As we've reported, Sotheby's is shortly to auction the world famous Archer M. Huntington Collection of coins.
However, we have yet to cover all of the aspects of this remarkable sale. In particular, the Roman coin section of the auction is surprisingly well developed.
This is the Rome: From Republic through Empire section. The ascendancy of the Romans on the Iberian Peninsula from the second century B.C. effectively created the concept of a unified Spain.
During more than six centuries, the two provinces of Spain became an increasingly important asset, providing great wealth and resources for the Empire. Although Huntington's focus was on Spain, he used Rome's rule of the region as rationale to expand his collection to include not only pieces struck on the Iberian Peninsula, but also Roman coins which may have circulated there as well.
The more than 400 Roman gold coins are particularly impressive and span the full history of Rome. The collection includes examples struck under Julius Caesar, Brutus and Cassius, Sextus Pompey, the twelve Caesars, the Spanish-born emperors Trajan and Hadrian, as well as multiple examples of short-lived emperors such as Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Pertinax and Macrinus.
The gold solidus, which was struck during the momentary reign of Priscus Attalus (A.D. 409-410), is one of only twelve known examples, highlighting the impressive nature of the collection.
An additional 3,000 silver and bronze coins from the earliest days of the Republic through to the collapse of Rome attest to the depth of this section, which includes an example of what is probably the most famous coin of antiquity: the Ides of March denarius.
This was struck by Brutus to commemorate the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., only months after Caesar's return from Spain and the battle of Munda.
Heritage sold an example of the Ides of March coin earlier this year for $546,250.