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Research Coins: Printed Auction


The Final Campaign in Scotland

Triton XXII, Lot: 1127. Estimate $3000.
Sold for $3500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Caracalla. AD 198-217. Æ Sestertius (32mm, 29.06 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck under Septimius Severus, AD 210. M AVREL ANTONI NVS PIVS AVG, laureate bust right, slight drapery / PONTIF TRP X III COS III, SC across field, Mars advancing left, holding olive branch in outstretched right hand and cradling trophy in left arm. RIC IV 450b; Banti 87; BMCRE 203; SCBC –. Near EF, impressive hard brown patina, hairline flan crack, double strike on reverse.

Ex Distinguished Collection of Roman Bronze Coins (Dix, Noonan, Webb 139, 15 February 2017), lot 147 (hammer £5000); A. Hess Aktiengesellschaft [230] (28 April 1936), lot 1553. Lot also includes an old collection ticket.

This sestertius celebrates the Severan campaign in Britain circa AD 208-211, the last Roman attempt to conquer Scotland thereby controlling the entire island. Septimius Severus mounted the expedition in mid AD 208, hoping for a quick victory to crown his later years, and also to curb the ferocious sibling hatred of his sons, Caracalla and Geta, who accompanied him. Caracalla took the opportunity to play common soldier and ingratiate himself with the legions, while Geta took an administrative role in York. But what was supposed to be an easy conquest turned into a long, bitter slog, which took its toll on the emperor's health and intensified the brothers’ mutual hatred. Severus died at York on 4 February AD 211. Caracalla and Geta quickly abandoned Scotland, declared victory, and returned to Rome.