Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 111   |   24 September 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 162





Estimate: 50'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 40'000 CHF Price realized: 42'000 CHF
Galba, 68 – 69. Aureus, Tarraco, April to late 68, AV 7.72 g. IMP – GALBA Laureate head r., with globe at point of bust. Rev. HISPANIA Hispania, draped, standing l., holding corn ears and poppy in r. hand and round shield and two vertical spears in l. C –, cf. 81 (IMP SER GALBA AVG). BMC –, cf. 172 (denarius). RIC 20. CBN –, cf. 9 (denarius). Calicó –, cf. 479 (head l.).
Of the highest rarity, apparently only the second specimen known and the only one in
private hands. A very unusual portrait and an interesting and historically important
reverse type. Perfectly struck and centred on a full flan. Extremely fine
Ex NAC sale 51, 2009, 204. From the Collection of a Retired Banker.The coinage of Galba presents a variety of portrait styles because he minted not only at Rome, but also in Spain, Gaul and North Africa. Galba’s Spanish coinage may have been produced at more than one mint, but it is clear that most, if not all of it, was struck at a single mint, presumably Tarraco, his old capital city. After news arrived in Spain of the uprising of Vindex, Galba offered his support to the rebel, upon which his own soldiers hailed him imperator at Carthago Nova on April 2, 68. Once he learned of Vindex’s defeat, he left Hispania Tarraconensis and led his legions on a long march to Rome. Fortunately, Galba’s legions were not required to fight their countrymen since Nero had committed suicide while they were en route, and the capital lay open to receive Galba as emperor. Galba took the helm at a critical moment, for he was the first non-Julio-Claudian emperor and his revolt proved that emperors could be made in the provinces – a lesson the senate and the praetorian guardsmen found hard to accept, but would witness two more times before the civil war had ended.
As one of Galba’s most elegant coin types, this aureus celebrates Spain, the land he governed at the time of his revolt against Nero. The personification of Spain is here shown as a woman of dual virtue: fertility of the land, and prowess in war. In some later representations she is accompanied by a rabbit, a symbol of the region. Both Stabo and Pliny wrote that rabbits were so plentiful in Spain that occasionally towns had to be moved because they were overrun, and that on at least one occasion a city’s foundation was dangerously undermined by burrows.

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