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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 78, Lot: 1398. Estimate $150. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 14 May 2008. 
Sold For $240. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ASIA MINOR, Uncertain. Augustus. 27 BC-AD 14. Æ 20mm (8.12 g, 12h). Bare head right / [Spear], sella quaestoria, and fiscus; Q below sella. RPC 5410.7 (this coin); AMNG III 228 (Q. Bruttius Sura); FITA 13-19 (Thessalonica[?]). Near VF, black-green patina. Rare.

From the Patrick Villemur Collection. Ex Schulman 265 (28 September 1976), lot 498 .

The similarity of this coin's reverse to that of Aesillas led to the earlier attribution of this issue to Macedonia. Unlike the more typical club of Hercules, the presence of a spear (hasta) suggested the issuer to be an as-yet-unknown quaestor propraetore, who, unlike Aesillas, would have held the power of imperium. Based on this assumption, Grant gave the issue to M. Acilius at Thessalonica, whom he tentatively identified as Caesar's governor of Macedonia in the final year of the Dictator's life. The style of the portrait is identical to a coin of the possible Cilician Colonia Iulia Veteranorum (RPC 4082). That coin bears the additional obverse legend PRINCEPS FELIX, a title which clearly identifies the portrait as Augustus. Imhoof-Blumer and Grant both assigned the forementioned issue and our coin to the southwestern areas of the Black Sea, but to date no specimen of our coin has turned up in sites there, as one might expect if that region were its point of origin. The patination, typical of Syria, may lend support for locating this coin there; at present the lack of conclusive evidence seems to preclude a more certain attribution.