Sunday, 24 April 2022

"Ides of March" Coins

Brutus issued a silver denarius celebrating the assassination of Caesar on the Ides of March (March 15). The denarius has a portrait of Brutus on the obverse, with on the reverse a liberty cap flanked by two daggers over the inscription EID(ibus) MAR(tiis). The liberty cap was the garment given to a manumitted slave to indicate his free status, so the reverse side symbolizes Brutus and Cassius liberating Rome with their daggers. There are about 60 known copies of the silver denarius. A superb example made $332k in a 2016 auction. Silver specimens in extremely fine condition have sold at auction for $120k. Low grade silver examples will make $50k.
An ‘Ides of March’ aureus is one of three known examples. It was recently discovered hidden away in a private European collection. The coin is in mint condition and has been described as “the undisputed masterpiece of ancient coinage.” It made $3.5m.
In October of 42 B.C., months after the coins were struck, Brutus and Cassius were routed by Marc Anthony and Octavian’s forces and died in the Battles of Philippi. Their coins were outlawed and very few survived.
The famous 'Eid Mar' aureus on loan to the British Museum for the past decade has been offered for sale. It will be sold at auction on May 30 in Zurich and is expected to fetch more than £1.5 million (US$2m).

The coin was minted by Marcus Junius Brutus to commemorate the assassination of Ceasar. The coin shows an inscription that reads “EID MAR” short for Eidibus Martiis, the Ides of March, along with two daggers and a liberty cap symbolizing freedom. The other side of the coin features a portrait of Brutus with the inscription “BRVT IMP” or Brutus, Imperator.
The coin has a hole. It is believed that it could only have been worn by a senior supporter and perhaps even one of the conspirators of Caesar’s murder.