Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Saloninus Augustus

The corpus of coins of Saloninus as Augustus is small (not to be confused with his relatively abundant coinage as Caesar), by the latest count it is approximately 50 coins; on gold quinarius and the remainder being base silver antoniniani. In terms of the numbers known this puts his coinage as emperor into the same ball park as Pacatian!

The antoniniani are known in two reverse types, SPES PVBLICA, a type that makes up about 80% of the known types and the significantly rare FELICITAS AVGG that makes up the remainder (pictured above).

The coins known of him are increasing and it was suggested that this is because a number are going unreported or misdescribed as finds or in collections, they being similar to the coins of Valerian II Caesar and even bearing the name Valerianus, (IMP SALON VALERIANVS CAES). That was the case with my specimen (above), languishing in a dealer’s stock for I don’t know how many months, identified and overpriced as a Valerian II but and absolute bargain as Saloninus Augustus.

What are the circumstances of the issue? It is clear from the style the coin is from the imperial Gallic mint, the location of which is uncertain but I favour Trier, an establishment that continued under the Gallic usurpers.

It appears that Gallienus left Gaul for Milan where he established the mobile field army, the equites, around 259/60 leaving Saloninus Caesar in the west. Either as a response to the capture of Valerian, the perceived abandonment of the west during a period of strife, combined with disquiet in the legionary ranks and machinations by Postumus the raising of Saloninus may have been a response to some or all of these factors. What is certain is that he was soon besiged and deposed by forces loyal to Postumus and his very brief reign, not acknowledged on coins from any other mint, came to an end.