Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 20

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Lot 24

Caracalla, 198-217 AD. AE Sestertius, Rome, struck 213 AD. One of the classic Roman rarities. Not to be missed. Laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen somewhat from behind. Reverse: Aerial view of the Circus Maximus: arcade of arches in front, with larger to right, and two more arches, close and distant, surmounted by quadrigae; temple of Sol along back wall; occupying the spina -- meta, equestrian statue of Trajan, obelisk of Ramses II, shrine of Cybele, column, and meta; to right, three quadrigae racing. RIC 500a; C. 236; BMCRE 251; Hill, Monuments, 73. Sharp strike, with choice smooth patina, in variegated greens, with touches of red and brown, and slight earthen highlights. Very rare! Choice Very Fine.

Only two rare issues of sestertii featured the famed monument of Rome. The first was struck by Trajan in 103 AD, to commemorate the extensive repairs and restoration he applied to the structure. A fire in 80 A.D. added further to the calamities that frequently befell the Circus. Domitian accomplished the repairs, but some of the arches collapsed during Trajan's reign, and thus his major overhaul of the buildings and seating. Caracalla further enlarged the seating capacity, along with additional cosmetic embellishments, in 213 AD. This was a major renovation. It is well known that Caracalla was a devotee of the circus, something that had caused his father much annoyance. Thus Caracalla celebrated, with some satisfaction, his improvements by likewise issuing exceedingly rare aurei and sestertii depicting the Circus. In fact he virtually replicated Trajan's coin design, but enhanced it with the added details of a chariot race in progress.
Estimated Value $8,000 - 9,000.

Realized $7,015

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