverse that was struck from a well-worn die 😉. Pictured below is a tetradrachm of Volusian I sold at auction long ago. His tetradrachms are very scarce. 1168871697_NGC3988264-006ExAWKCollection.jpg.4e6447de5a43d9c5dddb0d6643a34317.jpg

 

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great addition on the silver side...i have T-Bone like the Q and a 'it gets nicer lQQkin' every time i lQQk' Sestertius of the V Boy.. T-Bone 28mm, 17.57gms &30mm, 19.51gms respectively   EDIT: i went and checked the measurements cause i'd be danged ifn that T Bone don't lQQk BIGGER 😛

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IMG_1426.JPG

Edited by ominus1
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My Volusian sestertius is probably one of the coins I would think twice about buying today. But in the end not that bad especially since it has an uncommon reverse (what I call uncommon reverses - if you browse through a pile of coins this would catch your attention as it's not a somebody seated or standing variation). My biggest problem is the small flan that made the legends difficult to establish (in fact the house attributed it to Trebonianus Gallus)

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Volusian AD 251-253. Rome
Sestertius Æ
24 mm, 13,86 g
IMP CAE C VIB VOLVSIANO AVG, bust of Volusian, laureate, draped, cuirassed, right / IVNONI MARTIALI SC, round distyle temple, in which is seated Juno, front
RIC IV Volusian 253a

 

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image.png.3259bdff1066ccadb90065e3ca3c6931.png

 

Tetradrachm of Volusianusus from Antiochia ad Orontes, Prieur 703 (1 ex.), 251 AD, Weight 12.59g, Diameter 25mm, Obverse: Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; Z below. Reverse: Eagle standing right on ground line, head and tail left, with wings spread, holding wreath in beak; Z between legs, S C in exergue. Inscriptions: ΑΥΤΟΚ Κ Γ ΑΦΙΝ ΓΑΛ ΟΥΕΝΔ ΟΥΟΛΟΥCCIANOC CEB / ΔΗΜΑΡΧ ΕΞΟΥCIAC.

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Fantastic coins shown here!

I would like add an example from this ominous "unknown branch mint"

Caius Vibius Volusianus Augustus ( June 251- June 253)

Obv.:  IMP C C VIB VOLVSIANVS AVG 

Rev.: FELICITAS PVBL

Mint: Uncertain branch mint or Viminacium

Measurements: 4.26g, 22mm, 12h

Extremely fine with great portrait and a reverse from fresh dies.

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I've got two antoniniani of Volusian. My Rome example, the same type as @Tejas' coin, is nothing special. I like my Volusian from the Antioch mint a bit better:

2001522820_RomVolusianAntoniniaVirtus.png.a59471b1f44b2404ffa1ebfd0fa8ee19.png

Volusian, Roman Empire, antoninian, 251–253 AD, Mediolanum mint. Obv: IMP C C VIB VOLVSIANVS AVG, bust of Volusian, draped, cuirassed, radiate, r. Rev: VIRTVS AVGG, Virtus, helmeted and in military attire, standing r., holding spear in r. hand and leaning on shield with l. 22mm, 2.47g. Ref: RIC IV,3 Volusian 206.

1103777554_RomVolusianAntoninianusPaxAntiochia.jpg.f3fe52247594194cbbbe29b93b9f6263.jpg

Volusian, Roman Empire, antoninian, 251–252 AD, Antioch mint. Obv:IMP C V AF GAL VEND VOLUSIANO AVG; radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust r., seen from front; •••• below. Rev: PAX AVGVS; Pax standing l., holding branch and transverse scepter; •••• in exergue.. 22mm, 3,92g. Ref: RIC IV Volusian 230a. Ex AMCC 3, lot 276; ex Shea19 collection; ex CNG, e-auction 475, Lot 301c; ex Richard McAlee collection.

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Here is another interesting Volusian Antoninian, with a somewhat unusual portrait. If it wasn't for the legend I guess it would be difficult to guess which emperor it was based on the portrait. The coin is quite heavy at nearly 4.5g.

Obv.: IMP C C VIB VOLUSIANVS AVG

Rev.: VIRTVS AVGG

Mint: Rome

Measurement: 4.43g

RIC IV 206.

