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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 2, Lot: 172. Estimate CHF15000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 17 May 2010. 
Sold For CHF31000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Caligula. 37-41. Denarius (Silver, 3.64 g 6), Rome, 40. C.CAESAR.AVG.PON.M.TR.POT.III.COS.III Laureate head of Caligula to right Rev. S.P.Q.R. / P.P /OBC.S. within oak wrreath. BMC -. Cohen 21. RIC 28. . Very rare. A lovely example, sharp and particularly attractive, Good extremely fine.

The coinage of Caligula has always been popular, probably because of the emperor’s notoriety, so well known from ancient sources. His reign began well, since his predecessor Tiberius had become very unpopular during his later years. However, seven months after his accession to the throne Caligula fell seriously ill and while he recovered, his personality seems to have changed. He became every more extreme, cruel and bizarre. A variety of medical explanations have been adduced for this, the most likely being a form of lead poisoning. Like many of the Julio-Claudians he was quite handsome, but his later portraits do, at least with the benefit of hindsight, seem to show signs of his reputed insanity.