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    Mint State 'Star' Fine Style Probus and Sol Aureus

    Probus (AD 276-282). AV aureus (21mm, 6.33 gm, 12h). NGC MS★ 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style, marks. Siscia, AD 277. IMP PROBVS INV AVG, conjoined busts of Probus and Sol left; Probus is laureate and cuirassed with a winged gorgoneion on his breastplate; Sol is radiate and draped / SECVRI-TAS SAECVLI, Securitas seated left, holding scepter in right hand, resting her left hand on her head; SIS in exergue. cf. RIC V.II 596 (obverse legend contains C, SIS mintmark not listed). Biaggi 1622. Calicó 4198. Jameson 297. Mazzini 632. At the time of writing, there are nine known examples struck from one obverse die and two reverse dies.

    From the Morris Collection. Ex Freeman & Sear, Fixed Price List 10 (Spring 2005), lot 122; Leu 87 (6 May 2003), lot 89; Hess-Leu 36 (17 April 1968), lot 532.

    Marcus Aurelius Probus was one of a series of tough military men from the Balkan provinces who rescued the Roman Empire from certain destruction in the late third century. Born in Sirmium in AD 232, he was the son of a peasant gardener who entered the army as a teenager and rose steadily through the ranks in a time of near constant warfare against invading barbarian war bands. By AD 276, he had achieved command of the Roman field armies in Syria and Egypt and was well-positioned to seize the throne when the elderly emperor Tacitus died. With the eastern frontiers secure, Probus hurried to Rome and won the approval of the Senate before setting off for Gaul to confront the Goths, Franks and Alemanni in succession. He crushed attempted invasions and even led his army across the Rhine to stage punitive raids in barbarian territory. Having dealt with the barbarians, Probus faced revolts by the Roman usurpers Proculus, Bonosus and Saturninus and put down each in turn. Despite years of frenzied military activity, Probus also found time to put his army to work repairing irrigation canals, roads, walls, and other infrastructure, as well as encouraging viticulture in war-ravaged Gaul. He wistfully hoped for such a profound universal peace that all armies could be disbanded. After celebrating a well-deserved triumph in Rome in AD 282, Probus departed for the Danube to prepare for a long-planned invasion of Persia. He paused at Sirmium to supervise a land reclamation project, but word soon arrived that the troops of Gaul, tired of digging ditches, had revolted and declared their general Carus as emperor. Before Probus could respond effectively, the mutiny spread through his own troops. Probus sought refuge in a guard tower, but the mutineers forced their way in and butchered him. So dangerous were the times that even an emperor as capable as Probus could not escape a grisly and undeserved death.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
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