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Classical Numismatic Group > Triton XXIVAuction date: 19 January 2021
Lot number: 54

Lot description:


The Republicans. Brutus. Late summer-autumn 42 BC. AV Aureus (19mm, 8.01 g, 12h). Military mint traveling with Brutus and Cassius in western Asia Minor or northern Greece. Bare head of L. Junius Brutus right; L • BRVTVS • PRIM • COS around; all within corona civica (oak-wreath) / Bare head of M. Junius Brutus right; M • BRVTVS IMP around above; COSTA LEG around below; all within corona civica (oak-wreath). Crawford 506/1; CRI 208; Calicó 60 = Biaggi 41 (same dies); Sydenham 1295; BMCRR East 57-8; Woytek Arma et Nummi, 202; Bahrfeldt 64.6 = Cohen 16 = RBW 1777 (this coin). Some light marks and scratches. Fine. Exceedingly rare, one of nine known, and perhaps one of only three in private hands. The other possible private examples being the Biaggi and the Ponton d'Amécourt specimens. Also, it should be noted that all published examples of this rarity are struck from a single obverse and reverse die. Only this coin in CoinArchives–the only specimen to sell in public auction over the last twenty-plus years.

From the Peter J. Merani Collection. Ex Property of an European Nobleman (Numismatica Ars Classica 24, 5 December 2002), lot 6 (hammer 65,000 CHF); RBW Collection (Triton III, 30 November 1999), lot 844; Münzen und Medaillen AG 77 (18 September 1992), lot 141; Duplicate from the Bibliothèque Nationale, purchased in 1844 from the Paris dealers Charles-Louis Rollin (1777-1853) and his son Claude-Camille Rollin (1813-1883).

In his The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators 49-27 BC, David R. Sear writes in reference to this coin: "We now reach the final and unquestionably the most remarkable phase of Brutus' coinage." Sear continues, "On this beautiful aureus his portrait is accompanied by that of his renowned ancestor Lucius Junius Brutus, first consul of the Republic. Both heads are encircled by the corona civica of oak traditionally awarded to those who had displayed their patriotism by saving the lives of comrades in the heat of battle or by rescuing the Republic itself at times of great peril."

As to the number extent for this rarity, Bahrfeldt listed seven examples: two in London (Devonshire [BMCRR East 57] and Dupré-Wigan [BMCRR East 58]), one in Glasgow (Hunter Museum), one in Berlin (de Moustier), one in Vienna, one in Rome (Vatican), and this coin, which was in Paris (BN) when he wrote his book in 1923. Additionally, Bahrfeldt listed two more examples in private collections beneath his museum census: Ponton d'Amécourt (Rollin & Feuardent, 25 April 1887), lot 26, and Montagu (Rollin & Feuardent, 20 April 1896), lot 40. The Montagu example was acquired by the Bibliothèque Nationale, which became their second example, and allowed them to trade the present coin. Also, the Biaggi coin is ex Henry Platt Hall Collection (Part I, Glendining & Co., 19 July 1950, lot 646, which was a British Museum Duplicate, formerly the property of the Duke of Devonshire = Bahrfeldt 64.1).

A revised census of the specimens we can account for and based on Bahrfeldt's original list (compiled with the aid of Michel Amandry, Hadrien Rambach, and Alan Walker):

1). BMCRR East 57 = Duke of Devonshire Collection = Henry Platt Hall Collection = Leo Biaggi de Blasys Collection = Ratto Stock = Present location unknown?

2). Hunterian Collection (Glasgow)

3). Münzkabinett Berlin = Marquis Lionel René de Moustier Collection (Hoffmann, 1872), lot 42

4). Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien [Vienna] (plated in Bahrfeldt)
br>5.) BMCRR East 58 = Dupré-Wigan Collection

6). The present coin = Duplicate from the Bibliothèque Nationale, purchased in 1844 from the Paris dealers Charles-Louis Rollin (1777-1853) and his son Claude-Camille Rollin (1813-1883) = Münzen und Medaillen AG 77 (18 September 1992), lot 141 = RBW Collection (Triton III, 30 November 1999), lot 844 = Property of an European Nobleman (Numismatica Ars Classica 24, 5 December 2002), lot 6

7). Vatican Collection (Rome)

8). Ponton d'Amécourt (Rollin & Feuardent, 25 April 1887), lot 26. Present location unknown?

9.) Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris) = Montagu (Rollin & Feuardent, 20 April 1896), lot 40 = Comte du Chastel Collection (Rollin & Feuardent, 27 May 1889), lot 179.

Estimate: 150000 USD