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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XXI, Lot: 781. Estimate $40000.
Sold for $47500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Didius Julianus. AD 193. AV Aureus (20mm, 6.50 g, 12h). Rome mint. IMP CAES M DID IVLIAN AVG, laureate head right / P M TR P COS, Fortuna standing left, holding rudder set on globe in right hand, cradling cornucopia in left arm. RIC IV 2; Woodward, Didius, dies 5/– (unlisted rev. die); Calicó 2395; BMCRE 4 (same obv. die); Biaggi 1048 (same obv. die). VF, lustrous. Well centered and struck. Rare.

The mint of Rome could quickly produce massive new issues, as was the case with Didius Julianus, who, on 28 March AD 193 outbid Flavius Sulpicianus, the father-in-law of Pertinax, for the empire at the praetorian camp auction by promising to pay each man 25,000 sestertii. The Praetorian Guard by this time was composed of sixteen cohorts of 1000 men each, which meant that Didius had to come up with a total of 40 million sestertii, 10 million denarii, or 400,000 aurei, if he wanted to remain emperor.