Gordian II, 238. Sestertius (Orichalcum, 30 mm, 18.91 g, 1 h), Rome, March-April 238. IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AFR AVG Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gordian II to right, seen from behind. Rev. ROMAE AETERNAE / S C Roma seated left on shield, holding Victory in her right hand and scepter in her left. BMC 23. Cohen 9. RIC 5. Very rare. A superb piece, with very attractive earthen highlights and an absolutely wonderful portrait of fine style. Very minor doubling on the reverse, otherwise, about extremely fine.
From an old Viennese collection, formed in the 1950s and 1960s and in 3rd generation family possession since.
What is especially interesting about the revolt of the Gordiani is the fact that despite the brevity of their rule - they were acknowledged as Augusti in Rome from circa April 1 to 22 - the Rome mint issued a well-designed coinage in their name consisting of very rare but carefully produced aurei, denarii and sestertii. This blends in well with the rarity of Maximinus' last emission in Rome, TR P IIII (struck in silver only after TR P III of the previous year 237 had been issued in denarii, sestertii, dupondii and asses), as it suggests that the revolt of the Gordiani was part of a wider and well-prepared conspiracy that included influential circles in the capital. If this is true, we may assume that the mint of Rome, in anticipation of the regime change, had largely ceased striking coins in the name of Maximinus I in early 238 and instead prepared the drafts and dies for a comprehensive coinage in the name of the Gordiani. When news of the revolt, which occurred in Africa on March 22, 238, reached Rome in early April, the mint immediately started issuing coins for the new Augusti, but their swift and unexpected downfall led to an abrupt end of the emission on April 22, 238, explaining the rarity of their coinage today. Sestertii, in particular, are very hard to find in attractive condition, and the present piece, with its wonderful portrait, is thus a remarkable exception.