Roman Octavian gold aureus shines with 227% increase in LA

Outstanding results were seen by a Roman gold aureus from the reign of Octavian at an LA auction that was held February 3-6.

Roman Octavian Gold Aureus
Octavian was posthumously adopted by Julius Ceasar, becoming Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, although to save confusion he is usually known at Augustus

The aureus, which was the earliest gold portrait coin issued in Rome, sold for an impressive $425,500, making a huge 227.3% increase on its $130,000 high estimate. It was sold from the Hunter Collection, one of three important collections to have featured in the sale.

Octavian, later known as Augustus, was the founder of the Roman Empire and served as its first emperor. Together with Mark Anthony, he formed the Second Triumvirate to defeat the assassins of Caesar, and the senate were eventually forced to accept his elevation to the highest position in Rome.

The aureus dates to 43 BC, the time of Octavian's election as consul. It bears a portrait of Julius Caesar, which is seen as an attempt to establish Octavian's position as his rightful heir and win the favour of his troops, who were loyal to Caesar. The obverse bears Octavian's own portrait, around which is an inscription that records his consulship as well as his membership in the College of Pontiffs and the augures.

Mark Anthony - now Octavian's rival - also issued gold coins bearing Julius Caesar's portrait while in Cisalpine Gaul.

The coin at auction is in about extremely fine condition, with some scattered field marks noted.

Paul Fraser Collectibles offers an outstanding array of rare coins for sale, including our William IV 1831 crown, which displays the work of legendary engraver William Wyon and is a previously unrecorded variety.

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