By Tom Michael
Authenticated, encapsulated and graded MSΗ 5/5 – 3/5, Fine Style by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and sold by Roma Numismatics Limited in their celebratory Auction XX, this is only the third known example in gold of this post-assassination design. The other two examples are currently with institutions; one on long-term loan to the British Museum and the other in the Deutsche Bundesbank collection.
Final bid was 2.7 million pounds sterling or about 3.5 million dollars. With the juice added in, this extremely rare and desirable Roman coin carried a cost to the buyer of just about $4.2 million.
As the Roma Numismatics Limited lot description notes, “Nothing resonates so deeply with those knowledgeable in ancient Roman coinage as the dramatic EID MAR type struck by Brutus in 42 BC, nor indeed is any type more sought after by connoisseurs. Herbert A. Cahn’s 1989 study entitled Eidibus Martiis noted 56 examples in silver and 2 in gold.” However, today it is thought that as many as double that figure may exist of the silver strike, while the gold remains almost as elusive as ever.
Striking a coin to commemorate a murder is truly as bold and brutal as the act itself, carried out by a large group of Roman Senators conspiring to end Caesar’s drive towards uncontrolled dictatorship. The elements of the coin’s design tell the full tale from the view of Brutus and Cassius. The two daggers are those of Brutus and Cassius. The pileus between them is a cap of liberty and emancipation. The legend EID MAR is an abbreviation of EIDIBVS MARRTIIS or the Ides of March.
Who can resist such a tale of intrigue in a rare and beautiful coin?