Classical Numismatic Group > Triton XXVIIAuction date: 9 January 2024
Lot number: 696

Price realized: 17,000 USD   (Approx. 15,570 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:

Civil War. AD 68-69. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.67 g, 7h). 'G P R Group II'. Uncertain mint in Gaul or in the Rhine Valley. G • P • R, draped bust of the Genius of the Roman people to right; scepter over shoulder / MARS VLTOR, Mars, nude but for helmet and parazonium slung around his chest, advancing right, wielding spear in his right hand and holding shield in his left. RIC I 48; AM 25, but cf. 24 and pl. 2, 24 P (for an aureus struck from the same reverse die); RSC –; Mairat 35.3 (this coin); BMCRE 21 note; Nicolas, Néron 26, but cf. 24-25 and pl. I, 24 P & 25 CAL (for aurei struck from the same reverse die). Deeply toned, slight roughness in the fields. Near EF. Extremely rare and exceptional for issue. Among the finest known.

Ex Dipl.-Ing Christian Gollnow Collection (Leu Numismatik 9, 24 October 2021), lot 1138; Lanz 128 (22 May 2006), lot 291; Numismatica Ars Classica 92 (23 May 2016), lot 501.

Exceptional style, not typically encountered in the Civil War denarii. While most of the Rhine mint denarii tend to be of a more crude style and fabric, this specimen is superb, revealing the hand of a particularly talented engraver.

The Denarii of the Civil War

The civil wars at the end of Nero's reign began with the revolt of the governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, Gaius Julius Vindex, probably around the beginning of March of AD 68. Vindex offered the leadership of the revolt to Servius Sulpicius Galba, then governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, who was hailed imperator by the Spanish legions at Carthago Nova in April of the same year. The title was cautiously refused, but Galba did declare himself the legatus of the senate and people of Rome. Just a month later, Galba's confidence would be shaken by the crushing defeat of Vindex near Besançon by the general Lucius Verginius Rufus, governor of Germania Superior. But in another twist of fate, by 9 June, Nero was dead, having taken his own life. Galba began his march to Rome, and his brief reign was underway.

Coinage, of course, was needed during these precarious months of revolt and without an emperor to strike in the name of (save for that in honor of the "model emperor" of Roman history, Augustus) the coinage was struck with messages suiting the political climate. The issues struck under Vindex possess a more aggressive air that underscores the militant nature of his revolt, while Galba's tend to be more constitutional and optimistic in tone.

Estimate: 5000 USD