The most famous ancient coin of all – the ‘Ides of March’ coin celebrating Caesar’s assassination Ancient rarity expected to bring $500,000+ in Heritage’s Sept. 7 Long Beach World & Ancient coins auction; on display in Beverly Hills, Sept. 2-3
News-Antique.com - Jul 12,2011 - LONG BEACH, CA – The most famous ancient coin in existence, the “Ides of March” silver denarius struck by Julius Caesar’s assassin Marcus Brutus, celebrating the infamous deed, will return to its longtime California home this summer for display, Sept. 2-3, before heading to the auction block.
It is being offered as part of Heritage Auctions’ Sept. 7 Long Beach Signature® World & Ancient Coins Auction at the Long Beach Numismatic Expo, where it is expected to bring $500,000+.
The coin will be on view at Heritage’s Beverly Hills offices, 9478 West Olympic Blvd., Friday, Sept. 2, with a special Roman-themed reception held on Saturday, Sept. 3, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“The ‘Ides of March’ denarius, struck in 42 B.C., is the only Roman coin to openly celebrate an act of murder,” said David S. Michaels, Director of Ancient Coins for Heritage, “the only Roman coin to mention a specific date and one of the very few ancient coins to enter the popular imagination.”
Should the coin reach its pre-auction estimate of $500,000+, it will establish a record price for a Roman silver coin.
“Not only is this one of the finest examples known of this historic rarity, this ‘Ides of March’ denarius once resided in the collections of well-known Hollywood producer Sy Weintraub and the actor Peter Weller,” said Michaels. “It was also in the world-famous Nelson Bunker Hunt Collection, sold in 1990, with an auction pedigree going back to the early 1900s. As an important historic coin with a distinguished pedigree, it is one of the most desirable collectible of any kind that one could ever imagine acquiring.”
The event celebrated on the coin, of course, is the assassination of Julius Caesar on the “Ides of March,” March 15, 44 BC. The dime-sized silver coin depicts the head of Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the ringleaders of the assassination plot, on its obverse. The reverse depicts a dome-shaped liberty cap, flanked by two drawn daggers, and the Latin inscription EID MAR.
Since the early part of the 2000s, the coin has been part of a private Arizona holding, all of which is being offered in Heritage’s Sept. 7 auction and dubbed The Rubicon Collection for the event.
“All the coins in the Rubicon Collection are of outstanding historical importance and quality,” Michaels said. “There are, for example, two rare portrait coins of Cleopatra, several of Julius Caesar, and an actual Roman die used to strike silver denarii. The Eid Mar, however, is definitely the star of the show.”
In the 21 centuries since the “Ides of March,” Brutus has been hailed as both a champion of liberty and damned as a vile traitor. Born about 85 BC, Brutus was from a long line of Romans famous for resisting tyranny and defending Republican liberty. He was a close friend and protégé of Julius Caesar, but when Caesar seized power as Dictator in 49 BC, Brutus joined the Republican forces opposed to him. After the defeat of the