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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 111, Lot: 647. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $850. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Augustus. 27 BC-AD 14. AR Denarius (16mm, 3.87 g, 6h). Uncertain Spanish mint (Colonia Patricia?). Struck circa 18 BC. Aquila, toga picta over tunica palmata, and wreath / Slow quadriga right; the car is ornamented at front and on side with Victory and palmette design, surmounted by four miniature horses galloping right. RIC I –; RSC 80a; BMCRE 402. Near EF, struck on a compact flan. Excellent silver quality.

This denarius type is usually attributed to Colonia Patricia (modern Cordoba) in Spain. The obverse depicts the elaborate regalia (ornamenta triumphalia) of a successful general that is awarded to him on the occasion of his procession through the streets of Rome as triumphator. The toga picta was an elaborate dress based on the attire of the Etruscan kings and is shown being worn over the tunica palmata, a tunic decorated with representations of palm leaves. On either side are seen a legionary eagle, symbolic of the Roman army, and a triumphal wreath, or corona triumphalis. This was worn by the triumphator as he paraded through the streets of the capital in the elaborately adorned chariot, which is depicted on the reverse.

In 19 BC, Augustus returned to Rome after a three-year absence in Greece and Asia, and this reverse type probably relates to the celebration of the military successes of this period, especially Tiberius' activities in Armenia and the restoration of the standards that the Parthians had captured from Crassus in 53 BC.