Roman “Ides of March” Ancient Coin Sets Record at Heritage Long Beach Auction

by Heritage Auctions on September 29, 2011 · 0 comments

A famous "Ides of March" silver denarius of Marcus Brutus fetched a record-shattering $546,250 on Sept. 7 at Heritage Auctions’ World & Ancient Coins event, part of Heritage’s $34 million total Long Beach Numismatic Auctions, at the Long Beach Convention Center.

The Immortal Ides of March Denarius Coin

The immortal "Ides of March" Denarius coin, struck by Marcus Junius Brutus in 42 B.C. to celebrate the assassination of Julius Caesar, realized $546,250, the most ever paid at auction for a Roman silver coin, at the Heritage September Long Beach World and Ancient Coins Auction.

The price realized, which includes the 15% Buyer’s Fee, is the most ever paid at auction for a Roman silver coin.

The Sept. 7 session of Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins was part of a four-day series of auctions at Heritage, featuring the Rubicon Collection of Roman coins and the Norman Jacobs Collection of Asian coins, which brought a total of $20.5 million together, setting a world record for a multi-consignor auction featuring World and Ancient coins.

"It was a privilege to be part of this historic auction series," said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Heritage’s Executive Vice President of International Numismatics. "The beauty and quality of these collections set new standards for World coins offered at auction, and to see it reflected in the results is very gratifying."

"Only rarely does any numismatist get to handle a coin as important as the Rubicon Eid Mar denarius," said David S. Michaels, Director of Ancient Coins for Heritage.

ancient gold aureus of Marc Antony and Octavian

In another highlight from the Heritage the September Long Beach Auction of ancients, this gold aureus of Marc Antony and Octavian realized $80,500.

The coin, a dime-sized silver piece, features a portrait of Marcus Junius Brutus, the lead assassin of Julius Caesar, on one side and a liberty cap flanked by two daggers along with the legend EID MAR (for March 15, 44 BC, the date Caesar was assassinated) on the reverse.

"This coin was already legendary when it came to us, having resided in the collections of statesman Hall Park McCollough, movie producer Sy Weintraub, industrialist Nelson Bunker Hunt, and actor-turned-professor Peter Weller," said Michaels. "It’s the coin depicted in many important publications on ancient coins, including David R. Sear’s Roman Coins and Their Values. We knew as soon as we received this coin for auction that it would draw intense interest, although we had no idea it would end up in a major feature in the Wall Street Journal."

Estimated at $450,000-550,000, the Eid Mar received several pre-auction bids before proceeding to the floor, where it opened at $375,000. A combination of floor and phone bids took it to $450,00 before it finally was hammered down at $475,000 to a "book" bid entered just before the session started by a well-established dealer acting as agent for a client.

Julius Caesar as Dictator (49-44 BC) AR denarius ancient coin

In one more highlight from the Heritage the September Long Beach Auction of ancients, this piece featuring a portrait denarius of Julius Caesar realized $57,500.

The Eid Mar denarius was part of a 26-coin offering of Roman coins dubbed The Rubicon Collection, most of which featured famous Romans of the Imperatorial era. Other amazing prices fetched by Rubicon coins included:

Including lots offered in the internet Final Session on Sept. 12, the Ancients offering totaled 965 lots and brought a total of $1.8 million. Other notable prices included:

"The market for quality ancient Greek and Roman coins has never been better," said Michaels. "Many of these coins sold for multiples of what the same pieces sold for less than a decade ago. The demand for truly singular ancient coins is simply going off the charts."

"These results prove Heritage has truly placed itself in the forefront of Ancient numismatics," said Bierrenbach. "We have sold more than $6.3 million worth of Ancients at auction this year, part of Heritage’s total sales of almost $40 million in World and Ancient coins this year."

About Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

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