Postumus, Antoninianus, 260-269
Cologne - Bilon - AU(55-58) - RIC:64
- Nominał: Antoninianus
- Rok: 260-269
- Nazwa mennicy: Cologne
- Skład: Bilon
- Średnica: 22.5
- Empire, kingdom, or civilization: Ancient Rome, Roman Empire (27 BC – AD 476)
- Główna cecha: Postumus
- Emperor of the Gauls / Roman usurper: AD 260–269
- Period: The Thirty Tyrants
Marcus Cassianus Latinius Postumus’ date of birth is unknown to us and his origins remain a mystery (probably Gaul). Governor of a province in Gaul, he helped the emperor Gallienus to repel Frankish attacks on the borders of the empire. Galvanized by his success, his troops proclaimed him emperor in 260.
However, unlike others before and after him, instead of claiming the entire Roman Empire, he was content to create the Gallic Empire and establish its capital at Cologne. And the Roman Empire was sufficiently unstable so that in the absence of recognizing a certain legitimacy to him, Gallienus granted him a certain peace. While the army made him emperor, it was also the army that assassinated him in 269 following a sedition when he tried to dissuade his troops from looting the city of Mainz.
Economy and currency
Although his reign was partial and its legitimacy altogether relative, Postumus proved relatively active where money was concerned. The emperor of the Gauls was quite Roman in spirit, and so was his currency. Having at his disposal silver mines in Spain and his territory containing two large mints at Cologne and Trier, he issued aurei and Constantinian coins of superior quality to those struck by Rome. This allowed him to curb, for a time at least, the rampant inflation. On the other hand, his double sestertius in bronze was a failure, proving not heavy enough compared to the “simple” sestertius.
Picture: Engraving from the book "Portraits of Roman Emperors" by Giovanni Battista de'Cavalieri (1592)
An “AU(55-58)” quality
As in numismatics, it is important that the state of conservation of an item be carefully evaluated before it is offered to a discerning collector with a keen eye.
This initially obscure acronym comprising two words describing the state of conservation is explained clearly here:
This means – more prosaically – that the coin has been in circulation but sufficiently little that its original beauty is preserved almost in its entirety. The wear is barely visible and any other defect can only be identified with a magnifying glass or a particularly keen eye. The number (55-58) indicates that between three quarters and almost all of the original luster remains.