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Saturninus coins

c.280 A very obscure usurper hailing from Alexandria, Egypt, all that is known for sure is that he was promoted to the position of emperor by a mutinous army detachment formerly loyal to Probus. Saturninus must have been either a commander or a high-ranking civil servant. Speculation can point to Probus's decision to partially demobilize the army and put them to work in civic projects as a likely reason that spurred the seditious troops to name an emperor of their own. In any event, Saturninus is said to have been very reluctant in becoming a usurper. Pollio, a historian of the age, quotes him as greeting his new subjects "You have lost a useful commander and gained a wretched emperor". His premonition proved correct as his reign ends soon afterwards. Whether murdered or died of natural causes, again, is left to speculation but the safe bets have the money on the more violent outcome. The rarest coin in the entire imperial series, there are only two known coins of Saturninus and both are Aurei. And, given the lack of any other coins of his, RIC even will only go so far as to state that its authenticity is likely. There is anecdotal evidence of another usurper by the same name (and same region) during the reign of Gallienus. No coins of this other Saturninus are known.

AU Aureus


RIC 1 Aureus Obv: IMPCIVLSATVRNINVS - Laureate, cuirassed bust right.
Rev: VICTORIAEAVG - Victory advancing right, holding wreath and palm. $180,000 5/12/91.