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    Description

    Caesar Portrait In Gold

    Octavian, as Consul (43 BC), with Julius Caesar (dictator 49-44 BC). AV aureus (21mm, 8.08 gm, 5h). NGC Choice VF 4/5 - 3/5. Military mint in Transalpine and Cisalpine Gaul,  July-August 43 BC. C · CAESAR · COS · PONT · AVG· (partially ligate), bare head of Octavian right / C · CAESAR · [DICT · PER]P PONT · MAX (partially ligate), laureate head of Julius Caesar right. Crawford 490/2 (R3). CRI 132. Cohen 2. Sydenham 1321. Calicó 52. Newman "A Dialogue of Power in the Coinage of Antony and Octavian," ANS AJN 2 (1990), 43.9 (this coin). Very rare, one of exceedingly few near-contemporary portraits of Julius Caesar in gold. With two clear portraits struck on a broad flan, the reverse a tad off center, the portrait of Caesar appealingly veristic.

    Ex Goldberg 55 (29 October 2009), lot 118; Triton V, (15 January 2002),  lot 1837; Sotheby's (4 November 1978), lot 5. 

    A goal of many collectors of the Roman series is to obtain a portrait set of the first Twelve Caesars in gold aurei. The main impediment to assembling such a set is the difficulty in obtaining the very first portrait, Julius Caesar. While relatively plentiful in silver and bronze, actual portraits of Caesar in gold are surprisingly scant, with likely fewer than 50 of all known types extant. The type struck closest to Caesar's lifetime is the present example, issued by his grand-nephew and adoptive heir Octavian; the coin was likely struck at a military mint in southern Gaul upon his assumption of the Consulship in July of 43 BC (since the obverse titles omit any reference to the yet-to-be-formed Second Triumvirate with Mark Antony and Lepidus, the type cannot have been struck in 40 BC as asserted in Calicó). The portrait of Caesar on the reverse makes no reference to his pending deification, but repeats his names and titles as the stood upon his assassination on March 15, 44 BC. The portrait is highly veristic and shows the great dictator as a prematurely aged man of 54, with sunken jowls and a long turkey-like neck. All other portrait gold coins depicting Caesar, all excessively rare, were struck much longer after his death and sport more idealized portraits. 


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2018
    7th-8th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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