Philip I, 244-249. Aureus (Gold, 20 mm, 4.83 g, 1 h), Rome, 245-246. IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Philip I to right, seen from behind. Rev. ANNONA AVGG Annona standing front, head to left, holding grain ears in her right hand and cornucopiae in her left; at her feet to left, modius containing grain ears. Bland 24l (this coin, O14/R03). Calicó 3246. Cohen 23. Mazzini III, p. 304, 23 (this coin). RIC 28a. Very rare and with a most remarkable pedigree. Minor marks and scratches, and the flan slightly wavy, otherwise, about extremely fine.
From the collection of Regierungsrat Dr. iur. Hans Krähenbühl, ex Leu 13, 29-30 April 1975, 478 (with original dealer's ticket), from the collection of E. von Schulthess-Rechberg ('ESR'), Hess-Leu 17, 23 March 1961, 323, and from the collections of Ing. G. Mazzini (1883-1961), H. Platt Hall, Part II, Glendining, 16-21 November 1950, 1864, E.J. Seltman, Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 6-7 July 1921, 88 and H.O. O'Hagan, Esq., Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 13-22 July 1908, 610.
Born of humble Arabian origin, Philip I rose to the rank of Praetorian Prefect under Gordian III and played a crucial role in the latter's campaign against the Sasanids in 243-244. Whether Gordian died in February 244 in battle, as was claimed by the Sasanids, or from a conspiracy originating in his own ranks is unclear, but Philip's quick succession to the throne has aroused suspicion that he may have been involved in a plot. The new emperor started his reign by concluding a humiliating peace treaty with the Sasanians, in which he agreed to pay a once off tribute of 500,000 gold dinars and cede Armenia to the enemy. Philip spent the years 245-247 fighting off invasions on the Danube frontier before returning to Rome to celebrate a triumph in 247 and the huge millennium celebration of the founding of the capital in 248. Despite these successes, however, his downfall came just one year later through the rebellion of his general Trajan Decius, who defeated and killed Rome's Arab emperor in September or October 249 near Verona.