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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton V, Lot: 1728. Estimate $1000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $1300. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

LYDIA, Philadelphia. Tiberius Gemellus(?), co-heir of Tiberius. Æ 16mm (3.18 gm). Struck circa 35-37 AD. TIBERION [CEBACTON], bare head of Tiberius Gemellus(?) right / N[EO]KEC"PEIC, winged thunderbolt. RPC I 3017 (same obverse die as those plated); SNG Leypold 1111 (same dies); SNG Copenhagen 373 (same obverse die). Good Fine, dark green patina. Extremely rare. ($1000)

See Classical Numismatic Group Auction 47 (16 September 1998), lot 891 for a lesser specimen that realized $2700.

Tiberius Gemellus was born in 19 AD as twin brother to Germanicus Gemellus. They were the sons of Livilla, the sister of Germanicus and Claudius, and given to her husband Drusus, the son of the emperor Tiberius. However, it is probable that they were actually fathered by Sejanus, the ambitious prefect of Tiberius. During the last years of Tiberius' life, his options for a youthful heir had narrowed to his only 'grandson' Tiberius Gemellus and his grandnephew Caligula. Both young men were adopted as co-heirs in 35. However, when Tiberius died in 37, the prefect Macro declared Caligula to be the new emperor, just as the two had pre-arranged. For appearances' sake, Tiberius Gemellus was hailed princeps iuventutis, but within months was executed for treason. Suetonius tells us that that the smell on the unfortunate boy's breath was not a poison antidote, but merely a cough medicine. This portrait is especially important because it depicts him not as a child, but as a teen and heir to the throne. All of the coins from this issue share the same obverse die.