Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A Proculus coin from Yorkshire

 The newly discovered coin of Proculus
Just as the British soil gave us the second known coin of the third century Gallic usurper Domitianus II five or six years ago now (and coming from a secure archaeological context thereby confirming the authenticity of the first specimen) now we have a new rarity from the same period.

A coin of Proculus, only the second recorded, has been discovered by a metal detectorist on land near Stamford Bridge in North Yorkshire. I understand that it has been properly recorded by the Yorkshire Museum in York.

Obv: IMP C PROCVLVS AVG, radiate, cuirassed bust right
Rev: VICTORIA AVG, female figure standing left, holding wreath and sceptre

Proculus is recorded in the Historia Augusta as a short lived usurper under the Roman emperor Probus c.280 AD, establishing himself in Cologne after the Alemanne had invaded Gaul. When Probus moved against him he went over to the Franks who, shortly afterwards, delivered him into the hands of Probus.

Judging by the style of the coin it is not the product of any of the established mints. Its crude appearance, the sketchy look and the V on the reverse rendered as U, has more in common with the local radiate imitations that were prevalent in the north western provinces of Europe and Britain at the time. It might say something about the areas under the control of Proculus.

Both known coins are apparently from the same dies, again symptomatic of a very brief issue (compare this with the 50 obverses and 54 reverses recorded by Gilljam of the VICTORIA AVG coins of Laelian, a usurper that survived probably three or four weeks). 

 The first recorded Proculus coin
The first example, from an unknown find spot, came to light in a German auction hosted by Bankhaus Aufhauser in 1991 (lot 640, auction 8, 9-10 October 1991).