Forces of Galba in Spain. Anonymous, 3 April-2nd half of June 68. Aureus (Gold, 20 mm, 7.23 g, 5 h), uncertain mint in Spain. Group VI. SALVTIS Draped bust of Salus to right, wearing wreath of grain ears and poppy. Rev. CONCORDIA Concordia standing front, head to left, holding olive branch in her right hand and cornucopiae in her left. BMC p. 308, (a) ('Revolt of Civilis and the Gauls, Lower Germany, AD 69-70'). D. Bocciarelli, M. Blet-Lemarquand and A. Suspène: Les Monnaies d'Or des Années 68-69 p.C. frappées dans les Provinces Occidentales, in: L. Bricault, A. Burnett, V. Drost and A. Suspène (eds.): Rome et les Provinces. Monnayage et Histoire. Mélanges offerts à Michel Amandry. Bordeaux 2017, p. 188, 8 (this coin). Calicó 450 ('Gaul'). CG 1.1 (this coin). Cohen 357. Martin 1 and pl. 1, 1 W = Nicolas 2 and pl. X, 2 v (same dies). RIC 134 ('Gallic Revolt, Lower Germany, AD 69-70'). Of the highest rarity, the best preserved of only five known examples. An exceptional coin, beautifully struck on a very broad flan and arguably one of the finest civil war aurei in existence. Light scuffs on the reverse, otherwise, extremely fine.
From the collection of Dipl.-Ing. Christian Gollnow, ex Christie's, 9 December 1991, 21, Numismatic Fine Arts XVI, 2 December 1985, 380 and Lanz 30, 26 November 1984, 480.
A recurring problem surrounding the anonymous civil war coinages is the attribution of the individual types to the various players of the turbulent Year of the Four Emperors. Die matches and type groupings can provide valuable insights, but still opinions as to which rebel struck which coins vary widely. In the case of this magnificent aureus, the seemingly nonspecific types - Salus and Concordia - have led several authors to assign it to the forces of Civilis (BMC p. 308, (a), Calicó 450 and RIC 134; also, more recently, NAC 125 (2021), 641, incorrectly referencing just two known examples), who led the Batavian rebellion in 69-70.
This, however, cannot be correct for a variety of reasons. First, it is unclear whether Civilis struck any coins at all. Secondly, the present issue is clearly connected to coins struck by the forces of Galba in Spain, as it shares the obverse type with lots 1019-1020 below, whose reverse types are connected to Galba's important ROMA RENASCENS-issue (see below, lots 1027-1038). Furthermore, the obverse with its small head of Salus with distinct headgear and a short straight nose shows close stylistic similarities to the Genius of the Roman people on lot 1004 above, Salus on lots 1019-1020, and Bonus Eventus on lot 1026 below, the latter of which also carries Galba's ROMA RENASC(ENS) as a reverse legend. The dies for these coins were certainly produced in the same workshop, if not by the same artist. Thus, there can be no doubt that our aureus was also struck by a Spanish mint in support of Galba.
In addition, it is worth noting that the types only appear to be vague at first glance: the propagation of welfare and unity is, in fact, a prominent theme in the civil war coinage, most notably in the form of the legend SALVS GENERIS HVMANI, the 'welfare of the human race', and in the proclamation of 'CONCORDIA PROVINCIARVM', the unity of the provinces. Both slogans strive to unify the forces of Galba in Spain with the Rhineland legions, the two initial players in the civil war, in the struggle against their mutual enemy, Nero.