Billon Antoninianus. 3.2g, 21mm
MINTED: Samosata mint, AD 256-260
REF: RIC 287
OBVERSE: IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
REVERSE: RESTITVT ORIE-NTIS, the Orient, turreted, standing right, presenting wreath to the emperor, standing facing, head left, holding scepter.
Very Fine. Toned, porous surfaces.
The reverse legend proclaims Valerian the 'Restorer of the East', a sadly ironic declaration given the emperor's eventual fate at the hands of the Persian king, Shapur.
Ex E.E. Clain-Stefanelli Collection
Elvira Eliza Clain-Stefanelli (1914-2001) was born in Romania, and during World War II, she and her husband Vladimir were sent by the Gestapo to Buchenwald concentration camp. They survived their 3-year imprisonment and when the war was over, moved to Italy, where they worked in the numismatic trade. In 1951, they moved to the United States, where their knowledge and passion for numismatics led to them becoming curators of National Numismatics Collection at the Smithsonian. Together, they were also authors of numerous important reference works and curated an excellent personal collection of coins.
Emperor Valerian was a senator with an illustrious career prior to his ascending the throne in 253. He ruled together with his son Gallienus at a time when the Empire was facing onslaughts on many fronts. In 260, an army he led against the Persians was defeated and he was treacherously taken captive while attending a peace parley. He was then held captive at the court of the Persian king, Shapur the Great, and treated as a slave for many years. Shapur eventually tired of his royal captive and had him flayed alive. His skin was stuffed with straw and kept as a gruesome trophy.
VALERIAN . AD 253-260 . Antoninianus . Ex E.E. Clain-Stefanelli Collection
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