Uranius Antoninus, 253 – 254. Aureus, Emesa 253-254, AV 5.88 g. L IVL AVR SVLP ANTONINVS Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust l. Rev. SAECVLARES AVGG Cippus inscribed COS I. C –. RIC 7. Baldus 88 (these dies). Delbrueck, NC 1948, p. 15, 3 and fig. 4. Calicó 3395 (these dies).
Estimate: 45'000 CHF
Starting price: 36'000 CHF
Price realized: 95'000 CHF
Extremely rare and a very interesting issue. Weakly struck
on obverse, otherwise extremely fine
Sold by Numismatica Ars Classica, Zürich, auction 59, 4-5 April 2011, lot 1122.
Sold by Gemini LLC, New York, auction IX, 8th January 2012, lot 518.
Uranius Antoninus produced a remarkably diverse and interesting coinage, especially considering he reigned so briefly, and under such dire circumstances. It consists of imperial-style aurei, excessively rare denarii struck from aureus dies, and three types of provincial-style coinage – silver ‘tetradrachms,’ billon tetradrachms and large bronzes.
His aurei, which present his full name, Lucius Julius Aurelius Sulpicius Uranius Antoninus and bear a portrait reminiscent of Elagabalus, were struck at a heavy standard for the period, between 55 and 60 per Roman pound. His contemporaries lagged far behind: Trebonianus Gallus (251-253) struck aurei at 1/90th of a Roman pound, and though Valerian and Gallienus struck their aurei at 1/70th of a pound in their accession year of 253/254, they subsequently fell to the same light standard of Gallus.
His coinage includes an issue of provincial bronzes dated to the 565th year of the Seleucid Era, thus providing an anchor date of 253/254 for his rebellion. Even so, the reverse type of this aureus is of chronological value, as it suggests Uranius’ rebellion and coinage could not be earlier than 248 since it copies a type that Philip I (244-249) introduced in that year for the millennial games in Rome.