Rhine Legions. Anonymous, circa May/June-December 68. Denarius (Silver, 17 mm, 3.68 g, 6 h), uncertain mint in Gaul or in the Rhine Valley. 'G P R Group II'. G•P•R Draped bust of the Genius of the Roman people to right; behind, scepter. Rev. MARS VLTOR Mars, nude but for helmet and parazonium slung around his chest, advancing right, wielding spear in his right hand and holding shield in his left. BMC 21 note. CG 35.3 (this coin). Cohen -. Martin 25, but cf. 24 and pl. 2, 24 P (for an aureus struck from the same reverse die). Nicolas 26, but cf. 24-25 and pl. I, 24 P & 25 CAL (for aurei struck from the same reverse die). RIC 48. Extremely rare. An exceptional coin, very well struck on good silver, beautifully toned, and by far the finest of only six known examples. About extremely fine.
From the collection of Dipl.-Ing. Christian Gollnow, ex Numismatica Ars Classica 92, 23 May 2016, 501 and Lanz 128, 22 May 2006, 291.
This beautiful coin with its fine die engraving stands out remarkably from the otherwise mostly crude civil war coinage. However, in a troublesome time such as the turmoil of 68-69, style differences are not necessarily equivalent to different mints. In fact, the dies for this coin perhaps simply reveal the hand of a particularly talented engraver. On the other hand, the volatile military situation and the fact that the Rhine Legions operated from different bases, permanent or mobile, may very well have led to a decentralized production of coins, with this issue perhaps having been struck in a different place from its cruder relatives offered above (lots 1135-1137).