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Barbarous Imitations

Why were these ancient imitations minted in such quantities?


While the most sought after coins can reach astronomical prices, there is no shortage of Roman coins to be found for a modest price. Despite its ugly, rough, irregular flan, abstract variation on a Tetricus I Antoninianus, blundered legends, brown and rusted patina, line drawing rendition of "PAX" with a right arm that looks more like a cornucopia than a scepter, I like the rugged look of this coin from the northwest territories that were separated from the Roman Empire between 260-274 AD as the Gallic Empire.


Aurelian reunited the empire in AD 274 in a bloody defeat of Tetricus' army in the Battle at Châlons (today Châlons-en-Champagne, France). Tetricus surrendered and survived, perhaps by betraying his army, and later was appointed by Aurelian governor in Lucania (southern Italy).

Obv: IMP TETRICVS, crude radiate bust right.

Rev: P X AC, Pax standing left, holding branch and sceptre (or cornucopia?)

Size: 2.8 g, 19 mm.


A shortage of official coins in the northwest with Aurelian's reform of the monetary system is a leading explanation for why there are so many barbarous coins from this time.

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