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    Superb Claudius Aureus, Ex Biaggi

    Claudius (AD 41-54). AV aureus (20mm, 7.79 gm, 3h).  Rome, AD 46-7. TI CLAVD CAESAR AVG PM TR P VI IMP XI, laureate head of Claudius right / CONSTANTIAE AVGVSTI, Constantia seated left on curule chair, feet on stool, right hand raised towards mouth, left hand holding scroll. RIC 31. BMCRE 30. Cohen 7. Calico 340 (this coin illustrated). Biaggi 200 (this coin). Sharply struck on an exceptionally broad flan from dies of wonderful style. Choice Extremely Fine.

    Ex  Heritage 3020 (Long Beach, 6 September 2012), lot 25193; Numismatica Ars Classica 49 (21 October 2008, lot 139); ex Biaggi Collection, privately purchased in 1954. 

    The son of the great general Drusus and Antonia, niece of Augustus, Tiberius Claudius Drusus seemed well-positioned for greatness when he was born at Lugdunum, Gaul in 10 BC. But a serious childhood illness left him with a limp, a stammer, and other uncouth qualities that made him the black sheep of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. While these problems barred him from a political career, such exclusion also granted him immunity from the family's murderous intrigues and he managed to survive the bloody reigns of his uncle Tiberius and nephew Caligula while most of his relations perished. Upon Caligula's assassination in January, AD 41, Claudius was the sole surviving Julio-Claudian male and, when members of the Praetorian Guard found him cowering behind a curtain in the palace, they acclaimed him as Emperor. Claudius astutely awarded the Praetorians a substantial bonus, and with 10,000 heavily armed soldiers backing him, he easily forced the Senate to accept him. Once installed in power, Claudius surprised everyone by ruling with intelligence and moderation. In AD 43, he ordered the invasion and annexation of Britain, the first major addition of territory to the Empire since the days of Augustus. He chose provincial governors carefully and managed foreign relations with considerable skill. The unusual personification of Constantia (steadiness, courage, steadfastness) on the reverse of this beautiful gold aureus was first used on Claudius' first gold coinage in AD 41 and revived in several subsequent years. It no doubt contrasts his even-handed rule with the capriciousness of his predecessor Caligula. 




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    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    10th-16th Thursday-Wednesday
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