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Valerian II

Emperor A.D 256 - 258

Valerian II was the eldest son of Gallienus. He was promoted to Caesar in A. D. 256 but died while on campaign along the Danubian frontier in A. D. 258

During the late 250's and early 260's A. D., the silver coinage of the Roman Empire deteriorated to the point that the silver content of the coins was only five or ten percent. Many coins of Valerian I, Valerian II, Saloninus, and Gallienus quickly turned gray, then black soon after they went into circulation. Though they might have been bright silver when new, they quickly corroded, some even becoming covered with patches of green verdigris.

The quality of the art and the skill displayed in the workmanship rapidly declined during this era, resulting in some of the ugliest coins of all times circulating in the Roman Empire. Even so, these coins had great historical significance because they clearly demonstrate what was happening to the quality of the money and the decline of economic conditions in general. The author has a collection containing quite a few of these, and has on occasion put together a display showing how one can judge the decline of the Roman economy by the color of the metal in the coins struck from about A. D. 250 to 270. Trajan Decius' nicely struck coins of decent silver on the left gradually darken until the sloppy, small, chocolate brown, black and green radiates of Claudius II on the right signify the absolute low point in the quality of the coinage. The particular specimen shown at the top right hand corner of this page was probably highly corroded, then cleaned. The metal has a slightly red coppery tinge showing through the silver that is not entirely evident from looking at the photo.


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