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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 111, Lot: 657. Estimate $2000.
Sold for $3750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Germanicus. Died AD 19. Æ Dupondius (28mm, 15.26 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck under Gaius (Caligula), AD 37-41. Germanicus, bareheaded and draped, standing right in chariot, holding eagle-tipped scepter and reins, driving triumphal quadriga right; chariot decorated with figure of Victory advancing right / Germanicus, bareheaded, wearing cuirass and short tunic, standing left, right leg bent at knee and drawn back behind left, cloak over left arm, cradling aquila in left arm and extending right hand in gesture of command. RIC I 57 (Gaius). Near EF, handsome river brown patina.

Ex Leu 38 (13 May 1986), lot 232; Leu 28 (5 May 1981), lot 375.

The fair-haired young hope of his generation, Germanicus Caesar was the son of the great general Nero Claudius Drusus, famed for “conquering” Germany in the last decade BC, although most of this was undone by the Varian disaster of AD 9. Germanicus was raised in the household of Augustus and proved talented both in political and military endeavors. He won a spectacular triumph in AD 17 for his punitive expeditions into Germany the previous two years, which restored Roman honor. Seemingly destined to become emperor himself, Germanicus died at the age of 34, under mysterious circumstances, while on a diplomatic tour of the Roman East. His marriage to Augustus’s granddaughter Agrippina Senior produced nine children, including the future emperor Gaius ‘Caligula,’ who struck this coin in his father’s honor. Its design recalls the triumphal parade of Germanicus two decades earlier, the reverse inscription proclaiming “standards recovered, Germany defeated.”