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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 111, Lot: 679. Estimate $10000.
Sold for $13000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Titus. As Caesar, AD 69-79. AV Aureus (20.5mm, 7.27 g, 7h). Rome mint. Struck under Vespasian, AD 76. T CAESAR IMP VESPASIAN, laureate head right / COS V above, heifer standing left. RIC II 859 (Vespasian); Calicó 736; BMCRE 190 (Vespasian); BN –; Biaggi –; Jameson –; Mazzini –. EF, lustrous, small deposit and light cleaning marks on obverse. Rare with heifer left.

Ex F. Martin Post Collection (Freeman & Sear 13, 25 August 2006), lot 456.

The reverse of this aureus is strongly reminiscent of aurei of Augustus, which also featured a standing bull (RIC I 538 and 166), and as such might be considered an attempt by the Flavians to link their rule with that of the first emperor. It has also been proposed that the cattle on these coins, as well as on the coins of Augustus, are based on a sculptural group in bronze by the 5th century sculptor Myron. In 28 BC, Augustus brought the group from Greece and installed them in front of his Temple of Apollo on the Palatine in order to commemorate his victory over Antony and Cleopatra at Actium. Vespasian moved the statues to the Temple of Pax, and the bull features on his aurei and that of Titus, as in this example. This version, with the bull facing left, is particularly rare; only four appear in CoinArchives.