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    Astounding Julia Domna Aureus

    Julia Domna (Augusta, AD 193-217). AV aureus (21mm, 7.25 gm, 12h). NGC Choice MS 5/5 - 5/5. Rome, under Caracalla, AD 211-217. IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, draped bust of Domna right, wearing helmet-like wig of plaits, a single curl of her own hair on her cheek / FECVNDITAS, Fecunditas standing facing, head left, holding naked infant in her left arm with two further young girls at her feet. RIC Septimius Sevurus -, cf. 374 (denarius). BMCRE -. Cohen -.  RCV 7088 (this coin). Biaggi 1162 (this coin). Calic├│ 2613 (this coin). Extremely rare, possibly unique, this being the only published specimen of this type! Magnificent portrait in sculptural high relief and a charming reverse type.

    Ex George La Borde Collection (NAC 91, 23 May 2016), lot 36; ex Claude Vaudecrane Collection ("Collection of a Perfectionist," Leu Numismatic 93, 10 May 2005), lot 63; ex Biaggi Collection (Numismatik Lanz  50, 27 November 1989), lot 696; A. Hess A.G. & Bank Leu 15, (7 April 1960), lot 358; likely from the Karnak Hoard (Egypt), found 1901. 

    Julia Domna was of Syrian-Arab ancestry, as the daughter of the hereditary high priest of Elagabal at Emesa, a wealthy caravan city in the Syrian desert. Beautiful, cultured and highly educated, she was made even more of a "prize" by a horoscope that proclaimed she would marry a king. Septimius Severus probably encountered her family while serving as a general in Syria in the AD 180s; when he learned of the horoscope, he immediately wrote to her father and secured her hand in marriage. Upon Severus' ascension as Roman Emperor in AD 193, Julia was named Augusta and became his closest advisor and confidant. Her love of art, learning and philosophy manifested in a cultural  Renaissance in Rome. Her profile graces the obverse of this superb aureus, struck during the reign of her son Caracalla, while the reverse image of Fecunditas celebrates her role as the mother of the current ruler (and Geta, murdered in her arms by Caracalla's goons in December AD 211). Interestingly, this coin likely originated in the great Karnak Hoard of 1901, a stupendous find of 1200 aurei from the reigns of Hadrian through Elagabalus that brought a number of new types and incredible rarities to market, many like the present coin in superb condition. While many of the coins from the hoard were sold to the great collectors of the day such as Evans, O'Hagan, Du Chastel, and Weber, others ended up in museum collections, and some were even kept in reserve by dealers to be slowly dispersed over the coming decades. In the early 1960s, a large group that had apparently been kept intact suddenly appeared on the market, principally handled by the partnership of the numismatic firms of Adolph Hess and Bank Leu, and many of those coins still circulate in commerce today.

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

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