Roman Empire, Severus II - Swiftly Promoted and Defeated

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Most likely struck to mark the commencement of the Second Tetrarchy in AD 305, this extremely rare coin is one of only a handful known, a few having come to light in a hoard about a decade ago. Struck using the same obverse dies as several known specimens, the reverse die of this issue is new, having the inclusion of a pellet in the doorway of the camp gate.

The scarcity of these types might be explained by the short period of time during which Severus held the position of Caesar before being elevated by Galerius after the death of Constantius I in summer 306 - in a matter of months he was raised from the senior ranks of the army to Augustus in the West. However, his time as Augustus came to an abrupt end when he was tasked with the supression of the revolt of Maxentius in Rome: he marched on the city at the head of an army previously commanded by Maximian, father of Maxentius, to whom his soldiers deserted. Severus fled to Ravenna where, in 307, he was persuaded by Maxentius to surrender.

Despite Maximian’s assurances that he would be treated with respect, Severus was nonetheless displayed as a captive and later imprisoned at Tres Tabernae. When Galerius invaded Italy to suppress Maxentius and Maximian himself, the Maxentius ordered Severus’s death. He was executed (or forced to commit suicide) on 16 September 307.

Severus II, as Caesar, AR Argenteus. Serdica, AD 305-306. SEVERVS NOB C, laureate head right / VIRTVS MILITVM, three-turreted camp-gate with no doors, pellet in doorway, ·SM·SDB· in exergue. RIC -; Gautier 24 var. (officina); RSC -; Cf. NAC 62, 6 October 2011, lot 2089 (same obv. die). 3.29g, 21mm, 12h.

Fleur De Coin. Of the Highest Rarity.