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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 153. Estimate CHF6000. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009. 
Sold For CHF6500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Marcus Aurelius. 161-180. Sestertius (Orichalcum, 29.14 g 12), Rome, 172-173. M ANTONINVS AVG PR P XXVII Laureate head of Marcus Aurelius to right Rev. VICT / GERMA / IMP.VI / COS III / S C Inscription within laurel wreath. BMC 1455. Cohen 995. RIC 1090. A bold coin with a fine dark greenish brown patina. Extremely fine.

From the collection of Ph. S., ex Tkalec & Rauch, 14 April 1986, 328.

The reign of Marcus Aurelius marked the end of the period of peace and good government that began with Nerva. He had been picked out as a young boy as a possible successor by Hadrian, who had his actual successor, Antoninus Pius who had no male issue, adopt him and the younger Lucius Verus. Marcus was extremely well-educated and relatively well-prepared for rule when his adoptive father died in 161 and he and his ‘brother’ Lucius became co-emperors. The Parthians took the opportunity to attack Roman interests and Verus was sent with an army to throw them back, which he did with the help of a competent corps of generals. More troublesome were the Germans who attacked across the Danube frontier in 166. In 169 the Marcomanni and Quadi got as far as Aquileia and Marcus was forced to move north to defeat them. The campaign was a long one designed to defeat each of the German tribes individually - by his death in 180 it was almost completely successful and only his son and successor Commodus’ rash offer of a peace treaty prevented the complete stabilization of the Roman frontier, a mistake that would ultimately prove disastrous. This coin celebrates one of the early victories in the Roman counterattack.