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Ancient Gold Aureus Coin of Brutus brings $525,000 in GoldBergs Auction

[ CoinLink News]  After Julius Caesar, the second most recognizable name of the imperatorial era is Marcus Junius Brutus. Was he the last guardian of the Republican age or only an infamous and most vile assassin of Caesar?

Born about 85 BC, Brutus was thrust into the political realm and early became a follower of Cato, a staunch Republican. Later, Brutus built a fortune by lending money at usurious rates and eventually became a Roman senator. What did Brutus really want? Like Edward G. Robinson in Key Largo, “More”?

There grew a great friendship between Caesar and Brutus, but during the Civil War it was clear that Caesar would never return to the former Republican government. Instead, Caesar was swayed by his many victories and public adulation, ultimately accepting the title “dictator for life.”

Caesar’s portrait graced many coin issues, and his likeness was the first of a living person to be depicted upon the specie we now revere. It is ironic to also find the portrayal of Brutus on Coinage.

Marcus Junius Brutus, d. 42 BC. Gold Aureus (8.07 g), struck at a traveling mint in Macedonia or Western Asia Minor, summer/autumn 42 BC. With moneyer, P. Servilius Casca Longus. Bare head right of Brutus with short beard, BRVTVS IMP on either side, all within laurel wreath.

Reverse: Combined military and naval trophies, with prows and shields at base; a small L to left of trophy; CASCA LONGVS on either side. Fr-24 (this coin); Craw 507/1b; BMCRR 62; Syd. 1297; Vagi 94; Kent-Hirmer 99. Faint double striking at back of head, otherwise a splendid likeness, in high relief. Lustrous and sharp! One of the most historic of Roman issues, gold or silver!

Excessively rare. Probably the finest of only 8 recorded specimens. NGC graded Choice About Uncirculated.

The ensuing struggle, the loss of life and of ideals, and the change of government are witnessed and related on this wonderful coin. Shakespeare (perhaps one in the same with Francis Bacon) gave us the perfect glimpse into the stage as life; Joseph Mankiewiez and John Houseman created a magnificent vision in their 1953 film Julius Caesar. With Marlon Brando, James Mason, John Gielgud, Greer Garson, Deborah Kerr and other stellar actors, it is a movie to view and view again. The next time you see it, ponder this aureus .

Estimated Value $400,000 – 500,000. Realized $525,000
Ex John Whitney Walter Collection, Stack’s-Berk Auction (11-29-90), lot 7; ex NFA Auction XXII (06-01-89), lot 23; ex Leu Auction 22 (05-08-79), lot 184. Illustrated in Money of the World, coin 30. Ex Millennia, Lot 75.

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