UNCERTAIN GERMANIC TRIBES, Pseudo-Imperial coinage. Late 3rd-early 4th centuries. 'Quinarius' (Gold, 15 mm, 2.74 g, 3 h), ‘Provincial Group’. Imitating Elagabalus (?), 218-222. ΛИOV∾ ƆΛVOИI Laureate imperial head to right. Rev. OXPΩMEN / ЄVTVXI Lion walking left. Sergeev 225 corr. (same dies, but lion, not panther). Triton XIX (2016), 599 corr. (same dies, but misdated and the reverse legend misinterpreted). A highly interesting piece with a particularly attractive reverse. Original suspension loop attached and with a die break on the reverse, otherwise, very fine.
From the Aurum Barbarorum Collection.
The Triton cataloguer suggested the legend in the exergue of this reverse should be read as EYTYXY, interpreting it as a deliberate wish of 'good luck' in Greek. Tempting as this is, it is not only grammatically incorrect, the fact that the rest of the inscriptions are obviously nonsensical also speaks against it. Thus, the apparent use of the Greek word EYTYXHΣ, 'fortunate', is likely just a random succession of letters to which our classically trained eye automatically applies meaning. It is worth noting that the Triton coin was erroneously dated to the early 3rd century and classified as a simple 'barbarous imitation', whereas in the light of recent research, we know that it is certainly part of the Aurum Barbarorum from north of the Danube. This situates the coin in a very specific historical background and dates it to the late 3rd and early 4th century.
As for the types, they are very likely not derived, as one may suspect, from Philip's Saeculares coinage, but from Roman Provincial bronzes. One of the more probable prototypes was issued by Nicopolis ad Istrum in the reign of Elagabalus (Varbanov 3858). It has a very similar head with Elagabalus' typical large eye on the obverse and an almost identical lion walking to the left on the reverse. Such borrowing of types from a Provincial issue would also explain the use of letters resembling Greek script as well as the clear separation between a circular legend above the reverse motive and a straight line of letters in the exergue, a feature not occurring on Philip's Saeculares coinage (except for the officina mark).