Heritage World Coin Auctions
NYINC Signature Sale 3098  18-19 Jan 2022
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Lot 33314

Estimate: 800 USD
Price realized: 2900 USD
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Gordian I Africanus (March-April AD 238). AR denarius (21mm, 3.58 gm, 11h). NGC Choice VF 5/5 - 2/5, scratches. Rome. IMP M ANT GORDIANVS AFR AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Gordian I right, seen from behind / ROMAE AETERNAE, Roma enthroned left on shield, Victory right in right hand, grounded scepter in left. RIC IV.II 4.

An enduring mystery is the excellent quality of the Roman coinage of Gordian I and II, whose reign totaled 21 days, during which neither emperor left North Africa. Despite their brief production run, coins of Gordian I and II are notable for their fine portraiture and careful quality control. Both portraits are distinctive, carefully engraved, and clearly modeled on the actual rulers. There seems to have been no "interim phase" during which the imperial portrait was simply a modified version of the predecessor (as with Trajan and Maximinus I, both of whom were absent from Rome when raised to the purple). Two possibilities suggest themselves: (1) The "spontaneous" revolt of the Gordians in Africa had actually been carefully planned in advance, with coin dies prepared in secret from busts provided to the mint workers by their backers in the Senate; (2) the production of coins for Gordian I and II extended well beyond their brief reign, perhaps running concurrently with the coinage of Balbinus, Pupienus and Gordian III as Caesar, allowing time for proper effigies of the deceased rulers to be provided to the mint.


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Estimate: 800-1200 USD
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