Numismatica Ars Classica > Auction 132Auction date: 30 May 2022
Lot number: 520

Price realized: 65,000 CHF   (Approx. 67,935 USD / 63,424 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:


Vitellius, April –December 69
Aureus late April-December 69, AV 7.41 g. A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P Laureate head r. Rev. L VITELLIVS COS III CENSOR Lucius Vitellius, togate, seated l. on curule chair, feet on stool, holding eagle-tipped sceptre in l. hand and palm branch in extended r. C 54. BMC 23. RIC 96. CBN 54. Calicó 565.
Very rare. An interesting portrait struck in high relief, very
minor edge marks, otherwise extremely fine

Ex UBS sale 78, 2008, 1540. Privately purchased from Münzhandlung Basel
Each of Rome's emperors (except Otho, whose lineage was not particularly distinguished) had celebrated their ancestors as a means of buoying their own legitimacy. Augustus made the most of his relationship with Julius Caesar, Tiberius did likewise with Augustus and Livia, Caligula and Claudius honored the many nobles from whom they were descended, and Nero initially trumpeted Agrippina and Claudius. Even Galba – the first non-Julio-Claudian emperor – trumpeted his close ties to the deified Livia. On this rare aureus, the newest emperor Vitellius acts likewise: he celebrates his illustrious father, Lucius Vitellius, who, as the reverse inscription indicates, was Censor and held the Consulship three times. Vitellius' father was undoubtedly the most important politician of his age. He was a shameless flatterer, pragmatic in his dealings with Tiberius: not only did he provide his son (the future emperor Vitellius) to Tiberius as one of his male prostitutes during his final years on Capri, but he was also skilful enough to survive the reign of Caligula, to later reach his height of influence under Claudius. After an illustrious, if not prideful, career, Lucius Vitellius probably died late in the reign of Claudius or early in the reign of Nero, long before the most famous of his four sons became emperor.

Graded Ch XF Strike 5/5 Surface 3/5 edge mark, NGC certification number 6159320-005.

Estimate: 40000 CHF