By Chris Chatigny, Numismatist & Cataloger – Stacks Bowers ……
For our second preview for the upcoming Stack’s Bowers Galleries January 2017 New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) Auction, we are excited to showcase a gorgeous ancient coin: a silver denarius of Brutus.
This coin was struck under the authority of Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger, assassin of Julius Caesar. The story of Brutus is well known. He initially opposed the First Triumvirate (Crassus, Pompey the Great and Caesar) and was subsequently defeated in the Battle of Pharsalus. Caesar pardoned him and inducted him into his inner circle of allies. After Caesar adopted the title of Dictator in Perpetuity, a group conspired to end the tyrant’s life. Brutus took on a leading role.
On March 15th – the Ides of March – the conspirators ambushed Caesar at the Senate and murdered him.
Though initially granted amnesty by the Senate, the conspirators fled Rome after a populist uprising. Caesar’s successors formed a second triumvirate (Lepidus, Marc Antony and Caesar Octavian), rallied the late Caesar’s Legions and set off on a campaign of retribution. Two-and-a-half years later, the war would be decided at Philippi, Macedonia, in an intense battle with many casualties. His forces routed, Brutus recognized the futility of continued resistance as well as the likelihood of capture and death, and chose to die by his own hand.
The coin featured here was an issue of this last campaign against the Second Triumvirate, struck just months before the final confrontation. The obverse displays the head of Apollo wearing a laurel crown with the legends “LEG – COSTA” around, which refer to the mint official Pedanius Costa who held the title of Legate. A military trophy is seen on the reverse, with the legend “IMP BRVTVS” around. The design provides a visual reference to Brutus claiming the title of Imperator, thanks to his previous military victories.
This coin features all of the attributes you could ask for in an ancient coin; a sharp strike, great centering and gorgeous iridescent toning.
We are now accepting consignments of world and ancient coins as well as world paper money for our January 2017 New York International Auction, and Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our April 2017 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.