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    Description

    Impressive Caesar Portrait

    Julius Caesar as Dictator (49-44 BC). AR denarius (18mm, 4.00 gm, 2h). Rome, M. Mettius as Moneyer, March-April 44 BC. Wreath head of Caesar right; CAESAR to right, IMPER to left / Venus standing left, holding Victory in extended right hand and transverse scepter in left, resting left arm on shield set on globe; A in left field; M • METTIVS to right. Crawford 480/17. Sydenham 1055. CRI 101. RSC 35. Rare. A beautiful portrait from one of the last issues of Julius Caesar. NGC Choice XF? 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.

    From The Lexington Collection of Jonathan K. Kern. Ex A Gentleman's Collection (Triton XII, 6 January 2009), lot 511; Leu 72 (12 May 1998), lot 395; Münzen und Medaillen AG XIX (5 June 1959), lot 126.

    For two centuries, Rome had spurned the Hellenistic practice of placing the ruler's portrait on the coinage of the realm, much as they rejected the concept of kingship altogether. So early in 44 BC, many Romans must have been stunned to see the image of Julius Caesar, recently appointed dictator for an unprecedented fourth time, on circulating silver denarii. Like a profusion of other honors and titles, the right to place his image on coins had been bestowed on Caesar by the Roman Senate. Caesar's enemies may have had an ulterior motive in approving the honor, as it almost certainly would fuel the growing suspicion that Caesar intended to name himself king of Rome. If this was the intent, it succeeded, for within three months a conspiracy had been formed and Caesar was duly assassinated at a meeting of the Senate on March 15, 44 BC. This silver denarius carries a startlingly realistic, warts-and-all portrait of Caesar on the obverse and the image of the dictator's patron goddess, Venus, on the reverse. The obverse legend acclaims Caesar as "Imperator," or victorious general. Within a few years, Caesar's successors and even his assassins would show no compunction about putting their portraits on their coins.



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    Auction Info

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