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    Rarity, Brilliance, Beauty Combined

    Commodus (AD 177-192). AV aureus (20mm, 7.22 gm, 5h). Rome, ca. AD 183-184. M COMMODVS ANTON AVG PIVS, laureate and bearded head of Commodus right / P M TR P VIIII IMP VI COS IIII P P, Jupiter standing left, holding scepter and thunderbolt; at feet to left, eagle. RIC 70 var. (bust type). Calicó 2299 var. (same). Extremely rare. Well-centered and lustrous. NGC Choice MS 5/5 - 5/5.

    From The Lexington Collection of Jonathan K. Kern.

    Once again, the Lexington Collection has yielded a stunning rarity. This aureus of Commodus is a variety of RIC 70 and Calicó 2299; both of those types have an obverse bust type of Commodus laureate and cuirassed right, as opposed to this example, which is just laureate head right. What is interesting, however, is the relative rarity of these pieces. RIC lists that type as "Scarce" while Calicó calls it "Scarce 5," meaning it doesn't even register as "rare" in his reckoning. However, an examination of auction records reveals only a singular example of this type on the open market in the last ten to fifteen years; the Biaggi specimen, which sold in NAC 49 (21 October 2008), lot 295 and was subsequently resold in Gerhard Hirsch 263 (24 September 2009), lot 2811. That coin also happens to be the piece chosen by Calicó to illustrate the type in The Roman Aurei, which apparently was the nicest example he could find for that type, despite the fact that it is graded a solid Very Fine. The one other example of the type that we could locate is in the British Museum (BMCRE 116; pl. 94, 1). So despite the suggestions of Mattingly/Sydenham and Calicó to the contrary, it would seem that this type is actually quite rare, if not extremely so. Further adding to its rarity is the fact that the example from the Lexington Collection is an unpublished variety of what is already a very rare type. Above all is the stunning quality of this coin. Graded a superlative Choice MS by NGC, this coin possesses brilliant luster and a refined portrait in extreme high relief, making it a miniature masterpiece of Roman art. 

    View all of [The Lexington Collection of Jonathan K. Kern ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2014
    8th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 691

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