Probus, 276-282. Antoninianus (Silvered bronze, 22 mm, 2.87 g, 1 h), Siscia, 277. IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG Radiate and cuirassed bust of Probus to right. Rev. SISCIA PROBI AVG / XXIQ Siscia seated to left on throne, holding a long diadem with both hands; to left and right, the river-gods Savus and Colapsis holding urns from which water flows. Cohen 635. RIC 765. Rare. An attractive example of this interesting and popular issue. Slightly rough, otherwise, very fine.
Siscia, the nearest imperial mint to Probus' home town of Sirmium, appears to have maintained close relationships with the emperor: it issued a number of unusual reverse types that boast the emperor's origin in the region (ORIGINI AVG, RIC 701-3) or call him 'our Augustus' (VICT PROBI AVG NOSTRI, RIC 793-4). Our coin is an excellent example of the most famous type from this series: it calls Siscia the '[town] of Probus Augustus' and shows the personification of Siscia flanked by the river-gods Savus and Colapsis. This is one of just very few cases of the portrayal of a local motive on a Roman imperial coin. Siscia was situated on the confluence of the Savus (Sava) and the Colapsis (Kupa) in modern-day Croatia, a strategically important location as it was here that the Sava became navigable and thus served as a quick and reliable transport route between the important military infrastructure of Northern Italy and the Danube frontier. While the initiative for this extraordinary series of coins likely came from local officials at the imperial mint, there can be no doubt that Probus did indeed favor his home region - possibly due to pride in his origins, but certainly also because of its strategic position and its importance as a recruitment area for the Roman army.