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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

271, Lot: 67. Estimate $5000.
Sold for $7000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Clodius Macer. Usurper, AD 68. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.34 g, 5h). Carthage mint. L CLODIVS MACER, bare head right; S C below neck / PRO/PRAE above, AFRICAE below, galley right, with twelve pairs of oars and seven oarsmen. RIC I 35 corr. (number of oarsmen) and 36; Hewitt group G/5, 53 var. (O-/R35 [unlisted obv. die]) = BMCRE 1; RSC 13. Fine, toned, numerous scratches on both sides, a few deeper scuffs on obverse. Extremely rare.

Property of Princeton Economics acquired by Martin Armstrong. Ex Münzen & Medaillen Basel 86 (3 June 1998), lot 144; Auctiones 10 (12 June 1979), lot 581.

Clodius Macer served as legatus Augusti propraetore Africae under Nero. As opposition to the emperor grew and the power of the central government dwindled, Macer acted as little more than a pirate, sweeping the north African coast in an attempt to increase his power by cutting into the grain supplies of Rome. Following Nero’s suicide in early June, he began striking denarii in his own name. All of Macer’s coins are of rather crude style, an indication of the lack of skilled die engravers and the haste at which they were produced. K.V. Hewitt (“The coinage of L. Clodius Macer (AD 68),” NC [1983], pp. 64-80) estimated the output of Macer’s coinage to have been in the range of 1 to 1½ million denarii. The vast majority of coins, however, would have been melted down in antiquity, and Hewitt knew of only 71 total denarii in the name of Macer at the time of his study.