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Lot 4145

Trajan, AD 98-117. AE Sestertius (26g) minted at Rome, AD 105. IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P. Laureate bust right of Trajan, left shoulder draped. Reverse: S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI. Arched single-span bridge over river, with covered walkway and gateways at either end surmounted by three statues; entrance to right approached by flight of stairs; below, boat moored near right bank, secured by anchor; below waterline, S C. Sear 3207; RIC 569. Dark brown patina with lighter highlights. Well detailed and struck in high relief. Nearly Extremely Fine.

The precise identity of the bridge depicted on this handsome sestertius remains a subject of scholarly speculation. Traditionally, it has been described as the bridge over the Danube near Drobetae, designed by the architect Apollodorus of Damascus and built in AD 104 as part of the preparations for Trajan's Second Dacian War. However, the totally different appearance of this bridge on Trajan's Column in Rome casts serious doubt on this identification. An attractive alternative is provided by the Pons Sublicius in Rome's Regio XIV, the first bridge to span the Tiber. A wooden structure, the bridge was frequently damaged or swept away by floods but was always restored or rebuilt in wood as a matter of religious practice. Doubtless, such a restoration occurred early in the reign of Trajan and was commemorated by this coin type, which appears also on dupondii and asses.
Estimated Value $6,000 - 7,000.
The Hunter Collection.


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