The Roman Republic
Estimate: 60'000 CHF
Starting price: 48'000 CHF
Price realized: 62'500 CHF
Q. Caepio Brutus and M. Servilius. Aureus, mint moving with Brutus 42, AV 8.03 g. M·SERVILIVS – LEG Laureate head of Libertas r. Rev. Q·CAEPIO· – BRVTVS·IMP Helmeted and cuirassed trophy with shield and two spears. Babelon Junia 47. C 9. Bahrfeldt 66 and pl. VII, 17 (this reverse die). Sydenham 1314. Sear Imperators 206. Calicó 61. RBW 1775. Crawford 505/4.
Very rare. An attractive specimen of this desirable issue perfectly
struck and centred on a very large flan. Extremely fine
Ex M&M 43, 1970, 236; Hirsch 193, 1997, 10 and NAC 24, 2002, European Nobleman, 5 sales.
While Crawford dates this issue to 43-42 B.C., Sear refines the dating to the second meeting of Brutus and Cassius which took place at Sardis during the summer of 42 B.C. and which ultimately led to the final confrontation with Octavian. According to Plutarch, the meeting took place behind closed doors, which shows the strains of their partnership, but the pair’s mutual recriminations were settled and the duo resolved their differences. The precise design of the shield attached to the trophy on the reverse follows that of the slightly earlier denarius of the propraetorian legate, C. Flav. Hemic. (Crawford 504/1), which was struck at a mobile military mint travelling with Brutus in Lycia while he was subjecting the cities of Xanthus and Patara, as does the change in form of Brutus’ name and title from proconsul to imperator. The head of Libertas, the personification of individual freedom and whose name had served as the watchword during the first Battle of Philippi, is ideally paired with the trophy and arms of the reverse, and was the principal theme of the Republican’s coinage. The design includes the name of the legate responsible for the coinage, Marcus Servilius, who had personally served in Lycia campaigns and was perhaps present at the fall of both Xanthus and Patara. One highly unusual aspect of this issue, which consists of both aurei and denarii, is that while by no means common, the aurei are considerably more plentiful than the denarii, of which just a handful are known.