Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 105   |   9 May 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 106





Estimate: 25'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 20'000 CHF Price realized: 28'000 CHF
Maximianus Herculius, 286 – 308. Aureus circa 287, AV 5.54 g. MAXIMIA – NVS PF AVG Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust r. Rev. HERCVLI – VICTORI Hercules seated facing on rock, head r., with lion's skin on lap; on l., club and on r., bow and quiver. In exergue, P R. C 306 var. (misdescribed). RIC –. Depeyrot 5B/6. Calicó 4681.
A coin of extraordinary quality. A bold portrait of superb style and a
finely-detailed reverse die. A perfect Fdc

Provenance

Sold by Giessener Münzhandlung, Munich, auction 62, 20 April 1993, lot 610.

”A Distinguished American” Collection, sold by Bank Leu, Zürich, auction 52, 15 May 1991, lot 265.

Claude Vaudecrane (1915-2002) Collection, sold by Bank Leu, Zürich, auction 93 (”a perfectionist”), 10 May 2005, lot 119.

Sold by Gemini LLC, New York, auction II, 11 January 2006, lot 512.

The invocation on this coin "to Hercules, the Victor" was appropriate in 287 as Maximian was just starting to overcome the anarchy that had reigned in the West for the previous two years. Not only was Hercules the emperor's patron, but he was renowned for his ability to take on a proverbial 'Herculian task' and emerge victorious. Maximian faced threats so numerous and daunting that people might well have presumed that if he triumphed, it was with the benefit of divine assistance. Hercules is shown as an older, bearded man seated facing upon a rock, looking right, with the skin of the Nemean lion draped over his lap. With his left hand he holds his club, and his bow and arrow-filled quiver are prominently displayed in the right field. The standing figure of Hercules was a universal image and was used on coins from numerous mints over a long period, whereas this powerful image was used only for aurei of Rome in c.287 and aurei of Trier in c.294, when that mint re-opened in anticipation of a new effort to reclaim Britain.

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