Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 105   |   9 May 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 74

Estimate: 30'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 24'000 CHF Price realized: 32'000 CHF
Trebonianus Gallus, 251 – 253. Binio 253, AV 5.85 g. IMP CAEC C VIB TREB Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust r. Rev. P M TR P IIII COS II Emperor standing l., holding patera in r. hand and sceptre in l., sacrificing over altar. C –. RIC –, cf. 3 (Antoninianus). Calicó 3343 (this coin). Biaggi 1410 (this coin).
Exceedingly rare and in exceptional condition for the issue. Unusually well struck
on both the obverse and reverse. Virtully as struck and almost Fdc

This coin published:

Silvia Mani Hurter, Kaiser Roms im Münzporträt. 55 Aurei der Sammlung Götz Grabert, Stuttgart 2003, 32.


Privately sold by Bank Leu in July 1962 for CHF 8000.

Leo Biaggi de Blasys (1906-1979) Collection, acquired privately in 1978 by Bank Leu and Marco Ratto.

Sold by Bank Leu, Zürich, auction 22, 8-9 May 1979, lot 336, to Grabert.

Götz Grabert (1924-2000) Collection, sold by LHS Numismatik, Zürich, auction 97, 10 May 2006, lot 62.

For most of the first 250 years of the Roman Empire, its gold aureus was relatively consistent in weight and purity. It was affected only by adjustments in weight – usually downward, but occasionally upward. The first major decline in later history occurred under Caracalla, and subsequently under Severus Alexander. Beginning with the reign of Trebonianus Gallus, however, gold coinage became increasingly variable in weight and denomination, and medallions intended as bonuses or bribes also came to be struck with regularity. Something that certainly can be attributed to Gallus is the mainstream introduction of the ‘binio’, a gold homologue to the silver double-denarius. In some if not all cases, the binio was struck with double-denarius dies, at a heavier weight than the aureus. With the typical aureus of Gallus weighing about 3.60 grams, his average ‘binio’ weighed about 5.75 grams. The binio weighed roughly 1° times as much as the aureus, and if we examine the weight relationship between Caracalla’s silver double-denarius and denarius, we find an identical weight ratio. Furthermore, they are identically different in terms of iconography, thus giving us a perfect parallel. Indeed, had the denarius not been scrapped as a mainstream issue under Gordian III, the same comparison would probably be possible with Gallus’ denarii and double-denarii. Predecessors to the binios of this era were struck by Caracalla. However, only a handful of these have survived, and Caracalla’s truly are double-aurei medallions because their weight is double that of his contemporary aurei.

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