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    Magnificent 'Star' Caligula and Germanicus Denarius

    Gaius 'Caligula' (AD 37-41), with Germanicus. AR denarius (20mm, 3.78 gm, 10h). NGC AU★ 5/5 - 5/5. Rome or Lugdunum, AD 37-38. C•CAESAR•AVG•GERM•P•M•TR•POT, laureate head of Caligula right / GERMANICVS•CAES•P•C•CAES•AVG•GERM, bare head of Germanicus right. RIC I 18 (R2). Flashes of blue and violet on deep cabinet toning enhance the two magnificent portraits. An incredible coin in hand, well deserving of the star designation for superb eye appeal.

    Ex Heritage Auction 3030 (NYINC, 5 January 2014), lot 23928.

    Despite ranking among the worst of all Roman emperors, Caligula's coinage is interesting and attractive. As he had few, if any, real accomplishments to tout, his reverse types place great stress on his blue-blooded lineage. This remarkable denarius pairs his laureate obverse portrait with a bare headed bust of his father, the revered general Germanicus, whose mysterious death in AD 19 plunged the Roman world into mourning. There is scholarly disagreement over the mint location for Caligula's precious metal coinage. C. H. V. Sutherland and R. A. Carson, writing in Vol. I of RIC, state their belief that the early, bare headed coinage of Caligula, like that of Tiberius, was struck in Gaul at the mint of Lugdunum, but that late in AD 37, minting operations were transferred to Rome and continued there for all subsequent issues, identified by a laureate head of the emperor. J. B. Giard, author of the Bibliotech Nationale catalog in Paris, believes all of Caligula's gold and silver issues were minted in Lugdunum, and this view is supported by David R. Sear in "Roman Coins and Their Values."

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    17th Tuesday
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