UNCERTAIN GERMANIC TRIBES, Pseudo-Imperial coinage. Late 3rd-early 4th centuries. 'Aureus' (Electrum, 21 mm, 6.26 g, 12 h), ‘Provincial Group’. Imitating a pseudo-autonomous issue. [...]IƆ\/\/IOƆIIOIOIIOИOIIIƆIIIO\ Bare head of Herakles with long beard to right. Rev. [...]II/\COI IIIIOO Eros standing on the left, nude, winged and legs crossed, and Psyche, on the right, half-draped and with small wings, preparing to embrace. Aurum Barbarorum II, 1930 corr. (same dies, but reverse misdescribed). An exceptional piece with a highly interesting reverse struck on a very broad flan. Holed and the reverse somewhat double struck, otherwise, very fine.
From the Aurum Barbarorum Collection.
When the first example of this intriguing issue emerged in Leu 7, this cataloguer misinterpreted the reverse as showing Eros leaning on an extinguished torch due to the coin's poor strike and the fact that Psyche's head was mostly obscured by the perforation of the coin. With the emergence of the present piece, however, it becomes clear that the scene is actually derived from Roman Provincial coins showing Eros and Psyche embracing each other, an image that reproduces a famous late Hellenistic group of statues originating from the school of Pasiteles (1st century BC). These coins were issued under the Severans in Serdica, a city in Thrace which likely housed a copy of the group of statues. On any account, the combination of a pseudo-autonomous obverse, Herakles, with the endearing couple of Eros and Psyche on the reverse is exceptional even among the ever-surprising Aurum Barbarorum.