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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 109, Lot: 588. Estimate $5000.
Sold for $4000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Augustus. 27 BC-AD 14. Æ Sestertius (34mm, 24.19 g, 11h). Lugdunum (Lyon) mint. Struck AD 10-14. CAESAR AVGVSTVS DIVI F PATER PATRIAE, laureate head right / ROM ET AVG in exergue, the Altar of Lugdunum: altar enclosure with panels decorated with corona civica flanked by figures holding laurel branches; decoration along roofline; altar flanked by columns surmounted by statues of Victory standing vis-à-vis, each holding palm frond in left hand over left shoulder and wreath in right hand. RIC I 231a; Lyon 95 (unlisted dies); BMCRE 565; BN 1695-1706. Good VF, dark brown surfaces, minor porosity. Very rare, especially in this condition.

From the WRG Collection. Ex Classical Numismatic Auctions XX (25 March 1992), lot 645; Classical Numismatic Auctions XVIII (3 December 1991), lot 619; ANA Centennial Sale of Ancient Greek and Roman Coins (Numismatic Fine Arts XXVI, 14 August 1991), lot 207.

We are told that the Altar of Rome and Augustus at Lugdunum and the cult activities surrounding it were established by Drusus in 12 BC amidst uprisings in Gaul (Dio 43.32; Livy, Epit. 138-9). The sanctuary where the altar stood, easily accessible since Agrippa’s road network was laid out, served as the assembly place for the tribal representatives of the Tres Galliae. Convening annually, the provincial assembly effectively gave the local Gallic communities a voice while uniting them under the backdrop of the imperial cult. It also provided tribal leaders an opportunity to compete on a larger stage. Among the activities at the assembly were the elections of the cult’s officers and the annual high priest. The latter was the highest office one could hope to obtain in Gaul and brought great prestige to both the priest and his community.