Numismatics auction 67: more successes for Roman republican coins

Roman republican coins: it's their time

On one point, the results of Numismatica's auction 67 beaten in London by Bertolami Fine on July 11 are incontrovertible: high-end international collectors have fallen in love with the Republican Roman coins and exceptional pieces such as those proposed by BFA attract the world's most important collectors. So, at the end of two very tight competitions, the two top lots of the round go to India: lot 357, a gold coin of Marcus Junius Brutus and Lentulus Pusher minted in 43/42 BC by a mobile mint following Brutus, and lot 361, a legionary gold coin of Marcus Anthony minted in 32/31 BC by a mobile mint following him.

Marcus Junius Brutus and Publius or Lentulus Pusher, Aureus.
Mobile Mint following Brutus, 43/42 BC
Lot 357 of the auction 67 Bertolami Fine Art by Numismatics - London, 11 July 2019
Sold at € 112,400 - Vice world record for this type of coin.

The top lot at the auction? The gold of the cesaricide Brutus (only six known specimens)

The finesse of the style, the perfect state of preservation and the extreme rarity justify the purchase of the gold of Brutus and Lentulus Spintere at 112,490 euro (auction basis 33,600), the second all-time award for a type of which only six specimens are known, four of them in museum collections. The identification of the Lentulus Spint(ther) mentioned on the back of the gold coin has been at the centre of wide debate among scholars of republican Roman coins. In fact, if it was the famous Publius Lentulus Spint(ther) who, at the outbreak of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, chose to serve in the ranks of the Pompeians, the coin - probably issued in 43/42 B.C. - would prove unfounded the news of his death in 48 B.C. during the Battle of Farsalo. More likely, however, we are dealing with another member of the family, probably the son.

Mark Antony, Aureus
Mobile mint in the retinue of Mark Antony,
32/31 B.C.
Lot 361 of the auction 67 Bertolami Fine Art by Numismatics - London, 11 July 2019
Sold at € 111,104 - Vice world record for this type of currency.

A legionnaire's gold of rare beauty

The other republican highlight, Lot 361, also breaks the world record, passing from hand to hand at 111,104 euros (auction base 33,600), becomes the second highest paid legionnaire's gold medal of all time. The piece in the BFA catalogue is the only one known to date in the variant characterized by the presence on the back of the XI legion insignia. Uniqueness and historical value of a coin minted to finance the battle against Octavian, combined with the precious style of engraving on very wide flan have obviously generated a lively competition and we are certain of the happiness of the lucky buyer.

Papio, Denario serrato, Rome, 79 B.C.
Lot 278 of the auction 67 Bertolami Fine Art by Numismatics - London, 11 July 2019
Sold at € 12,707.52 - World Record for this type of coin.

Two record-breaking Republican deniers (world!)

In the section dedicated to the Roman Republic the world record comes with two denarii of extraordinary quality. High voltage in the hall for the electric race that ended with the purchase at 12,707 euros of the tight denarius of L.Papio (Rome 79 B.C.), according to many the most beautiful and best preserved specimen ever seen for this typology. It started from an auction base of 448 euros, a normal value for a silver denier. Normally, however, there was nothing in this particular specimen. Out of the ordinary, the exceptional state of conservation and the virtuosity of the engraving that made it possible to capture every detail of the female profile depicted on the obverse, a portrait of Juno Sospita, the tutelary goddess of Lanuvio, identified by the goatskin that cloaks her head. Of no less excellent style is the beautiful griffon on the back.

Mn. Cordio Rufo, Denario, Rome, 46 B.C.
Lot 333 of the auction 67 Bertolami Fine Art by Numismatics - London, 11 July 2019
Sold at € 9.110,53 - World Record for this type of coin.

Equally beautiful the lot 333, a denarius of Mn Cordio Rufo that many came to visit during the days of the exhibition attracted by the fame of its perfection. Also interesting is the iconography, all dedicated to Minerva, a deity evoked on the forehead by the effigy of her helmet surmounted by an owl and on the back by the gorgon-headed armour worn by the warrior deity.

Anonymous, Cast Dupondio, Rome, 230 B.C.
Lot 243 of the auction 67 Bertolami Fine Art by Numismatics - London, 11 July 2019
Sold for € 21.715,00

The first republican Roman coins: an exceptionally well-preserved "spindle".

The excellent auction performance of Lot 234, which started from an auction base of €4,926 and sold at 21,715, is explained by some unusual features. In fact, it is not often that one comes across such perfectly preserved evidence of the dawn of Roman monetary history, that of the first coins, heavy and crude pieces of cast bronze. The cast bronze in question, a duplicate of 230 B.C., was, however, anything but crude, and on the contrary was characterized by a very fine style enhanced by a bright green patina. The race to win it could only be lively.

Angelica Bonvicini

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