This genuine Ancient Roman gold coin has been
set in a modern 18 karat gold ring.
Flavius Valentinianus had risen to the position of
Praetorian Prefect under Emperor Jovian. After
Jovian’s death, he was raised to the throne by
the soldiers in Bithynia. One of his first acts as
emperor was to promote his brother Valens to
the rank of co-Augustus to rule the Eastern half
of the Empire. However, the transition of power
was complicated by the fact that the army was
marching back from Jovian’s aborted invasion of
Persia. Taking advantage of the power vacuum in
the capital, an opportunistic relative of Jovian,
Procopius, rushed ahead of the army back to
Constantinople where he was declare emperor.
Valentinian left Valens to deal with the usurper
while his set off to establish control in the west.
Valentinian set up court in Milan and spent the
majority of his reign fending off the increasingly
powerful German attacks along the Rhine. After
falling seriously ill in 367 A.D., Valentinian
appointed his young son Gratian as Augustus. By
374 A.D., Valentinian was forced to stem a new
series of German assaults across the Danube.
Valentinian eventually passed away after
suffering a stroke in 375 A.D., apparently
brought on by his frustration.
How many hands have touched a coin in your
pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the
coin traversed on its journey into our
possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull
out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of
who might have touched the coin before us, or
where the coin will venture to after it leaves our
hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of
the state that struck them, of a specific time and
location, whether contemporary currencies or
artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This
stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise
of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail
that is often lacking in contemporary machine-
made currencies. This ancient coin is a memorial
to an emperor passed from the hands of
civilization to civilization, from generation to
generation that still appears as vibrant today as
the day it was struck.