Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 105   |   9 May 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 60

Estimate: 100'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 80'000 CHF Price realized: 90'000 CHF
Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus. Aureus 201, AV 7.20 g. IVLIA – AVGVSTA Draped bust r. Rev. AETERNIT IMPERI Confronted busts of Caracalla laureate, draped and cuirassed facing r. and Geta, bare headed, draped and cuirassed facing l. C 1. BMC S. Severus 3 var. (Caracalla bare headed). RIC S. Severus 540. Biaggi 1133 (this coin). Calicó 2653a.
Very rare and among the finest specimens known. Three portraits of superb style
perfectly-centred on a full flan, virtually as struck and almost Fdc


Alessandro Magnaguti (1887-1966) Collection, Pietro & Pio Santamaria, Rome, auction 23-24 October 1951, lot 171, to Herbert Adolf Cahn (1915-2002).

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 682.

An impressive series of dynastic coins was issued for the Severans throughout 201 and into the early part of 202, presumably marking the fifth anniversary of the dynasty that Septimius Severus had formed by early 196. After so many years of civil war, Severus must have thought it appropriate to publicise his dynasty, and to advertise the stability that it represented to the Roman people. The variety of types is considerable, with the portraits of family members being shown in many combinations.

This aureus was struck in the name of Julia Domna, and on the reverse portrays her two sons, Caracalla and Geta. It is tailor-made as a dynastic type since the inscription AETERNIT IMPERI ('the eternity of the empire') equates the continuity of the empire with the continuity of the dynasty. The positioning of the boys' portraits is exactly as would be expected: the elder, Caracalla, is in the honorary position on the left wearing a laurel wreath to indicate his senior status as Augustus, and the younger, Geta, is shown bare-headed on the right to denote his lesser status as Caesar.

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