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Triton XXVI

Lot nuber 639

The Triumvirs. Mark Antony. Early summer 40 BC. AV Aureus (20mm, 7.58 g, 5h). Military mint traveling with Antony in Greece; L. Munatius Plancus, moneyer. VF.

Triton XXVI
Lot: 639.
 Estimated: $ 100 000

Roman Republican, Coin-in-Hand Video, Gold

Sold For $ 275 000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

The Triumvirs. Mark Antony. Early summer 40 BC. AV Aureus (20mm, 7.58 g, 5h). Military mint traveling with Antony in Greece; L. Munatius Plancus, moneyer. Lituus and capis; M • ANTON • IMP • AVG • III VIR • R • P • C. around / Sacrifical jug with handle between winged thunderbolt and winged caduceus; L • PLANCVS • PRO • COS around. Crawford 522/1; Bahrfeldt 85; CRI 252; Calicó 89; Sydenham 1190; BMCRR East, p. 496 note; Biaggi –; Kestner –; RBW –. Minor scratches, residual luster. VF. Of the highest rarity and the only example available.

Lucius Munatius Plancus was a central figure in the political and military landscape of the late Republic and early Principate, and his career serves as a roll call of the famous names from this period. He had served as a legate of Julius Caesar during the Gallic War, and as proconsul of Transalpine Gaul from 44 to 43 BC. He fought with Caesar against Pompey during the Civil War and, after Caesar’s assassination, was encouraged by Cicero to oppose Antony. Following his participation in the War of Mutina in 43, against Decimus Brutus, Plancus held the consulship with Lepidus in 42, and allied himself with Antony, as evidenced by the striking of this aureus in 40 BC.

Plancus participated in the Perusine War in 41-40 BC, where he assisted Lucius Antony in annihilating one of Octavian’s legions before fleeing to Greece with Mark Antony’s wife, Fulvia. Following the Peace of Brundisium, he served as proconsul of Asia where he fought against Quintus Labienus and the Parthian prince, Pacorus I. He later joined with Ahenobarbus to capture Sextus Pompey, before switching allegiance once again, perhaps because he was uncomfortable with Cleopatra’s growing influence over Antony, to Octavian in 32. Indeed, it was Plancus who proposed that Octavian take the name Augustus during the First Settlement of 27 BC.

Plancus died circa 15 BC in Gaeta, Italy where his tomb still stands, recording his career as Consul, Censor, twice Imperator and Septemvir Epulonum; a monument to a man whose political and moral flexibilities enabled him to live into old age at a time when many of his contemporaries succumbed to a more brutal end.

His coinage, from his first issues struck under Julius Caesar in 45 BC, all feature the distinctive, one-handled jug on the reverse, possibly symbolizing his membership of the priestly college of the Epulones. The iconography of this aureus follows that of the denarii of the same issue, featuring both the lituus and capis on the obverse, symbolizing Antony’s status as augur, and a thunderbolt and winged caduceus flanking the jug on the reverse. Within this issue, two different types exist variably naming Plancus as either Proconsul or Imperator Iterum. While examples of both are known for his denarii, the aureii are considerably rarer, with no examples of the PRO COS variety accounted for since two examples held in the Paris cabinet were lost in the robbery of 1831. The present coin therefore presents the only opportunity to own an example of this aureus of this remarkable individual.

The final winners of all Triton XXVI lots will be determined at the live public sale that will be held on 10-11 January 2023.

Triton XXVI – Session Two – Lot 335-673 will be held Tuesday afternoon, 10 January 2023 beginning at 2:00 PM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 22.5% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 25% for all others.

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