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Earliest Portrait of Caesar

230, Lot: 203. Estimate $200.
Sold for $1700. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

BITHYNIA, Nicaea. Julius Caesar. 47/6 BC. Æ Assarion (25mm, 8.61 g, 12h). C. Vibius Pansa, proconsul. Dated CY 236 (47/6 BC). Bare head of Caesar right / Nike advancing right, holding wreath and palm; monograms to left and right; ςΛΣ (date) in exergue. RPC I 2026.18; Weiser, Nikaia -; RG 11; BMC 8-9; SNG Copenhagen -. Near VF, minor flan crack at 12 o’clock.

This type was the first anywhere to feature the portrait of Julius Caesar. C. Vibius Pansa was part of the Caesarian faction at Rome, and probably owed his proconsulship to his patron. The only other definite lifetime portrait of Caesar from the provincial series was an issue of circa 45 BC at Lampsacus (see RPC I 2268-9). Both of these issues preceded the earliest appearance of his portrait at Rome, on the denarii of M. Mettius in January, 44 BC.