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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XXI, Lot: 705. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $1250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Tiberius. AD 14-37. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.66 g, 1h). “Tribute Penny” type. Lugdunum (Lyon) mint. Group 5, AD 35-36. TI CΛESΛR DIVI ΛVG F ΛVGVSTVS, laureate head right; long, parallel ribbons / PONTIF MΛXIM, Livia (as Pax) seated right, holding vertical scepter in right hand and olive branch in left, feet on footstool; ornate chair legs, single line below. RIC I 30 var. (scepter); Lyon 152; RSC 16b var. (no footstool); BN 33. EF, lightly toned.

From the Dr. Allan Smith Collection. Ex Dr. Patrick H. C. Tan Collection (Triton XX, 10 January 2017), lot 653.

The denarius of Tiberius with Pax reverse, is commonly known as the 'Tribute Penny,' the coin to which Jesus referred to when he was discussing the payment of taxes to the Romans: "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mark 12:17). Although there are two other reverse types on the denarii of Tiberius, those were only issued during the first two years of his reign, while the Pax reverse was employed throughout the remainder, making it the more likely coin referred to by Jesus. It was also the most common imperial-issue coin circulating in the region at the time. The term 'penny' is from the 1611 King James translation of the Bible, and was adopted since the penny was the standard denomination of the time.