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CNG Feature Auction 114

Lot nuber 656

The Caesarians. Julius Caesar. March-April 44 BC. AR Denarius (19.5mm, 4.12 g, 6h). Rome mint; M. Mettius, moneyer.


CNG Feature Auction 114
Lot: 656.
 Estimated: $ 4 000

Roman Republican, Silver

Sold For $ 6 000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

The Caesarians. Julius Caesar. March-April 44 BC. AR Denarius (19.5mm, 4.12 g, 6h). Rome mint; M. Mettius, moneyer. Wreathed head right; CAESAR downward to right; IMPER upward to left / Venus Victrix standing left, holding Victory in outstretched right hand and transverse scepter in left, resting her left elbow on shield set on celestial globe; B to left, M • METTIVS downward to right. Crawford 480/17; Alföldi Type XVI, 20-21 (A3/R14); CRI 101; Sydenham 1055; RSC 35; RBW 1686. Lightly toned with a hint of iridescence, a few light marks. Good VF. Pleasing veristic portrait.

Verism, a style of portraiture that strives to be hyper-realistic in its depiction of the subject “warts and all,” can be traced as far back as the reign of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akenaten in the 13th century BC. It came to its full fruition in the late Roman Republic, perhaps influenced by the practice of making wax masks of the deceased. Caesar was the first living Roman to place his image on coins, and, in keeping with the style of portrait busts in stone and bronze, many of his numismatic portraits are veristic to the point of caricature. It is surprising to modern sensibilities that a man of his alleged vanity would allow himself to be portrayed with the balding pate, sagging jowls, and long “turkey neck” seen on this lifetime denarius. But it was clearly less important to Caesar that he be flattered with an idealized portrait, in the manner of Hellenistic kings, than to have his image convey the power and gravitas that only age and experience could provide.

The final winners of all CNG Feature Auction 114 lots will be determined during the live online sale that will be held on 13-14 May 2020. This lot is in Session 2, which begins 13 May 2020 at 2 PM ET.

UPDATE: As the CNG staff and many of our clients remain under social distancing and other restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CNG 114 will be held as an internet only auction. The sale will take place as scheduled on 13-14 May 2020.

Winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 22.50% for all others.

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