World Coins

Gold Judea Capta aureus of Titus brings $956,000

A circa A.D. 70 gold aureus of Titus as Caesar featuring the legend IVDAE DEVICTA, or “Judea is conquered,” on the reverse, realized $956,000 during Heritage Auctions’ March 8 and 9 auction in New York City.

Images courtesy of HeritageAuctions.com.

While it was a pair of unique-in-private-hands coins that led all bidding and garnered headlines around the world, including on the cover of Coin World’s March 26 issue, another highlight from the Shoshana Collection also neared the million-dollar mark.

A circa A.D. 70 gold aureus of Titus as Caesar featuring the legend IVDAE DEVICTA, or “Judea is conquered,” on the reverse, realized $956,000, including the 19.5 percent buyer’s fee, in a March 8 and 9 auction in New York City. The lot comes from the Shoshana Collection of Ancient Judaean Coins.

Though victory had not yet been achieved, the Romans were not hesitant to express their plans for domination of the Jews on coinage. During the period in which the Romans fought in the Jewish War, around A.D. 66 to 70, the Romans employed coins as one method of propaganda. The Judea Capta series of coins commemorating the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 after four years of warfare is one of the most widely known from the Roman series, and just one of the areas featured in the first part of the Shoshana Collection, which is being auctioned by Heritage Auctions. The collection of more than 1,800 coins was built over 40 years by a West Coast collector who remains anonymous.

The Judea Capta gold aureus in the auction is “an unparalleled example of this extreme rarity, certainly the finest example known for the type,” according to Heritage.

The undated coin is the only known example with a complete inscription on the shield, according to the firm. Scholars suggest that it was struck early in A.D. 70, before or during the siege of Jerusalem that took place from May to September, so the IVDAE DEVICTA legend “would thus seem to anticipate an inevitable Roman victory and complete subjugation of Judaea,” which finally came after Masada fell in 73.

A laureate bust of Titus as Caesar appears on the obverse of the coin.

The coin is believed to have been struck in Judea or possibly Antioch.

A nick on the cheek is the only detraction “keeping [the coin] from perfection.” Heritage lists the grade as “Lustrous Good” Extremely Fine. The coin had an estimate of $475,000.

A total of 644 of 708 lots, or 91 percent, sold during the auction. The balance of the collection is scheduled to be sold in a fall auction.

A 19.5 percent buyer’s fee applied to all winning bids and is reflected in prices listed here.

For more details about the auction, visit Heritage Auctions online at www.HeritageAuctions.com, write the firm at 3500 Maple Ave., 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219-3941, or telephone Heritage at either 800-872-6467 or 214-528-3500.

Some additional highlights:

Judea, Persian period, Gaza, circa 445 to 410 B.C. silver quarter shekel, 14 millimeters, 3.89 grams, “the best centered and struck examples of six published specimens,” “crystallized,” Extremely Fine, $26,290.

Judea, Persian period, Gaza, circa fourth century B.C. silver shekel, 22 by 24 millimeters, 16.54 grams, “one of three known specimens,” “reverse test cut, with some obverse flattening,” Good Very Fine, $17,925.

Judea, Hasmonean Dynasty, John Hyrcanus I, circa 134 to 104 B.C. bronze double prutah, possibly struck at a mint in the Galilee region, “it is suggested that it was not struck at the Jerusalem mint,” 18 millimeters, 3.38 grams, Hendin 1136 (Guide to Biblical Coins, by David Hendin), VF, $31,070.

Judea, Herodian, Herod of Chalcis (Herod III), circa A.D. 41 to 48 bronze, 25 millimeters, 12.66 grams, Hendin 1252, About EF/EF, $33,460.

Judea, Herodian, Agrippa II, Year 27 (circa A.D. 75 to 76) bronze, mint of Caesarea Paneas, 29 by 31 millimeters, 19.37 grams, “surely among the best known examples of this great rarity,” “dark green patina with earthen fields, minor roughness, otherwise Good Very Fine,” $8,365.

