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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Ex J. Pierpont Morgan Collection

CNG 111, Lot: 758. Estimate $15000.
Sold for $14000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Caracalla. AD 198-217. AV Aureus (19.5mm, 7.25 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck AD 200-201. ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / RECTOR ORBIS, Caracalla (as Sol), radiate, naked except for cloak falling over left shoulder, standing front, head left, holding globe in extended right hand and vertical reversed spear in left. RIC IV 39a; Calicó 2804b (same obv. die as illustration); BMCRE 163; Biaggi 1214; Jameson 179 (same obv. die); Mazzini 541; Morgan 159 (this coin). EF, a few minor marks.

From the Brexit Collection. Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 102 (24 October 2017), lot 533; Freeman & Sear 12 (28 October 2005), lot 584; J. Pierpont Morgan Collection (Stack’s, 14 September 1983), lot 91.

J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) was among the greatest American bankers and industrial magnates of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Starting during the U.S. Civil War, Morgan’s shrewd dealings placed his family banking company in a dominant position in all major industries, including railroads, steel production, and shipping. His wealth grew to legendary proportions by 1890, when his wide collecting interests began to proliferate. They included art and sculpture, gems, autographs, early manuscripts, and rare coins. He employed trusted dealers as agents to seek out works of rarity and beauty the world over. His impressive coin collections included ancient Greek and Roman pieces in silver and gold, including eight of the famous Aboukir gold medallions found in Egypt in 1902, and more than 200 gold aurei, including this specimen. The Morgan family retained his collection long after his death, publishing a portion of the holdings in 1953. Many of his coins have been subsequently sold at auction, including the Stack’s sale of 1983.