Menu
Welcome Sign-In | Join Now
Sold for Sign-in or Join (free & quick) includes Buyer's Premium (BP) 

Description

Pertinax: The Perils of Power

Pertinax (AD 193). AV aureus (20mm, 7.18 gm, 6h).  Rome, 1 January-28 March AD 193. IMP CAES P HELV PERTIN AVG, laureate head of Pertinax right / PROVID  DEOR COS II, Providentia standing facing, head left, raising right hand toward star in upper left field, resting left hand on breast. RIC 11a. BMCRE 11 (same dies). Calic√≥ 2389a variant (different portrait style). Cohen 42.  Rare. An expressive portrait of great power, struck in high relief, with fully lustrous fields. Perhaps the finest-quality Pertinax in existence. NGC Gem MS 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.

From the Lexington Collection. 

The brief, tragic reign of Helvius Pertinax stands as evidence of how far talent and hard work could take an individual in the Roman world, as well as the dangers of high office. Pertinax began life as the son of a freed slave. Given a good education, he first became a school teacher, then began a career with the Roman Legions and rose quickly. He won the confidence of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius during the Marcommanic War, when he took charge of a legion and intercepted a barbarian horde invading Italy. He was made a senator and heaped with honors, including the governorships of Moesia, Dacia, and Syria. With Commodus descending into megalomania, a conspiracy formed and the plotters saw the elderly, widely respected Pertinax as the ideal candidate to replace him. Whether he was privy to the plot is uncertain, but immediately after the murder of Commodus on December 31, AD 192, Pertinax went to the Praetorian camp, promised the guard a bonus, and was proclaimed emperor. The Senate enthusiastically ratified his elevation and he initiated a number of popular reforms against the excesses of Commodus, including a crackdown on military indiscipline. This, along with his failure to pay the promised donative, alienated the Praetorians, who held true power in Rome. Although one plot against him was thwarted, Pertinax made the mistake of trying to quell another mutiny by addressing the guard in person. In the middle of the address, a soldier hurled his spear and transfixed him. Pertinax had ruled all of 86 days. Due to the brevity of his reign, the coinage of Pertinax is quite rare, but of unusually high artistic quality. 

The obverse portrait of this beautiful gold aureus bears a powerful portrait of the elderly emperor, his blunt features recalling his lower-class origins. The reverse depicts Providentia reaching toward a star, perhaps indicating the new emperor's belief that the stars foretold his accession. The rating of Gem MS is the highest possible grade assigned to ancient coins by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, placing this among the finest known aurei of Pertinax. 



Service and Handling Description: Coins & Currency (view shipping information)

Sales Tax information  | NGC Coin Grading Guarantee  |  Terms and Conditions

Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

Glossary of Terms

Auction Info

Auction Dates
April, 2014
10th-16th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
Members Tracking: N/A
Page Views: 1,647

Buyer's Premium per Lot:
17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

Heritage membership

940,743
bidder-members
$883,393,574
sold in the last year

Join Now - It's Free

VIEW BENEFITS
  1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
  2. Bid online
  3. Free Collector newsletter
  4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
  5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    winnings 

Consignments wanted

Consign to the 2015 December 8 - 9 World Coins Signature Auction - Dallas.

Learn about consigning with us

I have the highest regard for your company and look forward to doing business with Heritage in the future.
S.K.
View More Testimonials

HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. To compare for yourself, visit: compete.com

Video tutorial

Getting the most out of search

Recent auctions

2015 July 9 - 12 Summer FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando Summer FUN
2015 July 9 - 12 Summer FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando Summer FUN
REALIZED $8,332,129
2015 April 9 - 14 CICF World Coins & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Chicago
2015 April 9 - 14 CICF World Coins & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Chicago
REALIZED $6,503,481
2015 April 22 - 28 CSNS Currency Signature Auction - Chicago
2015 April 22 - 28 CSNS Currency Signature Auction - Chicago
REALIZED $10,592,191

© 2015 Heritage Auctions | All Rights Reserved