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Edited by Tejas
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image.png.77f50c1426a124464deca19cfd8c2964.png

 

Gaius Vibius Afinius Gallus Veldumnianus Volusianus as Caesar
Antoninianus of the Roman Imperial Period 251 AD
Material: Billon Silver
Diameter: 20mm
Weight: 3.56g
Mint: Rome
Reference: RIC IV Volusian 134
Obverse: Bust of Volusian, radiate, draped, right. The Inscription reads: C VIBIO VOLVSIANO CAES for Caius Vibius Volusianus, Caesar.
Reverse: Volusian, draped, standing left, holding wand in right hand and reversed spear in left hand. The Inscription reads: PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS for Principi Juventutis (To the prince of the youth).

 

Uups - i see that a have a 2nd Volusian in the box as Caesar.

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26 minutes ago, Tejas said:

If it is your Rome examle, why is it attributed to Mediolanum?

Because I attributed it using RIC back when I purchased it, and now have copied and pasted my attribution without taking a second look...

RIC (via OCRE) attributes the obverse with the legend "IMP C C VIB VOLVSIANVS AVG" to Milan. As far as I understand, this attribution is now considered incorrect. The British Museum, for example, gives Rome as the mint location.

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3 hours ago, Prieure de Sion said:

image.png.3259bdff1066ccadb90065e3ca3c6931.png

 

Tetradrachm of Volusianusus from Antiochia ad Orontes, Prieur 703 (1 ex.), 251 AD, Weight 12.59g, Diameter 25mm, Obverse: Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; Z below. Reverse: Eagle standing right on ground line, head and tail left, with wings spread, holding wreath in beak; Z between legs, S C in exergue. Inscriptions: ΑΥΤΟΚ Κ Γ ΑΦΙΝ ΓΑΛ ΟΥΕΝΔ ΟΥΟΛΟΥCCIANOC CEB / ΔΗΜΑΡΧ ΕΞΟΥCIAC.

P. de Sion, I believe the coins we posted are a double-die match 😮! Website members what do you think 🤔? McAlee lists this coin type (1187f) as Ex Rare. 1699169851_McAlee1187fP.dSionExAWKCollection.jpg.96d202bdb083aa2c0deec18ed1179cb9.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, Ursus said:

RIC (via OCRE) attributes the obverse with the legend "IMP C C VIB VOLVSIANVS AVG" to Milan. As far as I understand, this attribution is now considered incorrect. The British Museum, for example, gives Rome as the mint location.

What I don't understand is on what grounds these coins get attributed to Rome, Milan or the unknown branch mint. Is it just style?

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Two provincial coins:

normal_Volusian_02.jpg.d4588becdf4e9afac82105ea825b28f2.jpg

Volusianus
Syria, Antiochia
Billon tetradrachm
Obv.: AYTOK K Γ AΦIN ΓAΛ OYENΔ OYOΛOYCCIANOC CEB,, radiate and cuirassed bust right, S below
Rev.: ΔHMAPX EΞOYCIAC / SC, Eagle standing facing on ground line, head and tail left, wings displayed, holding wreath in beak; S between legs.
Billon, 11.49g, 25.2mm
Ref.: Prieur 701

 

normal_R668_Volusian_Akmonea_fac.jpg.7272d365859e1f637f153de3e000aab0.jpg

Volusian
Phrygia, Acmonea
Obv.: ΑVΤ Κ ΟVΙΒ ΑΦ ΓΑΛΛΟϹ ΟVΟΛΟVϹΙΑΝΟϹ, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Rev: ΑΚΜΟΝЄΩΝ, Artemis, with head right and drawing arrow from quiver, seated facing on stag running right.
Æ, 9.15g, 28 mm.
Ref.: RPC IX 847.1 = SNG von Aulock 847.

 

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Silver coin (AR Antoninianus) minted at Milan during the reign of TREBONIANUS GALLUS between 251 - 253 A.D. Obv. IMP.C.C.VIB.TREB.GALLVS.AVG.: Bust, rad., dr., cuir., r. Rev. IVNO.MARTIALIS.: Juno seated l., holding corn-ears and sceptre. (Juno Martialis was a patron goddess of Perusia. This type refers to public rituals seeking a divine remedy to the plaque.) RCS #2783. RSCIV #46. RICIV #69. DVM #15.

