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Libertas / Brutus Denarius


Al Kowsky
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Ever since acquiring a gem-grade Koson gold stater in 2005, I had been on the hunt for a Libertas / Brutus denarius, Crawford 433/1, & finally scored one last month ☺️. I think every collector who has a Koson stater should add one of these denarii to their collection since there is no doubt that the reverse design of this coin inspired the obverse design of the Koson stater. Crawford 433/1 is by no means rare, but high-grade examples can be very expensive; in today's market a gem-grade example could fetch 10-15K at auction. I think the popularity of the Koson staters has fueled the excessively high prices of these denarii. Not only that, but the name BRVTVS on a coin tickles the imagination of every collector of Roman coins. I shamefully overpaid for my denarius, but didn't feel like waiting another decade to find an affordable example. My coin has an attractive portrait of Libertas, is well centered, & has pleasant cabinet toning.

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Q. Servilius Caepio (M. Junius) Brutus. 54 BC. Rome Mint. AR Denarius: 3.91 gm, 20 mm, 1 h. Obverse: Head of Libertas, behind head, LIBERTAS. Reverse: The consul L. Junius Brutus between two axe bearing lictors, being led by an accsensus, BRVTVS below. Crawford 433/1; Sydenham 906a. Ex CNG Inventory 162076, January 2006; Ex Lanz 126, lot 609, Nov. 2005.

Marcus Junius Brutus, simply referred to as Brutus, was born in 85 BC to M. Junius Brutus & Servilia, an earlier mistress to Julius Caesar. The father was opposed to Pompey, who ultimately was responsible for his death. Brutus later changed his name to Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus after being adopted by a relative. Brutus issued this coin to show his strong support for the republican form of government, & the reverse of the coin depicts an ancient relative who overthrew Tarquinius Superbus, the last Etruscan king of Rome.

 

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Koson Stater, 44-42 BC. AV Stater: 8.37 gm, 21 mm, 12 h. Struck by a traveling mint of Brutus, with gold supplied by the Roman Republic, to pay legionnaires & mercenaries fighting against Antony & Octavian. The obverse design is inspired by Crawford 433/1, & the reverse design is inspired by Crawford 398/1. Ex Freeman & Sear 12, lot 96, October 2005.

For anyone wishing to explore the origin of Koson staters, Calgary Coins published an excellent in-depth article evaluating all the well known theories on these controversial coins. See the link below.

KOSON GOLD STATER - Calgary Coin Gallery

 

1709558915_Nomos1lot1335May200918000CHF.jpg.6dc43b0f2754ab295132245601a4f18e.jpg

Q. Pomponius Rufus, 70 BC. Rome mint. AR Denarius: 3.76 gm, 20 mm, 9 h. Obverse: Head of Jupiter, S.C RVFVS. Reverse: Eagle with spread wings holding wreath, VII below leg, standing on scepter, Q. POMPONI below. Crawford 398/1. Very rare. EX Nomos AG 1, lot 133, May 2009, price realized $20,096.00. Photo courtesy of Nomos AG.

These coins are so expensive I don't expect to ever add one to my collection ☹️.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Very nice examples. I think I know about the Q. Pomponius Rufus denarius from you, @Al Kowsky. Would love one of those myself, but ...

Here is my Brutus example, not the best you will see out there, but probably the cheapest and for me - an excellent addition.

I had some doubts about it, because the weight is very low and the coin is very thin, but I discussed with some specialists who told me the coin is genuine so no worries.

image.png.37f805c03c32b1e5a8f5c7def4b5bd1e.png

image.png.311f014d671f4d707913de0ee78d02f5.png

Q. Servilius Caepio (M. Junius) Brutus 54 BC. Rome
Denarius AR
20 mm, 2,74 g
[LIBERTAS], bust of Libertas to right / Consul L. Junius Brutus, between two lictors, preceded by accensus, all walking to left; [BRVTVS] in exergue.
Crawford 433/1; BMCRR Rome 3862; RSC Junia 31.

 

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Posted · Supporter

Good looking coin, great details. These demand a high fee, especially in the current market. I do wonder if the buyers over bidding realize its not the famous Brutus walking about, on the reverse... 

 I have two other coins of Brutus. I had your time, but sold it via AMCC. 
0.6_2.png.c79c10516dda65f5a9155ca77f1f9185.png

This one has so far proven impossible for me to take a proper picture of. It looks like road kill.

0_16.png.9bac7b98b537aaa735b4bc17defb9674.png

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2 hours ago, Limes said:

Good looking coin, great details. These demand a high fee, especially in the current market. I do wonder if the buyers over bidding realize its not the famous Brutus walking about, on the reverse... 

