Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 105   |   9 May 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 58

Estimate: 45'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 36'000 CHF Price realized: 38'000 CHF
Septimius Severus, 193 – 211. Aureus 202-210, AV 6.97 g. IMPP INVICTI PII AVGG Conjoined laureate, draped and cuirassed busts of S. Severus and Caracalla r. Rev. VICTORIA – PARTHICA MAXIMA Victory advancing l., holding palm in l. hand and wreath in r. C 8. BMC 266. RIC 311. Biaggi 1127 (this coin). Calicó 2597 (this coin).
Very rare. Two superb portraits of fine style struck in high relief, an almost invisible
mark below the chin on the obverse, otherwise good extremely fine


Trivulzio family Collection, acquired between 1745 and 1769 by Don Carlo Trivulzio (1715-1789, his manuscript catalogue no. LIV-3), sold en-bloc in 1935 to Pietro Accorsi (1891-1982), by whom supposedly resold en-bloc to Pietro Antonio Gariazzo (1866-1943), sold Santamaria, auction [33], Milan, 24 January 1938, lot 670, to Spink & Son.

Privately sold by Mario Ratto in May 1950 for 280 000 Lire.

Leo Biaggi de Blasys (1906-1979) Collection, acquired privately in 1978 by Bank Leu and Marco Ratto.

Sold by Numismatica Ars Classica, Zürich, auction 72, 16 May 2013, lot 680.

At first glance, the jugate busts on this aureus suggest it belongs to the dynastic series initiated by the Severans in 201, but the overriding theme of the coin is the defeat of Parthia in 198. This is shown not only by the explicit reverse type, but also by the obverse inscription, which describes the two emperors as invictii – unconquered and invincible. Because Severus and Caracalla are also described as pii (dutiful and god-fearing), the coin must date to 201 or later, for only in that year did they adopt the title Pius, seemingly to reflect the membership they claimed to the dynasty founded long ago by Antoninus Pius. Thus, the issue may have been produced for the anticipated return of the royal family to Rome early in 202, following a nearly five-year absence in the East, during which they conquered the Parthians and oversaw affairs in the provinces. Severus' return was no ordinary event: not only had the royal family been gone for five years, but the yearlong celebration of Severus decennalia, his tenth year of power, had begun and the royal wedding of Caracalla was planned. The imperial adventus was celebrated with games, spectacles and donativa to the people and to the praetorian guards, who Dio Cassius tells us each received ten aurei – perhaps including examples of this freshly minted type.

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