DNW – Coins, Tokens and Medals – 2 June 2021
DNW are held an auction on 2 and 3 June 2021. The full catalogue can be found here. To view any of my selected lots in the auction catalogue, click on the lot number.
There is a buyer’s premium of 24% (plus VAT) on the hammer price.
The auction was a mixed bag, with some lots achieving good prices, such as Lot 847 below. However, a few of the lots with higher estimates failed to sell, notably Lot 866, a Carausius denarius.
Agrippina the Younger was the fourth wife of Claudius, her uncle. Claudius had three blood children – Britannicus, Octavia and Antonio from previous marriages. For Agrippina, the marriage was not based on lover, but on power. It was part of her plan to make her existing son, Nero, the next emperor. Things initially went to plan as Claudius adopted Nero as his son and was lining him up as his successor. However, he later repented marrying Agrippina and began to favour Britannicus.
This gave Agrippina a motive to kill Claudius and some sources say that she poisoned him with a plate of deadly mushrooms. Modern sources say that his death might have been from natural causes. Whatever the cause of his death, Agrippina took the opportunity to introduce Nero to the Praetorian Guard and the Senate as the new emperor.
The obverse shows the jugate busts of Nero and his mother, Agrippina the Younger. Jugate coins are relatively uncommon in Roman coinage and show the close influence Agrippina had over Nero at the start of his reign. The legend reads: NERO CLAVD DIVI F CAES AVG GERM IMP TR P COS – ‘Nero Caesar Augustus Germanicus son of Divine Claudius, hailed victorious commander, with Tribunician power, Consul“. This raft of imperial titles and official positions is designed to give legitimacy to Nero.
The denarius’ reverse shows an elephant-drawn quadriga bearing seated figures, likely those of Claudius and Augustus. This is designed to show Nero’s blood connection to Augustus as well as his adoption by Claudius. The Reverse’s Legend, AGRIPP AVG DIVI CLAVD NERONIS [CAES MATER] – “Agrippina Augusta, wife of Divus Claudius, mother of Nero Caesar“, stresses the significance of Agrippina in securing the imperial position for Nero.
This denarius was a detecting find from April 2021 at Dilton Marsh, Wiltshire. It is recorded at the PAS as FASAM-437278. The PAS record states that this is the first of its type to be recorded and the auctioneer describes it as unique.
The obverse has a bust of Carausius. The reverse shows a hexastyle temple of Roma with a seated figure inside. The legend reads ROMAE AETERNAE V. The addition of the V at the end of the legend is unique. This could indicate that the temple depicted is the temple of Roma and Venus located in Rome. It is suggested that this would replicate the imagery used by Augustus and would fit into the wider attempts of Carausian numismatic propaganda.
The coin is marked with “SRS” in the exergue. The PAS record suggests that this is a simply a erroneous form of “RSR”. This appeared on many coins of Carausius and stood for Redeunt Saturnia Regna. “the Golden Age returns”. The auctioneer considers that such uncharacteristic sloppiness would be surprising.