Obverse: IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG; Radiate and Cuirassed Bust of the Emperor Facing Right
Reverse: RESTITVT ORBIS; Orbis Terrarum, Standing on the Left, Presenting a Wreath to Aurelian, Standing on the Right
Aurelian, full name Lucius Domitius Aurelianus, rose through the ranks of the army and became a commander of the strategic cavalry corps in 268 A.D. From this position, he joined the conspiracy against Gallienus. In 270, while he was campaigning against the Goths, he staged a revolt against Emperor Quintillus. Troops across the Empire rallied behind their highly popular general and Quintillus, who recognized the hopelessness of his cause and committed suicide shortly thereafter, paving Aurelian’s path to the throne. As Emperor, Aurelian set about restoring Rome to her past glories, soundly defeating the barbarian invaders who had been threatening the borders and sweeping away usurpers who had seized the throne of far away kingdoms. Aurelian drove Germanic invaders out of Northern Italy back across the Danube, the first of many campaigns whose aims were to secure the borders. He eliminated usurpers who claimed political control of distant provinces and restored their lands under the central authority of Rome. However, Aurelian promoted peace as much as war, overhauling the Roman welfare system and forgiving debts to government.
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’s reign passed down from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation, which still appears as vibrant today as the day it was struck.