Incredible Caligula-Germanicus DenariusGaius 'Caligula' (AD 37-41), with Germanicus (died AD 19). AR denarius (20mm, 3.78 gm, 11h). 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 18 (R2). BMCRE 19. RSC 4. Perfectly struck in sound metal on a broad, round flan and possessing full legends and two outstanding portraits. Rich, beautiful iridescent toning. An extraordinary specimen, certainly among the finest known of this rare denarius type! Choice Extremely Fine.
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 bareheaded 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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