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    Description

    Fine Style 'Star' Sextus Pompey Aureus

    Sextus Pompey, as Imperator (44-36 BC). AV aureus (20mm, 7.95 gm, 6h). NGC (photo-certificate) Choice AU ★ 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style. Sicily, 42-40 BC or 37/6 BC. MAG • PIVS •-IMP • ITER, bare head of bearded Sextus Pompeius right; all within oak wreath / PRAEF / CLAS • ET • ORAE / MARIT • EX • S • C (AE and MAR ligate), heads of Pompeius Magnus on left, and Gnaeus Pompeius on right, facing each other; lituus right in left field, tripod in right field. Babelon Pompeia 24. Bahrfeldt 87. Sear Imperators 332. RBW 1783. Crawford 511/1. Calicó 71. Well-struck from dies of fine style and bearing three important portraits. Attractively toned flan with underlying luster.

    Ex Aureo & Calico 241 (8 February 2012), lot 1; Leu Numismatik 86 (5 May 2003), lot 726.

    Sextus Pompey initiated the use of dynastic imagery on Roman coinage and was in response to the decline in traditions in favor of the larger-than-life characters popular with the masses. The careers of the recent warlords Gaius Marius, Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix, Marcus Licinius Crassus, Julius Caesar, and Sextus' own father, Pompey Magnus, had greatly benefited from the strength of their charisma. In 42 BC, when aurei of portrait type originally were struck, Marc Antony, Octavian, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, and Sextus Pompey all were fighting for supremacy. This issue set an exceptionally important precedent with Sextus honoring his family and promoting his lineage. He and his brother Gnaeus portrayed their deceased father on denarii as early as 45-44 BC, but on this series Sextus takes it a step further by portraying himself with his deceased brother and father, reminding everyone who served the Pompeian cause. This stellar aureus displays the only coin portrait of Sextus Pompey and is enclosed within an oak wreath, traditionally an award for those who had saved the life of a Roman citizen. This may have been more propaganda, symbolizing the lives he saved by taking in political refugees who escaped the Caesarean proscriptions. The reverse side showcases the portraits of Pompey Magnus and Gnaeus Pompey, flanked by implements of the priesthoods to which they had been appointed.

    This coin has been issued a photo-certificate by NGC. It may be sent in for encapsulation after the auction at the request of the buyer, free of charge. E-mail SamS@HA.com if you would like to utilize this option.


    Estimate: $200,000 - $300,000.

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    Philadelphia, PA 19107

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