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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

 
90020160
Sale: Nomos 2, Lot: 160. Estimate CHF2000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 17 May 2010. 
Sold For CHF3100. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

C. Numonius Vaala. 41 BC. Denarius (Silver, 3.80 g 2), Rome. C.NVMONIVS VAALA Bare head of Numonius Vaala to right. Rev. VAALA Soldier, holding spear and shield, rushing left to attack a fortified stockade defended by two soldiers each bearing a sword and shield. Babelon (Numonia) 2. Crawford 514/2. CRI 322. Sydenham 1087. Very rare and with an excellent portrait. Good very fine.


The moneyer who issued this coin is unknown - as is his ancestor, whose portrait and exploit is portrayed on it. What presumably happened is that a Numonius was the first soldier to break through the walls of an enemy fortification, thus receiving the corona vallaris, a crown for being first over an enemy wall. This honor was then taken as the family’s cognomen in the form of Vaala. The portrait itself was presumably taken from a death mask or funeral bust still in the family’s possession.