AE Double Antoninianus. 4.06g, 21.4mm
MINTED: Antioch mint, AD 275-276
REF: RIC V/1 New Online temp no. 4089; Esty, Equall, Smith, "The Alloy of the 'XI' Coins of Tacitus", 92.39 (this coin)
OBVERSE: IMP CM CL TACITVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
REVERSE: CLEMENTIA TEMP, Emperor standing right holding sceptre, receiving globe from Jupiter standing left, holding sceptre, retrograde Γ in lower centre, XI in exergue.
An example of a very rare denomination, seldom available for sale.
Although similar in appearance to the common antoninianus, this is in fact a rare double antoninianus of Tacitus, as indicated by the XI exergual mark. Following the long-held theory that the XXI mark on antoniniani referred to their silver content (ie., twenty parts copper to one part silver), it would have been the case that the XI radiates therefore contained twice as much silver, and were worth twice as much. In support of that theory, Esty, Equall and Smith for their paper "The Alloy of the 'XI' Coins of Tacitus" subjected six XI radiates of Tacitus to a variety of metallurgical tests to determine their metal composition. This coin, formerly from Warren Esty's collection, was one of them, and is numbered 92.39 in the paper. A small square section behind the bust of Tacitus shows where the surface was scraped to prepare it for the Rutherford backscattering analysis that the coin was subjected to. The paper is available online for download here:
Ex Warren Esty Collection
Tacitus was a distinguished and respected senator who was offered the throne by the Roman Senate when Emperor Aurelian was assassinated in 275. During his short reign, he restored some measure of power to the Senate, and also defeated an army of Goth mercenaries who had been marauding the Eastern provinces. He died suddenly while on his way to repulse a Frankish and Alamannic invasion of Gaul. He was succeeded by his half-brother, Florian.
TACITUS . AD 275-276 . Double Antoninianus . *Very Rare Denomination; Pedigreed*
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