Saturday, 11 September 2021

Expensive Ancients

A gold aureus of Diadumenianus (or Diadumenian). He was son and co-emperor of Macrinus who ruled from April 217 to June 218. Macrinus came to power by murdering his predecessor, the demented Caracalla. He then made Diadumenianus, his nine-year-old son, co-emperor. Defeated in battle, both were hunted down and executed by rebel troops. In 1973 an aureus sold for $65,825 USD. In 2018 a comparable example made $239,020.
Julius Saturninus was the Roman governor of Syria. He was forced by his troops and an unruly mob to proclaim himself as emperor in the year 280. After a few months, he was killed by his own troops. Only two coins are known. One resides in the French national collection, the other sold by Sotheby’s in 1972 for $61,500. It appeared again at auction in 1991 and brought $180,000. It's price today would be significantly higher.
Jewish War Year 5 Silver Shekel. Judea rose in revolt in the year 66. The war dragged on for five bloody and bitter years. Around 25 genuine examples of the Year 5 shekel are known. The most recent one to appear at auction brought $300k in 2020.
Marius aureus. In 269 CE, a blacksmith who had risen through the ranks of the Roman army on the Rhine was proclaimed emperor by his troops under the name “Marcus Aurelius Marius”. He reigned for a few months before he was executed, according to legend with a sword that he had forged. Only about nine gold aurei of Marius exist. The sole undamaged coin in private hands sold for $59,305 in 1972. When it came to market again in 2003, it made $138,598.