Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 46

The Millennia Collection

Roman Coins
Lot Photo Description Realized
Lot 123
Rome. Geta, as Caesar, 198-209 AD. Gold Aureus (7.38 g), Rome mint, struck 200 AD. Bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust of young Geta right. Reverse: Geta, in military attire, standing left, holding branch and reversed spear, trophy of shields and arms behind; PRINC IVVENT. RIC 16a; BMCRE 228; C 156; Biaggi 1254; Calicó 2910a. Finely centered and struck, on an ample flan, and lustrous, featuring a charming portrait of the child Geta. Lovely, and very rare. NGC graded Uncirculated.
Estimated Value $15,000 - 18,000.
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Lot 124
Rome. Macrinus, 217-218 AD. Rome. Gold Aureus (7.29 g), Rome mint, struck 218 AD. Laureate, cuirassed, and draped bust of Macrinus right. Reverse: Macrinus and Diadumenian on decorated, raised platform left, seated in curule chairs, dispensing largesse to citizen at lower left; flanking them are Liberalitas at left, holding abacus and cornucpiae, and officer behind, holding implements; LIBERALITAS AVG. RIC 79; BMCRE 71; C. 43; Fr-449. Exceptional, sensitive portrait for this emperor. Interesting historical type. Extremely rare. NGC graded Choice Uncirculated.
Estimated Value $30,000 - 35,000.
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Lot 125
Rome. Elagabalus, 218-222 AD. Gold Aureus (7.13 g), Rome, struck late summer 218 AD. Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Elagabalus right. Reverse: Victory striding right, holding wreath and palm branch; VICTOR ANTONINI AVG. Fr-463; RIC 154; Biaggi 1295; BMCRE 31; Calicó 3038; C. 288; Sear II 7485. The portrait of Elagabalus particularly refined and delicate for his series. Rare. NGC graded Choice Uncirculated.

This writer (P.R.) well remembers his boyhood visits to Santa Barbara and its picturesque and well-endowed museum, which was entered by going through a garden. Above an outside portico with an entangling, flowering vine, was a large Capital Plastics holder with a few dozen Roman gold aurei flashing in the sun. At that time, aurei in collectible F-VF condition were fetching at least $300, so of course the grade-school student knew they must be gold foil replicas. While he couldn't study or see them too well (the plastic holder was fastened by screws to the flimsy wood, at a height of about ten feet), they were glittering reminders of the Caesars. Many years later, he would discover that they were the real McCoys, unprotected, perhaps this very coin among them, and be able to more intimately appreciate their beauty and hear the songs they sing.
Estimated Value $15,000 - 18,000.
Ex "Perfectionist Collection," Leu 93, 10 May 2005, lot 78; ex collection of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Numismatic Fine Arts I, 20 March 1975, 382, originally purchased in the period from 1910 to 1925, and almost certainly from the Karnak Hoard of 1901. Illustrated in Money of the World, coin 50.
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Lot 126
Rome. Severus Alexander, 222-235 AD. Gold Aureus (6.31 g), Rome mint, struck 223 AD. Laureate and draped bust of Severus right. Reverse: View of the coliseum (the Flavian Amphitheater): the building has four stories, the first three are arcades with each containing a statue, and the top being of solid masonry with windows and supports for the wooden masts that held the great awnings which protected the spectators from Rome's fierce sun; at the left, a shrine with statue within; at right, a section of a building's column and pediment (perhaps the temple of Jupiter Victor); P M TR P II COS P P. BMCRE -- (but see p. 54 and pp. 128-129, 156-158); cf. C. 247 (silver); cf. Foss. 7 var. (bronze); cf. RIC 33 (silver); Calicó 3095; Sear II 7825 (= Calicó 3095); Vagi 1976. Finely centered and superbly struck, with all the minute details of the building clear and sharp. Of the highest rarity, this the second of two known specimens, and perhaps the finer. NGC graded About Uncirculated.

The name Coliseum, for the Amphitheatrum Flavium as it was originally designated, began to be used around 1000 AD. Begun by Vespasian, inaugurated by Titus in 80 AD, and actually completed during the reign of Domitian, the amphitheater was one of the most remarkable Roman structures to survive to this day. Designed to seat 50,000 spectators, it had around eighty entrances to speed the attending crowds through -- whether they were departing or arriving. Its construction is surprisingly "modern" in its utilization of different combinations of types of construction and materials: concrete for the foundations, travertine marble for the piers and arcades, tufa (a soft and easily worked volcanic rock) as infill between piers and walls of the lower two levels, and finally brick-faced concrete being used for the upper levels as well as for most of the vaults.

In 217 AD, early in the reign of Macrinus, the building was struck by lightning and badly damaged. (This was seen as a very ill omen for the tenure of the new emperor, who had replaced the recently assassinated Caracalla, and whose death he was intimately involved in.) By 218 the Severan dynasty was once more on the throne, in the guise of Elagabalus, and repairs to the Coliseum were begun. Work continued under Severus Alexander so that by 223 AD the building was sufficiently restored to be used once more be used (work on the structure would continue for well over another decade, to be finished during the reign of Gordian III, who celebrated its completion with a small issue of medallions).

