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Lot 4161

Pertinax, AD 193. Gold Aureus (7.1g) minted at Rome, AD 193. IMP CAES P HELV PERTIN AVG. Laureate, bearded head right of Pertinax. Reverse: LAETITIA TEMPOR COS II. Laetitia (Joy) standing left, holding wreath in right hand, scepter in left. Sear 6033; Calicó 2383; RIC 4a. Boldly struck and perfectly centered. Extremely rare. Extremely Fine.

The murder of Commodus on the night of December 31, AD 192, brought to a violent end the Antonine dynasty that had served the Empire so well for more than four decades under the emperors Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. As on the occasion of Domitian's assassination almost a century before, the power vacuum was filled by a worthy successor, in this case the city prefect Publius Helvius Pertinax, a former governor of Britain. In a reaction against the excesses of the reign of his predecessor Commodus, Pertinax attempted to implement vital reforms and economies. Unfortunately, this made him highly unpopular with the soldiers of the praetorian guard who had been pampered under the previous regime. Just three months after the elevation of Pertinax to the throne, the imperial palace was invaded by a band of mutinous praetorians who proceeded to murder the emperor. A disgraceful episode ensued in which the Empire was auctioned by the soldiers to the highest bidder, thus bringing to the throne Marcus Didius Julianus. Not surprisingly, this led to outrage in the provinces where three governors vowed to avenge the murder of Pertinax by punishing the praetorian guard. Of these, Septimius Severus was ultimately successful in taking possession of the capital, ascending the imperial throne, and establishing a new dynasty that was to last for four decades. The murdered emperor was deified and his memory honored by the production of a commemorative coinage. Severus even added the name of Pertinax to his own titles. The three-month coinage of Pertinax is inevitably rare, especially so the gold aurei of which this is a splendid example.
Estimated Value $30,000 - 40,000.
The Hunter Collection.

Realized $40,250

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