Leo I, 457-474. Solidus (Gold, 22 mm, 4.37 g, 6 h), Thessalonica, 466 (?). D N LEO PE-RPET AVG Diademed bust of Leo I to left, wearing consular robes and holding mappa in his right hand and cruciform scepter in his left. Rev. VICORI-A AVGGG / THSOB Leo I, nimbate and in consular robes, seated facing on throne with two globes on arms, holding mappa in his right hand and cruciform scepter in his left; in field to left and right, star. Depeyrot 60/1. RIC 626. Very rare. A beautiful example of this interesting issue, perfectly centered on a very broad flan. Light traces of mounting, otherwise, nearly extremely fine.
The consulate, once the highest yearly executive office of the Roman Republic, lost most of its political powers and duties under Augustus, but remained a source of prestige well into late antiquity. Here we see Leo I in consular robes, both on the obverse and reverse, holding a cruciform scepter and the mappa, a piece of cloth used to signal the start of chariot races. When exactly this very rare issue was struck is unclear: RIC suggests the consulship of 466, connecting it to military activities in the West, most likely the campaigns against the Vandals in 465/6 and 468 and/or the support provided to Anthemius in 467. Perhaps Leo I inaugurated his consulship in 466 in the important naval base of Thessalonica to be closer to the eastern Roman expeditionary forces.