World Coins

Markoff collection a portrait of Roman history

A gold aureus of Clodius Albinus as augustus, struck at the Lugdunum Mint, is one of two specimens known. It leads Numismatica Ars Classica’s Oct. 6 auction of the S.C. Markoff Collection of Roman Coins.

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An extremely rare gold aureus of Clodius Albinus Augustus highlights Numismatica Ars Classica’s Oct. 6 auction.

The sale, the firm’s 62nd, offers the S.C. Markoff Collection of Roman coins across the centuries, totaling 133 lots filling an 81-page catalog.

Steve Markoff created the collection around the idea that it would contain a coin bearing a portrait of every significant male figure in Roman history. Markoff would not be bound to coins of a specific denomination or metal, sometimes representing the figure with a medallion. In those instances where rulers never had their portraiture on a coin, Markoff collected a representative issue of the ruler.

The circa A.D. 195 to 197 gold aureus of Clodius Albinus, struck at the Lugdunum Mint, is noted not only for its “superb portrait” of the little known ruler, but for its rarity: the example offered at auction is “only the second specimen known of this type and only the fourth aureus of [the ruler] to be known.”

All aurei of Clodius Albinus as augustus are “so rare as to be virtually unobtainable,” according to the catalog. The “rustic” engraved style of these coins are distinct from those issued featuring Clodius Albinus as caesar, which are themselves rare.

Though it has an “insignificant” die break on the reverse, otherwise the coin is “virtually as struck” and almost Fleur-de-Coin. It has an estimate of 450,000 Swiss francs (about $502,914 in U.S. funds).

Numismatica Ars Classica’s buyer’s fees begin at 17.5 percent, with an additional 1.5 percent added for telephone and Internet bidders.

For more information about the auction, telephone the firm at (011) 41 44 261 1703, email it at or visit its website,

Some additional highlights:

Roman Republic, Gaius Cassius Longinus, circa 43 to 42 B.C. gold aureus, mint moving with Brutus and Cassius, “undoubtedly the finest specimen known,” Lot 2004, Good EF.

Roman Republic, Marcus Junius Brutus, circa 43 to 42 B.C. Eid Mar silver denarius, L. Plaetorius Caestianus moneyer, Lot 2005, “struck on a very broad flan and lightly toned, minor areas of porosity, otherwise” EF .

Roman Republic, Sextus Pompeius with Cnaeus Pompeius and Cnaeus Pompeius Junior, circa 42 to 40 B.C. gold aureus, Sicily, “three handsome portraits,” Lot 2006, EF.

Roman Republic, Quintus Labienus Parthieus, 40 B.C. silver denarius, mint moving with Labienus in Asia Minor, Lot 2009, Good EF.

Roman Republic, Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra, circa 36 B.C. silver tetradrachm, Antiochia ad Orontem Syriac secondary mint, Lot 2013, “lovely old cabinet tone,” Good Very Fine.

Roman Empire, Britannicus (son of Claudius), circa A.D. 50 to 54 bronze sestertius, Thracian Mint, “undoubtedly the finest specimen known by far,” Lot 2022, “dark green patina,” EF.

Roman Empire, Galba, April to late autumn A.D. 68 gold aureus, Gaul, Lot 2025, Good EF.

Roman Empire, Vespasian, A.D. 71 Judea Capta bronze sestertius, Lot 2028, “very gently smoothed on obverse, otherwise” Good EF.

Roman Empire, Titus Caesar, A.D. 70 gold aureus, Judaea, “unique,” “one of the very few Roman issues to be struck in Judaea and possibly the most important coin of the whole series,” Lot 2029, “slightly off-centre, otherwise” About EF.

Roman Empire, Aelius Caesar, A.D. 137 gold aureus, Lot 2035, Good EF.

Roman Empire, Marcus Aurelius Augustus, A.D. 163 to 164 bronze medallion, “apparently only the third specimen known,” Lot 2037, “untouched dark patina,” Good EF.

Roman Empire, Didius Julianus, March 28 to June 1, A.D. 193 gold aureus, Lot 2042, Good EF.

Roman Empire, Uranius Antoninus, A.D. 253 to 254 gold aureus, Emesa, Lot 2067, “virtually as struck” and almost Fleur de Coin.

Roman Empire, Salonius Caesar, A.D. 256 gold aureus, Lot 2070, EF.

Roman Empire, Julian I of Pannonia, circa A.D. 284 gold aureus, Siscia, Lot 2081, Good EF.

Roman Empire, Maxentius Augustus, circa A.D. 310 to 312 gold aureus, “only the second specimen known, Lot 2091, “a lovely reddish tone,” Good EF.

Roman Empire, Constans, A.D. 342 to 343 silver medallion of four heavy siliquae or three light miliarenses, Lot 2100, “light iridescent tone, almost invisible marks, otherwise” EF.

Roman Empire, Magnentius, circa A.D. 351 gold medallion of three solidi, Aquileia, Lot 2102, “minor marks, otherwise” EF.

Roman Empire, Vetranio, March to December 350 gold solidus, Siscia, Lot 2103, Good EF.

Roman Empire, Theodosius I, circa 389 silver medallion of three light miliarenses, “only the third and by far the finest specimen known,” Lot 2114, “an almost invisible trace of double striking on obverse, otherwise” EF.

Roman Empire, Arcadius, January 387 silver medallion of three light miliarenses, “apparently unique and unpublished,” Lot 2117, Good EF.

Roman Empire, Priscus Attalus, 409 to 410 gold solidus, Lot 2121, EF.

Roman Empire, Avitus, July 9, 455, to Oct. 17, 456, gold solidus, Lot 2126, About EF. ¦

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