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Superb Pompeian Rarity

Gnaeus Pompey Jr. as Imperator (48-45 BC). AR denarius (4.02 gm). Spain, Cordoba, 46-45 BC. IMP CN. MAGN, bare head of Pompey the Great right / PR. Q, personification of Cordoba, turreted and wearing short tunic, standing right and offering branch to Cn. Pompey Jr., wearing military attire; to right, personification of Spain or Baetica, advances left, holding trophy over her shoulder, reaching up to crown Pompey with laurel wreath, M. MINAT SABIN in exergue. Crawford 470/1c. Perfectly centered and struck in sound metal. The finest-known example of this great rarity! FDC.

From the Rubicon Collection.

Gnaeus Pompeius, self-titled 'Pompey the Great', first rose to prominence during the bloody civil wars between Sulla and the Marius / Cinna faction. As a young, talented general, his merciless tactics against the remnants of Marian party and the rebel Sertorius in Spain earned him the nickname "Kid Butcher." His swift defeat of the Cilician Pirates and unprecedented conquests in the East led to comparisons with Alexander the Great. By the mid 60s BC he was clearly the first man in Rome, but his relatively low birth and uncouth manners ensured that the blue-bloods of the Senate opposed his attempts to turn his military prestige into political power. This led to an informal power-sharing arrangement with Caesar and Crassus, the 'First Triumvirate,' which dominated Roman politics for nearly a decade. But the rise of Caesar to dominance made Civil War inevitable. Outmaneuvered and defeated, Pompey was murdered in Egypt in 48 BC, leaving his sons Gnaeus Jr. and Sextus to take up his cause. This remarkable coin, which boldly displays the elder Pompey's portrait, was struck by Gnaeus Jr. in Spain as he prepared for the great battle against Caesar at Munda in March, 45 BC, which saw the final defeat of the Pompeians. It is among the earliest portrait issues of Pompey and likely the rarest, with perhaps fewer than 10 specimens in existence, of which this is easily the finest known.

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Auction Dates
September, 2011
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