In honor of the Coliseum's reopening, Severus Alexander struck a very small issue of commemorative coins: a number of sestertii and asses are known today, a denarius was recorded by Cohen but is now lost, and of course the two aurei, of which this coin is perhaps the finer.
Estimated Value $150,000 - 175,000.
The first example: Biaggi 1323 (=Kent/Hirmer 424 = Steinberg 649 = Hunt III 88 = Bank Leu 79, no. 318 = Hess-Leu 24, no. 333; same dies). These exceptionally important coins came from a small hoard of aurei found in the early 1960s. This other example, ex Hess-Leu 24, now resides in a private Swiss collection (Calicó 3095). Illustrated in Money of the World, coin 51.
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Lot 127
Rome. Severus Alexander, 222-235 AD. Gold Aureus (6.06 g), Rome mint, struck 230 AD. Laureate bust of Severus Alexander right, cloak at shoulder. Reverse: Severus Alexander as Romulus, founder of Rome, in military attire, walking right, holding spear and trophy; PM TR P VIIII COS III PP. RIC 103; BMCRE 620; C. --; Calicó 3121. Finely centered on spacious flan. Bold, sharp strike and fully lustrous. NGC graded Choice Uncirculated.

Alexander's reign saw the end of the Severan dynasty, which despite a brief interruption had lasted four decades. As an individual, he seems to have possessed the finest in personal qualities of all of that clan who had occupied the throne. And, if the times had been better, he might have proved himself to be another Antoninus Pius, whose unexciting reign enjoyed the fruits of the Pax Romana at its zenith. Sadly for Alexander, the times weren't.

For political reasons Alexander was made Caesar and heir to his increasingly detested and irrational cousin, the emperor Elagabalus -- Alexander's grandmother, Julia Maesa, wisely seeing that Severus would be the means for the dynasty's continued existence. He managed to survive the next nine months of his cousin's growing hostility (and occasional assassination attempts). With the demise of Elagabalus in 222 AD, the 14-year-old Alexander was proclaimed Augustus. Because of his young age, Alexander's mother took the dominant role at the initiation of his reign.

Unfortunately for Alexander, it was a position she was loathe to relinquish, even as he matured. Her ambitiousness created a schism between the government and the army, who saw their emperor as being pliant to, and perhaps subservient to, a woman. Nevertheless, while times were peaceful (for a period of about nine years). Alexander ruled wisely and well, and the empire prospered. But when rebellion and invasion flared, his less than aggressive nature (attributed to his mother's domination) was viewed by the army with suspicion. Returning his legions to Germany after fending off Persian incursions in the East, the troops mutinied and murdered Alexander and his mother. The soldiers elected one of their own to the imperial purple, Maximinus "the Thracian," and thus the model for the ascension (and demotion) of Rome's emperors was set for much of the remaining third century.
Estimated Value $5,000 - 5,500.
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Lot 128
Rome. Gordian III, 238-244 AD. Gold Aureus (4.83 g), Rome, struck 241-243 AD. Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gordian III to right. Reverse: Hercules, nude and laureate, standing right, resting hand on hip, the other holds his lion skin and club, propped on a rock; VIRTVTI AVGVSTI. Fr-511; RIC 108; Biaggi 1373/4; Calicó 3242; C. 401. Sharp, highly lustrous and very attractive. Fine portrait of the young, lightly mustachioed emperor. NGC graded Choice About Uncirculated.
Estimated Value $4,500 - 5,000.
Ex "Perfectionist Collection," Leu 93, 10 May 2005, lot 86; ex Bank Leu 13, 29 April 1975, 475.

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Lot 129
Rome. Trajan Decius, 249-251 AD. Gold Aureus (4.88 g), Rome, struck 249 AD. Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Trajan Decius right. Reverse: Victory walking left, holding out wreath in her right hand, and palm branch in the other; VICTORIA AVG. RIC 7a; Biaggi 1398; Calicó 3301; C. 108. Sharp and well struck. Lustrous, with an excellent portrait. Very rare. NGC graded About Uncirculated.
Estimated Value $7,000 - 8,000.
Ex "Perfectionist Collection," Leu 93, 10 May 2005, lot 88.

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Lot 130
Rome. Trebonianus Gallus, 251-253 AD. Gold Binio (6.17 g), Rome, struck c. June-November 251 AD. Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust of Trebonianus Gallus right. Reverse: Salus standing right, holding snake in her right hand and feeding it from a patera held in her left; SALVS AVGG. Fr-552; RIC 13; Biaggi 1414; Calicó 3346; C. 113. Attractive light toning, with a superb portrait and unusually handsome reverse - all on a spacious flan. Tiny scrape on the obverse. Very rare. NGC graded About Uncirculated.

Gold aurei were lightened as to their weight nearly as soon a their inaugural issuance. As can be seen from the given weights in grams in this superlative collection, the AD 3rd century brought a confusion of standards. The great fluctuation of existing specimens suggests that they were weighed and equated to so many silver coins, or computed as to their combined weight. A "binio" is simply a double.
Estimated Value $14,000 - 16,000.
Ex "Perfectionist Collection," Leu 93, 10 May 2005, lot 89; ex Bank Leu 10, 29 May 1974, 340.

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Lot 131
Rome. Gallienus, 253-268 AD. Gold Heavy Aureus (4.67 g), Rome mint, struck 262 AD. Laureate head of Gallienus left. Reverse: Inscription in three lines, within imperial wreath; FIDES / MILI / TVM. Biaggi --; RIC 41; C. 255; Göbl 521. Sharply, and perfectly struck in high relief, and on a very broad flan. The portrait is of particularly fine style for the Rome mint at the time. Virtually as struck. Very rare. NGC graded About Uncirculated.
Estimated Value $14,000 - 15,000.
Illustrated in Money of the World, coin 52.

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