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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

380, Lot: 723. Estimate $100.
Sold for $85. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

BECKER RESTRIKES. C. Vibius Varus. 42 BC. WM “Aureus” Restrike (20mm, 3.75 g, 6h). Dies by Carl Wilhelm Becker (1772-1830). Laureate head of Venus right / Venus standing left beside column, looking into mirror. Hill 146. Superb EF.

From the RBW Collection, purchased from Paul Bosco, 24 May 2010.

From Hill (p. 12): “The inscription IOYΛIAN AΦPOΔΔITHN (sic) is borrowed from a bronze coin of Pergamum with the busts of Livia and Julia (B.M.C., Mysia, Pl. XXVIII, no. 6)."

As a young man, Carl Wilhelm Becker was sent to train as a wine merchant, despite his desire to pursue a career in the arts. Becker’s wine business failed by 1803, and he subsequently undertook training as an engraver at the Munich mint. It appears Becker was producing copies of ancient coins by at least 1806, and he would go on to produce some 350 dies of classical and medieval coins, both common and rare. It was disputed then as now whether his intent was to defraud. While it is true he would offer coins to collectors and museums as study pieces, they would also frequently turn up in the trays of antiquarian dealers as genuine. Following Becker’s death in 1830, his dies were transferred to the Berlin Museum, which used them to strike off-metal copies that were made available to museums, dealers, and collectors.