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Research Coins: Feature Auction


The Earliest Portrait of Caesar to Appear on a Coin

CNG 112, Lot: 421. Estimate $5000.
Sold for $4750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

BITHYNIA, Nicaea. Julius Caesar. Æ (24mm, 8.38 g, 11h). C. Vibius Pansa, proconsul. Dated CY 236 (47/6 BC). Bare head of Caesar right; [N]IKAEΩN up left / EΠI ΓAIOV down right, OVBIOV/ΠANΣA down left, Nike advancing right, holding palm frond in right hand, wreath in left; uncertain monograms to lower left and inner right, ςΛΣ (date) in exergue. Weiser, Nikaia –; RPC I 2026; RG 11; BMC 8-9; Triton XIX, lot 356. Dark green patina, light smoothing, cleaning marks. Good VF. Rare and attractive.

This type was the first anywhere to feature the portrait of Julius Caesar. C. Vibius Pansa was part of the Caesarian faction at Rome and probably owed his proconsulship to his patron. The only other definite lifetime portrait of Caesar from the provincial series was an issue of circa 45 BC at Lampsacus (RPC I 2268-2269). Both of these issues preceded the earliest appearance of his portrait at Rome, on the denarii of M. Mettius in January 44 BC.