First Portrait Aureus
Octavian and Julius Caesar.
|Sale: Triton XII, Lot: 514. Estimate $30000.
Closing Date: Monday, 5 January 2009.
Sold For $62500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
Late summer-autumn 43 BC. AV Aureus (8.15 g, 12h). Military mint traveling with Octavian in Italy. Bare head of Octavian right, wearing slight beard; C • CAESAR • COS • PO(NT) • (AV)G • around / Wreathed head of Julius Caesar right; C • CAESAR • DICT • PERP • PO(NT) • (MA)X •. Crawford 490/2; CRI 132; Bahrfeldt 28; Calicó 52a (same obv. die as illustration); Sydenham 1321; Kestner -; BMCRR Gaul 74-5; CNR 1 (same obv. die as illustration); Cohen 2. Good VF, well centered on both sides, typical small field marks. Extremely rare. Only five specimens recorded by both Bahrfeldt and Crawford. The most artistic portrait of Julius Caesar on an aureus.
In the summer of 43 BC, following the battle of Mutina, Octavian demanded from the Senate one of the consulships recently left vacant by the deaths of Hirtius and Pansa. When the Senate refused, Octavian marched into Rome and organized consular elections. This issue, struck by Octavian after he became consul on 19 August, marks the first appearance of a portrait on a Roman aureus.