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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 70, Lot: 694. Estimate $300. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 21 September 2005. 
Sold For $575. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

JULIUS CAESAR. 49-48 BC. AR Denarius (3.93 g, 5h). Military mint travelling with Caesar. Elephant advancing right, trampling on horned serpent / Simpulum, sprinkler, axe (surmounted by a wolf's head), and priest's hat. Crawford 443/1; CRI 9; Sydenham 1006; RSC 49. Good VF, light iridescent toning. Good style. ($300)

Julius Caesar and his armies assembled on the banks of the Rubicon River on 10 January 49 BC, ready to invade Italy. The Roman world would be shaken and transformed by the ensuing civil war. Since large quanities of denarii were necessary to pay Caesar's military expenses, the mint travelled with them. This issue was ordered, not by a moneyer, as was usual, but by Julius Caesar himself. The obverse clearly depicts the triumph of good over evil, numismatic propaganda designed to encourage Caesar's soldiers during the long, intense campaign. The reverse, depicting priestly emblems, tells of Caesar's office as Pontifex Maximus, high priest. In all likelihood, this type was used by Caesar's military forces at least until the decisive battle of Pharsalus.