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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
10700673

Ex Doheny and Signorelli Collections

Triton XXI, Lot: 673. Estimate $30000.
Sold for $27500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

The Republicans. Brutus. Summer 42 BC. AV Aureus (20mm, 8.15 g, 6h). Military mint traveling with Brutus and Cassius (possibly at Sardis); M. Servilius, legatus. Laureate head of Libertas right; M • SERVILIVS upward to left, LEG upward to right / Trophy composed of helmet, cuirass, two spears, and two shields; Q • CAEPIO upward to left, BRVTVS • IMP upward to right. Crawford 505/4; CRI 206; Calicó 61; Sydenham 1314; RBW 1775. Good VF. Very rare and important type.


Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 73 (18 November 2013), lot 234; Patrick Doheny Collection (Sotheby’s, 20 June 1979), lot 71; Professor Angelo Signorelli Collection (Part II, Santamaria, 4 June 1952), lot 806.

Sear speculates that the striking of this issue took place at Sardis in Lydia, on the occasion of a meeting between the liberatores Brutus and Cassius. The meeting was held in private and, as Plutarch and Cassius Dio inform us, led to a very heated exchange, with the generals airing their grievances and suspicions of one another. Ultimately, they managed to renew their alliance and made plans for joint military action against the triumvirs (and, no doubt, devised ways to raise much-needed troops and money). By October of 42, just months after this coin was struck, Octavian and Antony would defeat Cassius and Brutus at the Battle of Philippi. Brutus managed to escape the battle alive but, with only four legions at his disposal, his capture was imminent. He took his own life shortly thereafter.

“Libertas” was a prominent theme on many of the tyrannicides’ coins, being the political and ideological impetus behind the assassination of Caesar. The reverse type commemorates Brutus’ recent victories in Thrace and Lycia (Marcus Servilius, the legate who signed this issue, was personally involved in campaigns in the latter province).