Judea, Jewish War, Year 1 (circa A.D. 66 to 67) silver shekel prototype, 24 millimeters, 13.34 grams, Hendin 1352, “one of two known examples of a prototype design for the first shekel struck by the Jews in the Jewish War,” other example in the Israel Museum, Good EF, $1,105,375.

Judea, Jewish War, Year 1 (circa A.D. 66 to 67) silver quarter shekel, 16 millimeters, 3.13 grams, Hendin 1356, “the better of two known examples,” choice VF, $896,250.

Judea, Jewish War, Year 4 (circa A.D. 69 to 70) silver shekel, 23 millimeters, 14.3 grams, Hendin 1364, “only 40 shekels are known from Year 4,” EF, $38,837.50.

Judea, Jewish War, Year 4 (circa A.D. 68 to 69) silver half shekel, 18 millimeters, 6.78 grams, Hendin 1365, “only six examples of the half-shekel from Year 4 are known to have survived, with this specimen among the finest,” EF, $358,500.

Judea, Jewish War, Year 5 (circa A.D. 69 to 70) silver shekel, 23 millimeters, 13.92 grams, Hendin 1370, “said to be found at Masada” according to Nelson Bunker Hunt Collection catalog, VF, $262,900.

Judea, Jewish War, Year 5 (circa A.D. 69 to 70) silver shekel, 22 millimeters, 13.3 grams, Hendin 1370, Good VF, $179,250.

Judea, Bar Kokhba Revolt, First Year (circa A.D. 132 to 133) silver sela, 24 millimeters, 14.07 grams, Hendin 1373, Superb, $89,625.

Judea, Bar Kokhba Revolt, First Year (circa A.D. 132 to 133) silver sela, 23 millimeters, 14.35 grams, Hendin 1373, Superb, $89,625.

Judea, Bar Kokhba Revolt, First Year (circa A.D. 132 to 133) silver zuz, 19 millimeters, 3.05 grams, Hendin 1374, Good VF, $56,762.50.

Judea, Bar Kokhba Revolt, Second Year (circa A.D. 133 to 134) silver sela, 25 millimeters, 14.74 grams, Hendin 1385, About EF, $23,900.

Judea, Bar Kokhba Revolt, Second Year (circa A.D. 133 to 134) silver sela, 27 millimeters, 14.66 grams, Hendin 1385, “hybrid with first year obverse,” “almost unbelievably perfect specimen, certainly one of the finest in existence,” Fleur de Coin, $71,700.

Judea, Bar Kokhba Revolt, Second Year (circa A.D. 133 to 134) large bronze, 36 millimeters, 16.51 grams, Hendin 1404, “flan crack, brown patina,” About EF, $38,837.50.

Roman Imperial, Judea Capta, Vespasian, circa A.D. 71 gold sestertius, 35 millimeters, 25.62 grams, “Tiber patina” (fresh patina, as if recovered from a peat bog), “impressive Good Extremely Fine,” $262,900.

Roman Imperial, Judea Capta, Vespasian, circa A.D. 71 gold sestertius, 35 millimeters, 30.4 grams, Hendin 1500b, “perfect and untouched light green patina,” EF, $95,600.

Roman Imperial, Judea Capta, Divus Vespasian, circa A.D. 80 to 81 gold sestertius, “struck by Titus [his son],” commemorative, 20 millimeters, 7.33 grams, Hendin 1581, Superb, $131,450.

Roman Imperial, Judea Capta, Titus as Caesar, circa A.D. 72 to 73 gold sestertius, Rome Mint, 19 millimeters, 6.59 grams, Hendin 1469, About EF, $101,575.

Roman Imperial, Judea Capta, Titus as Caesar, circa A.D. 72 to 73 bronze sestertius, Rome Mint, 34 millimeters, 26.61 grams, Hendin 1542, “natural gray-green patina,” EF, $31,070.

Roman Imperial, Judea Capta, Nerva, circa A.D. 96 bronze sestertius, Rome Mint, 32 millimeters, 23.63 grams, Hendin 1603, “wonderful portrait, surely among the finest known examples of this enigmatic issue,” EF, $77,675. ¦


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