Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 105   |   9 May 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 82

Estimate: 30'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 24'000 CHF Price realized: 32'000 CHF
Salonina, wife of Gallienus. Aureus 253/4-259, AV 2.26 g. SALONINA AVG Diademed and draped bust r. Rev. PIETAS AVGG Pietas seated l., holding sceptre in l. hand and extending r. to two children standing r. at her side. C –. Göbl 229a. RIC 11. Calicó 3677 (this coin). Biaggi 1506 (this coin).
Very rare and in exceptional condition for the issue, undoubtedly among the finest
specimens known. Unusually well struck on a full flan and good extremely fine


Privately sold by Bank Leu in August 1959 for CHF 4300.

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

Sold by Numismatica Ars Classica, Zürich, auction 46, 2 April 2008, lot 660.

Sold by Numismatica Ars Classica, Zürich, auction 52, 7 October 2009, lot 560.

If we believe the ancient sources, Salonina was the equal of Agrippina Senior or Faustina Junior for her intrepid spirit and her support of the army; indeed, she was hailed Mater Castrorum (‘mother of the camp’) early in the reign of her husband Gallienus. Many other virtues are attributed to her, generally in an attempt to contrast her dutiful qualities with those of her husband. However, we must remember that Gallienus was unfairly maligned by hostile literary sources from the senatorial class, for whom Gallienus had no sympathy in these troubled times. Both Salonina and Gallienus were patrons of the arts, and were great supporters of Plotinus, the Neoplatonist philosopher of the mid-3rd Century. We have no reason to doubt that she indulged in the flamboyant lifestyle of her husband, for on certain provincial coins, notably from Ionia and Lydia, she is accorded the unusual title Crysogone, meaning ”Golden Born” or ”Begotten of Gold”. Salonina married Gallienus in about 240, and by him had three children, all of whom are represented on the reverse of this aureus. Because the main figure, representing Salonina, is not veiled, we should presume that the piety she expresses is to her family, not the gods. Two of these children, Valerian II and Saloninus, held imperial rank under their father, but both died tragically before their parents – the former while on campaign with his father in Illyricum, and the latter by execution in Gaul during the rebellion of Postumus. Contradictory information survives about the third child on the reverse, who may have been a three-year-old boy named Licinius Egnatius Marinianus or a daughter named Licinia Galliena. This child perished in September, 268 or shortly thereafter, in the purge of Gallienus’ partisans; dying with this child were Gallienus’s brother and his youngest child Marinianus, who was consul in 268.

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