Gallienus. A.D. 253-268. AV binio or heavy aureus (3.99 g, 6). Rome, ca. A.D. 265-266. GALLIENV-S P F AVG, head of Gallienus to left, wearing wreath of reeds / VICTORIA AV-G, Gallienus, in military dress and holding a globe in his right hand and a transverse scepter in his left, standing left, crowned by Victory, to his right, standing left, holding a wreath over his head with her right hand and a palm branch in her left. RIC 81; Biaggi 1479; Göbl 692b (this coin); H. Huvelin and J. Lafaurie, "Trésor d’un navire romain trouvé en Méditerranée nouvelles découvertes," RN 1980, 9; Cohen 1112. Rare. A very interesting portrait; traces of mounting and bent, otherwise extremely fine.
Ex NAC 24 (5 December 2002), 195. Realized CHF 7500 on an estimate of CHF 2500. Ex Hirsch 18, 1907 and Triton III, 1999, 1158 sales.
NAC: Of the same emission and unique portrait style as the eight-aureus medallion catalogued below, this piece qualifies as a 1-aureus medallion, which often is called a 'binio'. The weight standard for the aureus during the reign of Gallienus has long puzzled scholars: not only is it difficult to divine the weight of a standard aureus, but in this particular reign it often is difficult to separate 'binios', heavy aurei and quinarii from the standard aurei. Compounding the problem is the fact that adjustments were made over the course of Gallienus' 15 years on the throne, and unless the issues can be dated with confidence, the patterns of adjustment cannot be understood. Some generalizations can be gleaned from a study published by West in 1941 (ANS NNM 94). He concluded that Gallienus struck his aurei at 70 to the Roman pound (c. 4.7 grams) in his initial issue of 253-254, which represented a great improvement over his predecessor, Trebonianus Gallus, who had dropped the aureus to 90 per pound. However, Gallienus soon faced a chronic shortage of precious metals, and there is ample reason to believe that for the remainder of his long reign he coined his aurei at Gallus' weight of 90 per pound. A notable exception is the 'heavy aureus' Gallienus struck with some regularity, which can be distinguished by their heavier weight standard (80 per pound) and the fairly consistent feature of a radiate portrait. Thus, we might consider the following as weight guidelines for the post-accession gold of Gallienus: a 'binio' should weigh about 5.46 grams (1/60 lb.), a 'heavy aureus' should weigh about 4.10 grams (1/80 lb.), an aureus should weigh about 3.64 grams (1/90 lb.), and a quinarius should weigh about 1.82 grams (1/180 lb.). Though a broad survey of Gallienus' gold will reveal many pieces that fall uncomfortably in-between these ideal weights, all seven pieces in this offering, including the two multiple aureus medallions, support the prospect that Gallienus' standard aureus was struck at 90 to the pound.