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Ex Mazzini Collection – Pedigreed to 1957

564465. SOLD $49500

Gaius (Caligula), with Divus Augustus. AD 37-41. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.75 g, 12h). Lugdunum (Lyon) mint. 1st emission, after 18 March AD 37. C • CAESAR • AVG • GERM • P • M • TR • POT • COS •, bare head of Gaius (Caligula) right / Radiate head of Divus Augustus right; two stars flanking. RIC I 2; Lyon 157/2 (D18/R18 – this coin); RSC 11 (Caligula and Augustus); BMCRE 4-5; BN 3-8; Mazzini 11 (this coin); CNR XIII, 65/1 (this coin). Wonderful iridescent cabinet tone. Choice EF. Certainly one of the finest surviving examples of the type.

Ex G.T. Collection of the Twelve Caesars (Roma XX, 29 October 2020), lot 493; Exceptional Roman Denarii Collection (Goldberg 80, 3 June 2014), lot 3115; Numismatic Fine Arts XXX (8 December 1992), lot 214; Tkalec (26 March 1991), lot 255; ESR (Eric von Schulthess-Rechberg) Collection (Hess-Leu [17], 23 March 1961), lot 65; Giuseppe Mazzini Collection, 11.

As his great-grandfather Augustus did with Divus Julius Caesar, Gaius had coins struck which included a deified ancestor, in this case Divus Augustus. While later emissions of this type leave no doubt, since the legend DIVVS AVG PATER PATRIAE is included, this earlier denarius, struck in the opening months of the new reign, is more ambiguous: it is anepigraphic, the inclusion of stars argue for recent divinity (Augustus had been deified 23 years earlier), and the features on some of these coins somewhat resemble those of Tiberius. Combined with the historical evidence that Gaius had personally given Tiberius' funeral oration and had asked the Senate to consider deification for Tiberius, this suggests that Gaius was testing the idea. The Senate, however, refused to pursue the matter further, and the portrait was soon altered to more closely resemble Divus Augustus.