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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 135. Estimate CHF2500. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009. 
Sold For CHF10000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

P. Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus. 50 BC. Denarius (Silver, 3.98 g 7). MARCELLINVS Bare head to right of M. Claudius Marcellus, consul in 222; behind, triskeles Rev. MARCELLVS COS.QVINQ M. Claudius Marcelllus, togate and wearing wreath, walking right, carrying Gallic trophy into the tetrastyle temple of Jupiter Feretrius. Babelon (Cornelia) 69. Bauten 96. Crawford 439/1. Hill 34. RSC 409. Sydenham 1147. A superb coin, beautifully centered and with a splendid portrait struck in high relief. Good extremely fine.

This coin bears a portrait of one of the great Roman heros of the second Punic War, M. Claudius Marcellus, the general who conquered Syracuse in 211 (thus the triskeles, symbol of Sicily, on the obverse). As the reverse legend tells us, he was consul five times. In 222, during his first consulate, he defeated the Celtic Insubres under their king Britomartis; the reverse of this coin shows him bringing a trophy from that victory into the temple of Jupiter Feretrius, traditionally the first temple to have been built in Rome. The portrait itself could well go back to an image made in the general’s lifetime; there was also a statue erected in his honor in the first half of the 2nd century on which the head on the coin could have been based.