Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 72

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Lot 4158

Commodus, AD 177-192. Gold Aureus (7.3g) minted at Rome, AD 178, with Marcus Aurelius, AD 161-180. L AVREL COM - MODVS AVG. Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right of young Commodus. Reverse: TR P III IM - P II COS P. Castor standing left, beside horse standing left, holding bridle in right hand, scepter in left. Sear 5611; Calicó 2337; RIC 648. Wonderful youthful portrait. Lustrous. Superb Extremely Fine.

The unworthy son of a most noble father, Commodus disgraced the imperial office over a period of twelve years following the death of Marcus Aurelius in AD 180. This early aureus, showing him as a seventeen-year-old youth, belongs to the period during which he shared the throne with his father (AD 177-180).

The reverse type is of great interest. It depicts Castor, one of the twin sons of Jupiter and Leda known as the Dioscuri, the other brother being Pollux. Their cult was very important in Rome from early Republican times, and a major temple in their honor was erected in the Roman Forum. Although prominent on the Republican coinage, the Dioscuri were seldom depicted in Imperial times. The appearance of Castor on this beautiful aureus type appears to be connected with the role of the Dioscuri as the patrons of the equites, or knights, and thus the protector of the young emperor who was the leader of Rome's youth.
Estimated Value $20,000 - 25,000.
The Hunter Collection; Ex British Museum, duplicate acquired in the 1980s.

Realized $33,350

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