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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 63, Lot: 1200. Estimate $20000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 21 May 2003. 
Sold For $16000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

LABIENUS. 40 BC. AR Denarius (3.61 gm). Mint in Asia Minor. Bare head right / Horse standing right, with bridle and saddle, to which a bag is attached. Crawford 524/2; CRI 341; Hersh, "The Coinage of Quintus Labienus Parthicus," SNR59 (1980), 9 (Obv. F/Rev. -; unlisted reverse die); Sydenham 1357; RSC 2. Lightly toned EF, very minor porosity, a splendid example of this important historical coin. Very rare. ($20,000)

Quintus Labienus' father, a loyal Republican despite his distinguished service to Caesar in Gaul, died at the battle of Munda in 45 BC. His son joined the Republican cause and was sent to Persia to negotiate a pact of assistance with Orodes I, remaining at the Parthian court after the defeat of Brutus and Cassius in 42 BC. Orodes, concerned about the growing Roman presence in Asia and learning of growing dissatisfaction in the provinces, sent his son Pacorus and a large and heavily armored cavalry force with Labienus on an invasion of Syria in 40 BC. Labienus quickly subdued Syria and Cilicia and sent forces into Lycia and Caria before Ventidius Bassus arrived from Greece with eleven legions. Labienus and his allies were driven back to Cilicia, where the Parthian cavalry was routed at Mt. Taurus and Labienus was killed. Labienus, the last of the Republicans, died a traitor to Rome, and all but a handful of his coinage was melted down after his defeat.