Roma Numismatics Ltd > Auction XXVIIIAuction date: 5 July 2023
Lot number: 636

Price realized: 34,000 GBP   (Approx. 43,235 USD / 39,759 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:

Maximinus II, as Caesar, AV Aureus. Treveri, AD 305-306. MAXIMINVS NOB C, laureate head to right / HERCVLI CONSER AVGG ET CAESS N N, Hercules standing facing, head to left, wearing lion's skin over his left shoulder and quiver over his right shoulder, holding bow and club set on the ground; TR in exergue. RIC VI 621; Depeyrot 11B/3; Calicó 5012; Bastien and C. Metzger, Le trésor de Beaurains (1977), 144, 420 (this coin). 5.35g, 18mm, 12h.

Near Mint State. Extremely Rare; one of only two examples known, both of which come from the Beaurains/Arras Hoard.

This coin published in P. Bastien & C. Metzger, Le Trésor de Beaurains (Wettern, 1977);
Ex Long Valley River Collection, Roma Numismatics Ltd., Auction XX, 29 October 2020, lot 685;
Ex Roma Numismatics Ltd., Auction 8, 28 September 2014, lot 1092;
Ex Hess-Divo AG, Auction 324, 23 October 2013, lot 90;
Ex Claude Vaudecrane (1915-2002) Collection, Leu Numismatik AG, Auction 87 (Collection of a Perfectionist), 6 May 2003, lot 110;
Ex Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 7, 1 March 1994, lot 805;
From the Beaurains (Arras) Hoard of 1922.

This coin was struck to commemorate the foundation of the Second Tetrarchy on 1 May AD 305. Born of Dacian peasant stock to the sister of Galerius, Maximinus rose to high distinction in the army thanks to his uncle's influence as Caesar under Diocletian. In 305, according to Lactantius, Galerius forced Diocletian to abdicate, and through coercion and threats convinced Diocletian to fill the two vacated positions of Caesar with men compliant to his will. Thus, with the abdication of Diocletian and Maximianus, Galerius was raised to Augustus and immediately appointed his nephew Maximinus to the rank of Caesar along with an old friend, Severus. Portrayed by contemporary writers as vulgar, cruel and ignorant, Maximinus II gained eternal notoriety for his persecution of Christians in open defiance of the Edict of Toleration issued by Galerius.

In 313, having imprudently allied himself to Maxentius, the enemy of Constantine and Licinius, Maximinus found himself at war with Licinius, who marched against him and defeated him in a decisive battle at Tirizallum, despite Maximinus' army being a veteran force that outnumbered Licinius by more than two to one. Pursued and besieged by Licinius, he poisoned himself at Tarsus in Cilicia in AD 313, eight years after being named Caesar, and five and a half after assuming the purple. His children were put to death and his wife was thrown into the Orontes at Antioch where by her orders a great number of Christian women had been drowned.

This extremely rare coin shows Maximinus before he had revealed his cruel and tyrannical nature, and gives him the stern countenance of one of the tried military emperors into whose company he was being elevated. The finely engraved, muscular figure of Hercules on the reverse is a further allusion to the militaristic responsibilities of the tetrarchic emperors, being employed here as Hercules 'the Defender', thus both emphasising Maximinus' purpose as a guardian of Rome, and at the same time ennobling him by appointing Hercules to watch over him.

Estimate: 50000 GBP