Roman gold heifer aureus up 14.2% on valuation in London sale

A Roman gold aureus depicting a heifer on its reverse headlined a sale at Dix Noonan Webb in London on September 22.

It sold for £400,000 ($654,980), an increase of 14.2% on a £350,000 ($573,107) valuation.

The coin dates to 27-18 BC and was struck under emperor Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire.

Heifer Reverse Gold aureus
The coin was issued under the reign of emperor Augustus

Only 22 coins featuring the heifer design are known to exist, with the vast majority housed in museum collections. Only seven are known to be in circulation on the private market.

Of these there are distinct variations in terms of the direction the cow faces and whether or not Augustus wears a laurel. The present lot is a type 2 coin (Augustus faces right, the cow faces left) and remains in exceptional condition despite its phenomenal age.

Christopher Webb, head of the coins department at Dix Noonan Webb, commented prior to the sale: "This is a truly extraordinary coin.

"Not only is it a unique type of an already very rare coin but its condition after more than 2,000 years is extremely fine and visually it is a beautiful work of art.

"It also represents an epic period when Augustus built an empire that changed the course of human history."

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