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732439. Sold For $245

AGRIPPA. Died 12 BC. Æ As (9.88 gm). Struck under Gaius Caligula, 37-41 AD. M • AGRIPPA • L • F • COS • III • , head left, wearing rostral crown / S-C across field, Neptune standing left, holding small dolphin and trident. RIC 58 (Gaius); BMCRE 161 (Tiberius); Cohen 3. VF, dark brown patina. $245.

Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was Augustus' "right-hand man", a close friend whose political and military skills accelerated his rise to power. Although Agrippa was of humble birth, a social class below Augustus, he was showered with honors and held many important military commands and offices. In 21 BC, Augustus gave his daughter Julia in marriage to Agrippa, clearly marking him as the chosen heir, and in 17 Augustus formally adopted Agrippa to ensure a smooth succession. Agrippa's preeminence in political affairs was demonstrated in 13 BC when two of the three moneyers included him on their coin types. He died abruptly the following year, forcing Augustus, reluctantly perhaps, to name Tiberius as his successor.

Agrippa's daughter, Agrippina the elder, later married Germanicus and bore him several children, including the future emperor Gaius Caligula, who honored his maternal grandfather by striking this handsome copper coin with his portrait. The reverse image of Neptune recalls Agrippa's role as admiral at the naval battle of Actium.