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Research Coins: Feature Auction


A King Restored

CNG 111, Lot: 729. Estimate $10000.
Sold for $14680. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Lucius Verus. AD 161-169. AV Aureus (18mm, 6.91 g, 12h). Rome mint. Struck AD 164. L • VERVS ΛVG ΛRMENIΛCVS, bare head right / TR P IIII IMP II COS II, REX ΛRMEN/ DΛT in two lines in exergue, Lucius Verus, in military dress, seated left on curule chair set on raised daïs with attendant standing on either side; in front of daïs, the Roman-appointed Armenian king, Sohaemus, standing left, raising hand to head. RIC III 512 (Aurelius); MIR 18, 92-12/10; Calicó 2154 (same dies as illustration); BMCRE 300-1 note, pl. 58, 9 (same obv. die); Biaggi 956 (same dies); Jameson 143 (same dies); Mazzini 158 (same dies). EF, lustrous surfaces, a few marks confined to reverse. With a portrait of exceptional style.

The reverse records the re-installation of Gaius Julius Sohaemus as king of Armenia. Sohaemus, a member of the royal household of the Syrian caravan city of Emesa, was originally crowned as king by Antoninus Pius in AD 144, an event also recorded on that emperor’s coins. In AD 161, the Parthians invaded Armenia and drove him into exile. An offensive led by Verus cleared out the Parthians and re-established the pro-Roman regime of Sohaemus, who is seen here receiving his crown. The exceptional artistry of the obverse portrait, together with the complex reverse composition, marks this as a special issue celebrating Verus’ feat of arms.