Roman Coins Militry Crisis of the 3rd Century

These are coins of the Roman Emperors during the 3rd century AD. We start off the century with a run of bad Emperors after the Civil War of 193 AD. Then starting in 234 AD there is the Military Crisis was due to the rise of the new Persian or Parthian Empire in the East. This causes severe economic and military demands on the Empire coinciding with succession problems when an Emperor passed.    & At this time the Roman Empire fractured into 3 pieces:

The regular Roman Empire with Gallienus, then Claudius II as Emperors
The Gallic Empire,    260-274 AD  (in green) started by Postumus, and
The Palmyrene Empire, 260�273 AD  (in yellow) started by Septimius Odaenathus

click on the coin for a  view of both sides

Rome Adoptive Emperors                         Rome Late Empire

Caracalla AE 45 (medallion) of Laodicea,
Province of Phrygia
coin struck 210 - 211 AD, extremely fine condition
(Dieter Gorney Auction 60, 5 Oct 1992, lot 467)

many thanks to Dane Kurth (Helvetica) of Wildwindsfor helping with the attribution.

Laodicea is located here

Caracalla 211 - 217 AD

Caracalla is one of the more common Emperors commemorated on Roman medallions. He also extended citizenship throughout the Roman Empire although it has been said that he did this to increase the tax base.

He was assasinated by his Pratorian Prefect, Macrinus who then became Emperor.

Emperor 218 - 222 AD
silver denarius
(XXX, )

wt = 3.162 g

Severus Alexander
Emperor 222 - 235 AD
bronze sestersius  
(XXX, )

not weighed as too circulated
C.E.Bullowa "Coinhunter" Fine, $16.

Maximinus Thrax
Emperor 235 - 238 AD
sestersius 20.625 g

  (XXX, )

wt 20.625 g

Emperor 3 months, 238 AD
bronze sestersius


wt= 18.268 g


Gordian III
Emperor 238 - 244 AD
bronze sestersius
Frank J. Robinson, fixed price list at $65.
photo by Jeff Knee

weight= 14.408 g

Gordian III was Caesar from 238 - 244 AD?

Philip I
Emperor   244 - 249 AD
bronze sestersius   20.279 g
(Heritage Auctions, NYICS Sale, Dec 2011, lot# 23175)

Philip-I, "The Arab"

Gallienus r. 253 - 268 A.D.
antoninianus, bronze with silver wash


wt= 3.339 g

The antoninianus is a double denarius as evidenced by the spiked crown. This coin appears to be very low grade silver but I understand they are bronze with a thin silver surface coating. During this period the antoninianus declined from 20% to 4% silver. This one appears on the outside to be about 10% silver but may be less overall.

go to to see a detailed writeup on the Roman antoninianus.

Gallienus reigned from 253 - 268 A.D.

The Sucessionist Gallic Empire [Wikipaedia]

From 260 to 271 AD the NorthWest Roman Empire including Britain, Gaul, and Germania, and parts of Hispania were controlled by a rebel Emperor.

This Separatist Gallic Empire was created by the general Postumus in command of Britain. The Gallic Emperors were: Postumus, Marius (just a short period), Victorinus, and Tetricus I and II.

Emperor 260 - 269 AD
double sestersius, bronze
very fine condition     photo by CNG

weight ~ 20 g ?

These pieces are quite common but have a huge range in weight. The exact denomination may be uncertain as one can find very heavy pieces as well as lighter ones where Postumus' Bust has the crown denoting a double denomination. I believe there is also a partially silver? denarius showing Postumus with a bare head but these are very expensive.

CNG Auction, ca. summer, 2013

Emperor 269 - 271 AD
antoninianus, bronze with original surfaces
"extremely fine condition"     photo by Jeff Knee

weight = 1.680 g

described in the 70's as crudely made but with much orginal red on surfaces. probably described as mint state today

Frank S. Robinson, fixed price list, $15.

Sucessionist Palmyrene Empire, none owned

Claudius II   r. 268 - 270 A.D.
AE 42   medallion of Cyzicus

their grade vf - exf which I think is conservative
Goldberg's auction, August, 2012
previous their auction in May, 2012
previous auction Gorney & Mosch, 2011, lot 2139

published wt is 49.06g from Goldberg's, I'll have to weigh it to make sure I wasn't cheated out of some bronze.

AE medallion from Kyzikos (Cyzicus)

obv Claudius II
rev Helios (the sun god) in a quadriga

Claudius II (Gothicus) was Caesar from 268 - 270 AD

Probus r. 276 - 282 AD
Photo taken with inside lighting. Coin actually appears silver on the outside.

wt= 4.097g

Probus (also Gothicus) was Emperor from 276 - 282 AD.

Emperor 284 - 305 AD
follis, bronze with silvered surfaces
extremely fine condition   CNG

weight= 10.429 g
unc with much original silvering on surfaces (as described by CNG).

Rome Adoptive Emperors                         Rome Late Empire