Johannes, usurper, 423-425. Solidus (Gold, 21 mm, 4.49 g, 6 h), Ravenna. D N IOHAN-NES P F AVG Pearl-and-rosette-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Johannes to right. Rev. VICTORI-A AVGGG / R - V / COMOB Johannes standing front, head to right, holding vexillum in his right hand and Victory on globe in his left and placing his left foot on captive below. Depeyrot 12/1. RIC 1901. Very rare and with a beautiful portrait and an excellent pedigree. A few light marks and with minor weakness on the reverse, otherwise, nearly extremely fine.
From the collections of Regierungsrat Dr. iur. Hans Krähenbühl, A.H.F. Baldwin, Glendining, 20-21 November 1969, 450, Colonel R.H. Morcom, Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 2-3 December 1924, 294 and Sir A.J. Evans, Naville III, 16 June 1922, 252.
Johannes came to power in the wake of Honorius' sudden death on 15 August 423, which left the western empire without a ruler for three months. With Theodosius II in Constantinopolis hesitating to appoint a successor, Johannes was declared emperor on 20 November 423 by the Senate in Rome and the military leadership of Italy. We do not know much about his personal background other than that he was a Christian and perhaps of Gothic origin. Johannes tried to come to an agreement with Theodosius II, but the ruler of the eastern half of the empire appointed his five year old nephew Valentinian to Caesar of the west in 424 instead and sent an army to Italy to dispose of the usurper. Johannes was killed in May 425 in a conspiracy and succeeded by the underage prince, whom we today know by the name Valentinian III. It is worth noting that Johannes was the last western Roman emperor to portray himself with a beard on his coins.