Silver coin (AR Antoninianus) minted at Rome during the reign of VOLUSIAN between 251 - 253 A.D. Obv. IMP.CAE.C.VIB.VOLVSIANO.AVG.: Bust, rad., dr., cuir., r. Rev. VIRTVS.AVG.: Virtus stg. l., leaning on shield and holding spear. RCS #2781. RSCIV #135. RICIV #186. DVM #46

 

ENA-283 OBV.jpg

ENA-283 REV.jpg

EO-224 OBV.jpg

EO-224 REV.jpg

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That’s a beautiful OP coin! All of the others after are great as well. Here’s my favorite Volusian, as Augustus. The picture shows contrast well but not the luster of the surfaces. It’s nearly perfect in hand and was also lost in the mail for several months!

VolusianRomeRICIV179.JPG.19f61ba50fbb301afe8c54a907887813.JPG

Volusian AR Antoninianus. IMP CAE C VIB VOLVSIANO AVG, radiate, draped bust right/ PAX AVGG, Pax standing left, holding branch and sceptre. RIC 179; RSC 70; Sear 9758.

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I agree it's difficult to get a great portrait of Volusian in silver.  I think your OP coin is great, @Tejas!

I got this sestertius a long time ago.  Despite the patina issues, I haven't found a portrait I wanted to add to this one.

image.jpeg.a149cb105ff3efb9dfd73adecefc3955.jpeg

10 hours ago, Tejas said:

What I don't understand is on what grounds these coins get attributed to Rome, Milan or the unknown branch mint. Is it just style?

I gather from Richard Beale's excellent site that 1) the Milan mint idea was just a mistake, and 2) the postulation of a branch mint is based on a disproportionate number of particular types being found in the Balkans.  (And attribution is primarily based on type rather than any style considerations.)  Quoting Beale:

Quote

 

Branch Mint (RIC incorrectly attributes these to Milan)

This issue had long been attributed to Milan.  In The Cunetio Treasure, Besly and Bland showed that the existence of hybrids that combined both the so-called Milan mint, with the Rome mint proved that these special issue coins (or fifth issue) were either minted by the Rome mint, or at least by dies supplied by that mint.  According to Jérôme Mairat in Rome XI – Trébonien Galle au Coeur de l’Anarchie Militaire, these special issue coins are found disproportionally higher in hoards of the Balkan regions so it seems that although the coins were minted at Rome, they were shipped to the Balkans to fund the war against the Goths.   Besly and Bland also showed that this special issue was contemporary with issue two and three of Gallus Rome issues.

 

That's from this page, which has a number of examples.  (Including examples ending in VOLVSIANVS, just as a note for @Ancient Coin Hunter.)

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17 hours ago, Tejas said:

PS: I still find the fact that there are now two numismatic discussion fora very unsatisfactory. 

There are many more than two.  No one is forcing anyone to post on more than one if that bothers them.  

My 'best' Volusian is the finest portrait of him that I have seen from Alexandria. Of course you have to ignore the bronze disease scars which makes the coin uncollectable to most tastes.  

pa2534fd3307.jpg.933dc1c577077c4cc952dab1b402c7e2.jpg

 

I almost did not buy the sestertius because of the surfaces. I never had a better one but it is a common coin so finding one should not be hard. 

ro1460b01991alg.jpg.493026f125011c2862fdf8b917d3a669.jpg

The common and slightly worn Pax antoninianus is more my kind of coin.  What do you consider the meaning of the star?  Also note the dative legend on this and other Volusian coins. 

ro1450bb0624.jpg.ad4b86347a3725ad268632d287b554a3.jpg

 

 

Edited by dougsmit
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6 hours ago, Ancient Coin Hunter said:

Volusian is seemingly always hailed as Vibio Volusiano (not Volusianus) so it's sort of an acclimation. (dative case perhaps?) EDIT: It is the Dative case, I googled some examples...

Yes, the form VOLVSIANO is dativ case, i.e. "to Volusian". The form also appears on coins of Valerian I, and probably some other emperors of that period. I have 7 Antoniniani of Volusianus, on two of them the legend reads "VOLVSIANVS", so maybe the dativ form was more common on his coins than the usual nominativ case.

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