A unique binio of Probus from the collection of the Dukes of Gotha, acquired in 1712 by Duke Frederick II
194
Probus, 276-282. Binio (Gold, 22 mm, 7.58 g, 5 h), Rome, early 277. IMP C M AVR PROBVS P F AVG Radiate and cuirassed bust of Probus to right, breastplate decorated with gorgoneion. Rev. ADVENTVS AVG Probus, laureate and in military attire, on horseback to left, raising his right hand in salute and holding long scepter in his left. Calicó 4142 (this coin). Cohen -. S. Estiot/P. Gysen: L'atelier de Rome au début du règne de Probus (276-277), in: RN 162 (2006), p. 253 and pl. XXXVI, 34 (this coin). Gnecchi -. Pink VI/1, p. 58. RIC -. Apparently unique and with an illustrous pedigree going back to the 18th century. Light marks and with a few scrapes and bumps on the edge, otherwise, very fine.


Ex UBS 75, 22 January 2008, 1100, from the collections of Nelson Bunker Hunt, Sotheby's, 19-20 June 1990, 897 and Leo Biaggi de Blasys (1906-1979), ex Hess, 9 May 1951, 262, and from the collection of the Dukes of Gotha, acquired in 1712 by Duke Frederick II (1676-1732) from Count Anton Günther II of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen-Arnstadt (1653-1716).


When Caracalla introduced the so-called antoninianus in 215, its value of two denarii was indicated by the radiate crown already in use on dupondii (= 2 asses) since the 1st century. Likewise, his new 'biniones', or double aurei of some 13 g, also showed the emperor with a headgear of solar rays. Such multiples continued to be issued sporadically throughout the 3rd century, but their weight quickly diminished, until 'biniones' could weigh as little as 2 g under Gallienus. Aurelian's monetary reforms greatly improved the weight stability of the Roman currency, yet the very rare 'biniones' issued by the Illyriciani and their contemporaries never reverted to their original weight. Clearly they were not intended anymore to circulate as double aurei, but served as special donativa for important officers instead. Our piece, a unique binio struck in early 277 in Rome, has a weight of 7.58 g, which is a far cry from Caracalla's 'biniones' of 13 g, but still considerably heavier than most of Probus' aurei, rendering it a suitable and easily recognizable donativum. Perhaps even more exciting, however, is its wonderful pedigree, as it once formed part of the famous collection of the Dukes of Gotha, acquired in 1712 by Duke Frederick II (1676-1732).
Price: 17,500 CHF

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