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Research Coins: The Coin Shop

 

From the Gonzaga Collection

824296. Sold For $16500

Domitian. AD 81-96. AV Aureus (19mm, 7.62 g, 7h). Rome mint. Struck AD 90-91. DOMITIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; inlaid silver eagle countermark to left / GERMANICVS, Domitian driving triumphal quadriga left, holding branch and scepter; COS XV in exergue. RIC II 700; Calicó 844. VF, toned. Extremely rare.


Ex Gonzaga Collection.

Formed beginning in the 15th century, the coin collection of the cultured Gonzaga family of Mantua was very famous. Some of it undoubtedly dated back to the activities of Isabella d’Este, wife of Marquis Francesco II, who was a passionate collector. In any event, by the early 17th century the coins in the collection were all given a collection mark: an inlaid Gonzaga eagle, in silver for gold coins or in gold for silver and bronzes. It is believed that the coins were almost all looted when the imperial forces took the city at the end of the siege of 1629/30: coins with the eagle marks are now in all the major cabinets of Europe and in a multitude of private collections. However, it is also possible that since the Gonzaga dukes were notoriously desperate for money - paintings were sold to Charles I of England, for example - some of the coins may have been sold off somewhat earlier. The collection mark also proves that this coin was undoubtedly above ground and in a collection no later than the early 17th century (if not already in the 16th or 15th) - quite a long pedigree!