Infamy! Rare Roman coin marking Julius Caesar's assassination may bring $500,000



2015-06-26 12:27:52

Infamy! Rare Roman coin marking Julius Caesar's assassination may bring $500,000

The silver denarius marking the Ides of March will be the star of the Rubicon Collection at Heritage

The most famous ancient coin in existence must surely be the 'Ides of March' silver denarius struck by Julius Caesar's assassin Marcus Brutus, celebrating the infamous deed.

It will return to its longtime California home this summer for display before heading to the auction block as part of Heritage Auctions' September 7 Long Beach Signature World & Ancient Coins Auction at the Long Beach Numismatic Expo, where it is expected to bring over $500,000.

The coin will be on view at Heritage's Beverly Hills offices, 9478 West Olympic Blvd., Friday, September 2, with a special Roman-themed reception held on Saturday, September 3, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

Ides of March coin Julius Caesar obverse Brutus's head appears on the Ides of March coin obverse

The 'Ides of March' denarius, struck in 42 B.C., is the only Roman coin to openly celebrate an act of murder, the only Roman coin to mention a specific date and one of the very few ancient coins to enter popular imagination.

Julius Caesar remains well remembered, regardless of whether people know him through Shakespeare's play or Asterix books.

His autograph was one of the first to be collected, and would be one of the most valuable in the world if any examples were found. This makes the coin a particularly strong alternative investment.

Should the coin reach its pre-auction estimate of $500,000, it will establish a record price for a Roman silver coin.

Not only is this one of the finest examples known of this historic rarity, this 'Ides of March' denarius once resided in the collections of well-known Hollywood producer Sy Weintraub and the actor Peter Weller.

Ides of March coin Julius Caesar reverse The reverse is quite explicit in recalling the deed

It was also in the world-famous Nelson Bunker Hunt Collection, sold in 1990, with an auction pedigree going back to the early 1900s. As an important historic coin with a distinguished pedigree, it is one of the most desirable collectible of any kind that one could ever imagine acquiring.

The event celebrated on the coin, of course, is the assassination of Julius Caesar on the 'Ides of March', March 15, 44 BC. The dime-sized silver coin depicts the head of Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the ringleaders of the assassination plot, on its obverse. The reverse depicts a dome-shaped liberty cap, flanked by two drawn daggers, and the Latin inscription EID MAR.

Since the early part of the 2000s, the coin has been part of a private Arizona private holding, dubbed The Rubicon Collection (Julius Caesar's military action of crossing the Rubicon river to invade Rome coined phrase for a point of no return) for Heritage's September 7 auction.

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