|Sale: Triton XI, Lot: 671. Estimate $1500.
Closing Date: Monday, 7 January 2008.
Sold For $2200. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
27 BC-AD 14. AR Denarius (3.87 g, 12h). Pergamum mint(?). Struck 27 BC. CAESAR, bare head right / AVGVSTVS, bull standing right. RIC I 475; RSC 28; BMCRE 662-3 = BMCRR East 284; BN 941-943. Near EF, toned. Rare without a flan crack.
Prideaux notes that these coins were minted in Asia Minor but argues against Sutherland’s suggestion of a mint in Samos. The quality of the coins, their portraits, strike, and a precise die alignment at 12 o’clock, suggest they were struck at a permanent mint such as Ephesus or Pergamum, rather than an ad hoc mint travelling with Octavian (these coins certainly do not look like campaign issues). Such an “imperial” issue, far from the political life in Rome, would have had a strong military meaning, and was likely minted to pay soldiers or veterans. This is evident from the reverse type; the bull was the symbolic animal of Caesar’s personal legions. It is short step from there to conclude that this particular depiction with the bull’s head erect, a type not seen on pre-Caesarian coinage, gives us a precise picture of Caesar’s legionary symbol. This type, most commonly found on western mint issues, emphasized Augustus’ strong connection to Caesar’s veterans, who he had famously given land in the East and the West for the establishment of colonies.