Augustus Receives the Corona Civica
|Sale: Triton XI, Lot: 666. Estimate $2000.
Closing Date: Monday, 7 January 2008.
Sold For $6500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
27 BC-AD 14. AV Aureus (7.82 g, 3h). Italian (Rome?) mint. Struck after 16 January 27 BC. CAESAR • COS • VII CIVIBVS • SER[VATEIS], bare head right / AVGVSTVS above, S C across lower field, eagle with wings spread, standing facing on oak wreath, head left; behind, laurel branches (or trees) flanking. RIC I 277; CRI 435; Calicó 173a (this coin illustrated); BMCRE 656-8 = BMCRR Rome 4371-2; BN 911-3 (Ephesus mint). VF, edge marks, a few marks in field, flan a little wavy. Rare.
Ex Santamaria (16 January 1924), lot 17.
On this aureus, rich with symbolism, Octavian celebrates the honors conferred upon him by the Roman Senate on 16 January 27 BC: the corona civica or civic wreath of oak leaves. This wreath was typically awarded to a soldier, who in the midst of battle saved the life of a fellow soldier. In this instance, however, it refers to Octavian saving the entire state. The laurel trees represent those planted outside the entrance to Augustus’ home, and symbolize honor and respect. At this historically important time of transition, the bird of Jupiter, omnipotent god of the Romans, appears for the first time on Octavian’s coinage as Augustus. This coin is one of the earliest to show Octavian's new title and the new name by which he would become known. After his death, all future emperors would take this title as a sovereign right.