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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Pertinax: Galba Redux

CNG 111, Lot: 738. Estimate $30000.
Sold for $25000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Pertinax. AD 193. AV Aureus (20mm, 7.25 g, 12h). Rome mint. Struck 1 January-28 March AD 193. IMP CAES P HELV PERTIN • AVG, laureate head right / LAETITIA • TE MPOR COS II, Laetitia, draped, standing left, holding wreath in lowered right hand and vertical scepter in left. RIC IV 4a; Woodward, Pertinax, dies 7/E; Calicó 2383; BMCRE 7; Biaggi 1039; Jameson –; Mazzini 18; Gorny & Mosch 240, lot 527 (same rev. die); NAC 33, lot 515 (same rev. die). EF, a few faint scratches and edge imperfections. Rare.

From the Brexit Collection.

The 89-day reign of Pertinax was, in many ways, a rerun of Galba’s transient principate 125 years before. Like Galba, Pertinax was considered a distinguished elder statesman who could manage affairs after the collapse of a long-established dynasty. Like Galba, Pertinax tried to impose strict economy after a period of extravagance. And, when he tried to discipline the mutinous Praetorians, he met Galba’s fate.

Pertinax’s gold aurei are struck from an extraordinary number of dies, given the brevity of his reign. Thirteen obverse dies and 41 reverse dies have been recorded, indicating an almost frenzied output of the Rome mint during this period, perhaps attempting to keep up with his promised payments to the Praetorians. Though uniformly of high quality, the portraits vary greatly in detail and are clearly produced by many engravers. The obverse die seen here shows a distinctive three-pointed beard that was later adopted by his eventual successor, Septimius Severus.