By Chris Chatigny – Numismatist & Cataloger, Stack’s Bowers Galleries ……
The momentum is increasing for our Stack’s Bowers Galleries August ANA World’s Fair of Money auction, as we preview outstanding numismatic treasures each week. For this installment, we have an ancient Roman coin issued at the beginning of the fourth century CE, under the Roman emperor Galerius.
Born a peasant near the Danube in modern day Bulgaria, Galerius would rise through the military ranks to become the Praetorian Prefect for Emperor Diocletian. When Diocletian created the Tetrarchy–the system of four emperors (two senior, two junior) to better organize the sprawling empire–Galerius was chosen as the junior emperor or Caesar of the East. Galerius’ dominion lay over the Danube region of his birth, and included Illyria, Moesia and Thracia (the modern-day Balkans and Greece). From the regional capital of Sirmium, Galerius vigorously fought back against the Goths and other tribes who harassed the Empire from across the Danube.
As the years wore on and after the passing of his three contemporaries in the original Tetrarchy, Galerius struggled in vain to maintain the principles of Diocletian against power hungry upstarts. When Galerius finally succumbed to illness, the order brought by Diocletian’s Tetrarchy died too, as the four emperors vied for sole control of the vast empire.
The featured gold aureus follows the well-established pattern, displaying the right-facing head of Galerius wearing a laurel crown, flanked by his name and royal titles. The reverse shows a right-facing standing figure of Emperor Galerius, holding a spear across his chest in his right hand and a globe in his left, reinforcing his sources of power – military might and the governmental role he held.
This coin is superb, possessing a fantastic strike from dies of the finest style. The surfaces are exceptional as well, displaying beautiful luster. The designs are well-framed, thanks to outstanding centering. Overall, this coin is deserving of a multitude of superlatives; be sure to view this coin in hand to appreciate the exquisite detail.
We are now accepting consignments of world and ancient coins for our August 2016 ANA Auction as well as Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our August 2016 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.