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

Estimate: 30'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 24'000 CHF Price realized: 50'000 CHF
Maximianus Herculius, 286 – 308. Aureus circa 286-287, AV 5.17 g. IMP C M AVR VAL MAXIMIANVS AVG Draped bust r., wearing lion’s skin headdress. Rev. IOVI CO – NSER – VAT AVGG Jupiter standing l., holding thunderbolt in r. hand and sceptre in l. C –. RIC 494 = Glendining sale 1929, Nordheim collection, 535 (these dies). Depeyrot 2D/5. Calicó 4698 (this coin).
Extremely rare and in exceptional condition for the issue. A very appealing and unusual
portrait of great beauty struck on a very broad flan. Good extremely fine


Ladislaus von Hoffmann (1927-2014) Collection, sold by Sotheby’s, Zürich, auction 5 July 1995, lot 174.

“A European Nobleman” Collection, sold by Numismatica Ars Classica, Zürich, auction 24, 5 December 2002, lot 241.

Galerius Valerius Maximianus made his military career under Aurelianus and Probus: he was proclaimed Augustus by Diocletianus, perhaps on the 1st of April 286, and was entrusted with the government and the defence of the Danubian provinces and the Balkan peninsula.

The unsuccessful attempt to reconquer Britain against the usurpation of Carausius obliged Diocletianus to form the tetrarchic system, assigning to Maximianus, Constantius Chlorus as Caesar. Thus Maximianus went to Africa to fight the Mauretanian rebel tribes, which he defied between 297-298.

The portrait of Maximianus in the aureus seems to have undergone a process of idealisation: the head of Augustus is wearing a lion-skin, the face is framed by a ring of beard and the chin appears strong.

The motive of the pellis leonina (that of the Nemean lion, strangled by Heracles in one of his twelve labours), proclaims the figure of Hercules Comes, standing with his typical attributes (the bow and the club) of the reverse. Maximianus credited the special divine protection under which his power continued to the hero of the Roman-Italic tradition, from whom he had taken the name of “Herculean”.

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