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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Very Rare Portrait of Marcellus

Sale: CNG 78, Lot: 1333. Estimate $300. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 14 May 2008. 
Sold For $2400. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PHRYGIA, Cibyra. Nero(?). AD 54-68. Æ 18mm (5.86 g, 6h). Marcellus, legate(?). Bare head of Marcellus right / Eagle standing left on altar, head right, with wings displayed. RPC 2890; Imhoof-Blumer, KM 27 and pl. VIII, 14 (same dies); SNG von Aulock 8397 (Time of Tiberius). Fine, red-brown patina with traces of green. Very rare.

From the Patrick Villemur Collection.

Other than that his name was Marceullus, the identity of and office held by the individual depicted on this issue is uncertain. Certainly he held office worthy of this coinage, but during this period, no Marcellus is known to have served as a proconsul in Asia, nor is there any other reference to such an individual having served in any other important capacity. The only possibility that seems plausible is that he was a legate dispatched to attend to some important duty in Asia in the mid-1st century AD.