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    Outstanding Vespasian Portrait

    Vespasian (AD 69-79). AV aureus (21mm, 7.46 gm, 6h).  Rome, AD 76. IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head of Vespasian right, in fine style / COS VII above cow standing right on single ground line. RIC 96. CRE 176. Cohen 117. Calic├│ 622b (same dies). A simply stunning coin, perfectly struck on a broad, round flan and fully lustrous. NGC (photo-certificate) Choice AU? 5/5 - 3/5, Fine Style.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex Stack's (New York, 2-3 December 1997), lot 349; Stack's (New York 10-11 December 1987), lot 3142. 

    Descended from a family of small-time entrepreneurs and tax farmers in the Sabine hill country north of Rome, Flavius Vespasianus was born in AD 9 and rose to prominence in the Roman Army. He gained distinction during Claudius' invasion of Britain in AD 43-44 and won a Consulship in AD 51, but fell from imperial favor when he dozed off during one of Nero's musical performances. When a Jewish faction in the province of Judaea rebelled and massacred the local Roman garrison in AD 66, Nero sent Vespasian at the head of three legions to crush the revolt. Through his able son Titus, Vespasian gained the friendship and support of Mucianus, governor of Syria, who had another three legions at his disposal. When the collapse of Nero's regime in AD 68 led to a free-for-all for the throne, with Galba, Otho and Vitellius following in quick succession, Vespasian realized he had the means and ability to make his own try for supreme power.  On July 1, AD 69, the legions of Alexandria, Egypt declared Vespasian as emperor. He decided on a policy of blockade and attrition to defeat Vitellius, but the sudden declaration of support by the Danubian legions and their invasion of Italy in the fall of AD 69 brought a much quicker victory. Vitellius was executed on December 20, and the Senate proclaimed Vespasian emperor two days later.  Arriving in Rome the following October, Vespasian celebrated a magnificent triumph for the Judaean campaign before launching an austerity program to put the Empire's finances on a sound footing. As the first middle-class emperor, he brought a businessman's common sense and a bracing dose of pragmatism to the imperial administration. Some of the blue-bloods grumbled about Vespasian's parsimony and his uncouth manners, but the return of stability and prosperity squelched most complaints, and his earthy sense of humor made him beloved by the common folk. His decade of rule was largely untroubled by revolts and conspiracies. Upon his death due to a sudden illness in AD 79 he was widely and sincerely mourned, and power passed smoothly to his son Titus.

    All Roman gold coins from the Dimitriadis Collection have been issued a photo-certificate by NGC. These may be sent in for encapsulation after the auction at the request of the buyer, free of charge. Please e-mail SamS@HA.com if you would like to utilize this option.




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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    10th-16th Thursday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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