Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich
Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich, Auction 117

Greek, Roman and Gupta Empire gold coins

Tu, 01.10.2019, from 04:45 PM CEST
The auction is closed.


Quintillus, brother of Claudius II, July – September (?) 270. Aureus, Mediolanum July – September (?) 270, AV 4.87 g. IMP C M AVR QVI – NTILLVS AVG Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust r. Rev. MA – RTI PAC Mars standing l., holding olive branch and transverse spear; in exergue, P. C –. RIC –. Lafaurie Trésor –. Huvelin and Lafaurie Trésor 1980, –. Calicó 3973 (this coin).
Apparently unique. A very attractive portrait and an interesting reverse type.
Usual matt surface with some minor marks, otherwise about extremely fine

Ex Sotheby’s Zurich 26 October 1993, 116 and NAC 51, 2009, 395 sales. From the collection of a Retired Banker.
From the mid-250s through to the early 270s A.D., the fortunes of Rome were in a steep decline, and their coinage reflected this suffering. Gold coinage became rare and infrequently issued, silver was replaced with low-grade billon that was hastily struck with poor quality dies, and the once-voluminous bronze coinage was essentially discontinued. However, within this period of relentless decline there were occasional moments of brilliance. With coinage, one instance is an issue of aurei produced at Milan for Quintillus on his accession late in 270. The portrait is a sublime work of art, so well sculpted and sympathetic that it would seem better placed in an earlier age. The artist achieved a rare balance, projecting constancy, yet capturing the underlying tension and uneasiness of the age. Few portraits from this era truly compare, though we may note some stand-outs: aurei showing the portrait of Gallienus wearing a lion’s scalp, select portraits of the Romano-Gallic Empire (notably the facing-portrait aurei of Postumus), and the eight-aureus medallions of Quintillus’ brother, Claudius II. Not long after this inspired die was cut, the fate of Quintillus was sealed by the army stationed in northern Italy, which paid no heed to the fact that he had been confirmed by the senate. The legions who had served under Claudius II during his great war against the Goths had thrown their support behind their new commander, Aurelian, who had led the cavalry under Claudius II and was now finishing the campaign by driving the remaining Goths across the Danube. The Italian legions, which did not welcome a civil war, especially with the seasoned legions of Pannonia, soon made their decision. After a reign of perhaps two or three months, Quintillus, undoubtedly aware of the fate that awaited, committed suicide in October or November 270 rather than face execution at the hands of his soldiers.

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Price realized 170'000 CHF
Starting price 48'000 CHF
Estimate 60'000 CHF
The auction is closed.
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