World Coins

Stack’s Bowers August auction includes famous Eid Mar

Stack’s Bowers is offering an example of the Eid Mar silver denarius in an Aug. 15 auction, at least the third example of the famed silver rarity to cross the auction block in 2023.

Images courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries

The year 2023 may just go down in numismatic history as the year of the Eid Mar denarius.

The latest chapter in the ongoing story of the famed rare ancient issue is an offering by Stack’s Bowers Galleries of a silver example in the firm’s Aug. 15 auction.

Struck more than 2,000 years ago to mark the assassination of Julius Caesar, the offered coin is from the Dr. Michael Rogers Collection.

The Eid Mar denarius is not the rarest ancient coin, but it is the top ranked coin in Top 100 Ancient Coins by Harlan Berk, because of its story.

“Everyone knows the infamous story of Brutus and Julius Caesar, and this EID MAR denarius tells that story in a tangible and dramatic fashion that remains unrivaled among ancient coinage,” said Brian Kendrella, Stack’s Bowers Galleries president.

A famous story

The coin was struck by one of Caesar’s assassins — who was previously one of his closest friends — M. Junius Brutus.

Struck during the late summer or early autumn of 42 B.C., roughly two-and-a-half years after the assassination of Rome’s dictator for life, Julius Caesar, the Eid Mar denarius was meant to convey Brutus’s view that Julius Caesar had been slain for the good of the Republic.

The two daggers pictured on the coin allude directly to the means by which Caesar was assassinated, while the Phrygian cap in the middle — an ancient symbol worn by freed slaves — was meant to reinforce the concept of the Republic’s freedom from tyranny.

In addition to this rather explicit iconography, the coin also states the date of the assassination abbreviated as EID MAR.

This example is graded Very Fine, Strike 5/5, Surface 3/5 by Numismatic Guaranty Co. It has an estimate of $150,000 to $300,000.

Earlier 2023 developments

Earlier in 2023, two different silver examples crossed the block, Bruun Rasmussen Auctions selling one June 15 for $616,747, and Heritage Auctions selling one May 3 for $720,000.

Those sales followed the January 2023 arrest of an auction house principle charged with faking the provenance, or ownership history, of the only gold example then in private hands, which had sold for nearly $4.2 million at an Oct. 29, 2020, auction by Roma Numismatic Limited in London. That coin was returned to Greece.

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