Aureus of Aurelian, Mediolanum

Aureus of Aurelian, Mediolanum

Aureus of Aurelian, Mediolanum

Period: Roman Empire

Country: Rome

Ruler: Aurelian

Denomination: Aureus

Mint: Mediolanum (Milan)

Weight: 4.27 g

Quality: EF with slightly rough surfaces and a few minor marks

Auction house: nomos

Date: 17 May 2017

Starting price: 4.800 CHF

Historical context

Aurelian was Roman Emperor from 270. He is considered one of the best Emperors in the Crisis of the Third Century as he defeated the germanic tribes, he restored the Empire’s eastern provinces and he conquered the Gallic Empire. For this reason, Aurelian earned the title Restitutor Orbis although it did not prevent him to be murdered in 275 when marched towards Asia Minor, preparing a campaign against the Sassanids.

The numismatic production of Aurelian is vast. He minted aureus in Rome, Mediolanum (current Milan), Siscia (Sisak), Antioch (Antakya) and Lugdunum (Lyon). In this aureus, Aurelian is represented as a fighting Emperor, wearing a cuirass and a laurel wreath. The reverse of the coin shows Mars and a captive seated. Mars representations are very common in Aurelian’s aureus and antoninianus.


This aureus is not very common but it is still not difficult to find several specimens sold in public auctions. We can take three coins as price references for the coin in the auction: this coin, in similar quality, was hammered for 6.500 GBP in 2014; this other one, again in similar quality, was hammered for $9.500 in 2011; and this one, in a slightly better condition, was hammered for 7.500 CHF in 2015. Hence, we can consider that 7.000 to 9.000 euros is a reasonable range for the hammer price of this coin. However, the auction house describes the coin as having “slightly rough surfaces and a few minor marks”. The photograph of the coin does not show many marks. So, either the coin has more marks that the ones that seem to be (in that case the price should be lower) or the seller is very strict with the coin.

Description from the seller

Aurelian, 270-275. Aureus (Gold, 20mm, 4.27 g 12), Mediolanum, 3rd emission, 271-272. IMP C L DOM AVRELIANVS P F AVG Laureate and cuirassed bust of Aurelian to right. Rev. VIRTVS AVG Mars advancing to right, holding transverse spear in his right hand and a trophy in his left; at his feet to right, seated captive. BN 427. Calicó 4048. RIC 182. With slightly rough surfaces and a few minor marks, otherwise, extremely fine.

From a Swiss collection, acquired some twenty-five years ago.

This coin and the aureus in the following lot share the same reverse die.



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