Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 94   |   6 October 2016
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Lot 107





Estimate: 50'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 40'000 CHF Price realized: 80'000 CHF
The Roman Empire
Claudius, 41 – 54
Sestertius circa 50-54, Æ 31.81 g. TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP P P Laureate head r. Rev. EX·S·C· / P·P / OB·CIVES / SERVATOS Legend within oak wreath. C 38. BMC 185. RIC 112. CBN 207.
In exceptional condition for the issue and one of the finest sestertii of Claudius in private
hands. A magnificent portrait in the finest style of the period and a lovely
untouched brown patina, good extremely fine
Ex Tkalec 29 February 2008 445 and Nomos List Winter-Spring 2009, 99 sales. I love this coin! The obverse detail is spectacular and the stylistic quality of the engraving is superb. Worth serious consideration for a builder of a high grade set of sestertii! MSG. The first Roman emperor to have been born outside Rome, Claudius was the youngest of the three surviving children of Drusus and Antonia Minor. While still very young, Claudius became disabled after suffering an illness, which caused his family (especially his mother) to disdain him. He was not permitted in the public eye, and unlike other sons of the imperial household, he was kept out of politics. It was this same disability, however, that probably saved him from the intrigues at court that proved fatal to so many of his relatives during the reigns of Tiberius and Caligula; by the time he was elevated to the throne by the Praetorian Guard after Caligula’s assassination, he was the last surviving male of his family. Despite having little experience in politics, Claudius had a keen and scholarly intellect, and soon proved himself an able administrator. He respected the senate and declined many honours traditionally bestowed on an emperor, preferring to earn them instead, and he initiated extensive public works that were necessary and beneficial. Despite his effectiveness as ruler, however, it seems Claudius possibly fell victim to the intrigues of his fourth wife, Agrippina the Younger: wanting her own son, Nero, to succeed her husband on the throne, she fed Claudius a dose of poisonous mushrooms. Or so the story goes. Seneca said that Claudius died of natural causes, and as he was already 64 at the time of his death and an alcoholic, it may be that he simply succumbed to infirmity and old age. The portrait of Claudius on this coin is finely executed and of a very high artistic calibre, such that it exudes the essence of Julio-Claudian portraiture in the round. This is not often the case with Claudius’ coin portraits: although some do exhibit a high degree of artistic merit, most lack the refined execution of style that this coin exhibits. The reverse legend, EX S C P P OB CIVES SERVATOS, was by this time habitually confirmed by the senate and people of Rome on the emperor for saving the life of the citizenry. It harkens back to the declarations of gratitude conferred on Augustus in 27 B.C., when the senate awarded him the corona civica (civic wreath – here represented by the oak wreath enclosing the inscription on the reverse) and the clipeus virtutis (shield of valour).

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