Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 94   |   6 October 2016
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Lot 52





Estimate: 40'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 32'000 CHF Price realized: 38'000 CHF
The Roman Empire
Octavian, as Augustus 27 BC – 14 AD
Aureus, Colonia Caesaugusta 19 BC, AV 7.81 g. Oak-wreathed head l. Rev. FORT RED / CAES AVG / S·P·Q·R inscribed on rectangular altar. C 105. BMC 360 note (Colonia Patricia). RIC 53b note (Colonia Patricia). CBN 1343 (Nemausus) and cf. 1351 (for style). Calicó 200. SNR Firenze vol. I, 19 (these dies).
An exceedingly rare variety with the oak-wreath of an extremely rare type. A very
interesting and unusual portrait of Augustus struck in high relief, good very fine
Ex Triton sale XI, 2008, Richard Prideaux, 746.

A tough coin in gold and very nice for the issue. MSG.

The legend inscribed on the side of the altar of this handsome aureus, FORT RED CAES AVG S P Q R, commemorates the dedication of the altar to Fortuna Redux that was awarded by the senate and people in Augustus’ honour upon his return to the city in 19 B.C. Augustus’ health was never robust, he was often sickly, and this altar which was set up near the gate through which the emperor returned expresses vows for his continued good health.
The attribution of this issue has been much discussed by scholars. In the catalogue of the British Museum, Mattingly attributed the issue to the mint of Colonia Patricia while Le Gentilomme attributed the issue to Nemausus on the grounds of the discovery of a bronze die in that location. The latter’s attribution was accepted by Grant in “Roman Imperial Money” (pp. 42-43) and Giard in his work on the catalogue of France’s Bibliothèque Nationale; however, in the revised version of RIC Vol. I, Sutherland adopts Mattingly’s attribution. We personally feel that an attribution to a Spanish mint is most logical and thus adhere to the theory originally put forth by Mattingly and Lanfranchi. Nevertheless, we maintain that in reality there are two distinct issues for this type: one for the mint of Colonia Caesaraugusta and one for Colonia Patricia. The aurei and denarii ascribable to Colonia Caesaraugusta can be distinguished from those of Colonia Patricia by the very different portrait style. Furthermore, in our opinion it is evident on this coin that the wreath worn by the emperor is composed of oak leaves rather than laurel which would support the notion that this is indeed a Colonia Caesaraugusta issue.

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