 I have two other coins of Brutus. I had your time, but sold it via AMCC. 
0.6_2.png.c79c10516dda65f5a9155ca77f1f9185.png

This one has so far proven impossible for me to take a proper picture of. It looks like road kill.

0_16.png.9bac7b98b537aaa735b4bc17defb9674.png

Limes, you make a good, if the buyer of Crawford 433/1 doesn't do some reading he may think it's Brutus & not the ancestor 😉.

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3 hours ago, ambr0zie said:

Very nice examples. I think I know about the Q. Pomponius Rufus denarius from you, @Al Kowsky. Would love one of those myself, but ...

Here is my Brutus example, not the best you will see out there, but probably the cheapest and for me - an excellent addition.

I had some doubts about it, because the weight is very low and the coin is very thin, but I discussed with some specialists who told me the coin is genuine so no worries.

image.png.37f805c03c32b1e5a8f5c7def4b5bd1e.png

image.png.311f014d671f4d707913de0ee78d02f5.png

Q. Servilius Caepio (M. Junius) Brutus 54 BC. Rome
Denarius AR
20 mm, 2,74 g
[LIBERTAS], bust of Libertas to right / Consul L. Junius Brutus, between two lictors, preceded by accensus, all walking to left; [BRVTVS] in exergue.
Crawford 433/1; BMCRR Rome 3862; RSC Junia 31.

 

Ozie, I'm sure the surface corrosion would account for the light weight 😉.

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I happen to be reading this at the moment!

image.png.7dc993bfefaeeaceba673071f9aa175a.png

image.jpeg.59b8ff05c1256e5e837d80bf8e2a8d0d.jpeg

Rome had been ruled by Kings traditionally since 753 BCE. However, her last King, after many offenses and excesses at the expense of the Roman people... Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was deposed in 509 BCE. The Monarchy was replaced by a Republic.

Instrumental in the overthrow of the monarchy, one of the first two Consuls of Rome in 509BCE, was Lucius Junius Brutus. He was consul with Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus and later Publius Valerius Publicola. According to Livy, one of Brutus' first acts as a Consul was to have the Roman citizens swear an oath to never allow a King of Rome. Even when his own two sons were caught in a conspiracy to restore the monarchy, under orders of the Consuls, he stoically witnessed their execution... Tough love...


Later, in 439 BCE Republican Rome was gripped in a severe famine; people starving, suffering abounded. Enter Spurius Maelius, a wealthy Plebeian, who saw an opportunity to seize Rome... He purchased a large amount of wheat to distribute - at a low price - to the starving people of Rome. However, his ulterior motive was to foster support to usurp the fledgling Republic and proclaim himself Rex (King). A hated word in Roman vocabulary! The cry of the people arose and Maelius was to appear before the aging Cincinnatus, (the elected Dictator during this crisis.) Enter Gaius Servilius Ahala, Magister Equitum (Master of the Horse). Maelius refused to appear, and was hunted down and killed by Ahala. Ahala then razed his home to the ground and distributed the withheld wheat to the starving people.

Fast forward to 54 BCE: Long descendant of the two early Republic Heroes, Marcius Junius Brutus, (also known as Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus), new to politics at 31 years old, enters the membership of the vigintisexvirate (the three Moneyers authorized to mint coinage). This was the first step on the cursus honorum - the road to political office in the Republic. Because of his deep-rooted love for the Res Publica, he honors his ancestral heritage by placing the busts of both great family forefathers, Brutus and Ahala, on the obverse and reverse of the denarius issue of 54BCE.

You all know the rest of the story as Senator Brutus, who on the Idus Martiae, 15-Mar-44 BCE, delivered the killing blow to the Tyrant Gaius Iulius Caesar, usurper of the Res Publica...

upload_2015-9-9_17-23-12.png upload_2015-9-9_17-23-57.png
Roman Republic 54 BCE
AR Denarius, 18.3mm, 3.7g
Moneyer: Marcus Iunius Brutus (aka Quintus Servillius Caepio Brutus)
Obv: Bare hd of L. Iunius Brutus (Consul 509 BCE), Bearded r, BRVTVS behind
Rev: Bare hd of C. Servilius Ahala (Master of the Horse 439 BCE), bearded r, AHALA behind
Ref: Sear 398, Crawford 433/2, from collection W. Esty CKXSUB 613


My camera captures ALL details, and this coin looks VERY good in hand...the scratches are virtually non-existent to these tired eyes. I love this coin!

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1 hour ago, Alegandron said:

I happen to be reading this at the moment!

image.png.7dc993bfefaeeaceba673071f9aa175a.png

image.jpeg.59b8ff05c1256e5e837d80bf8e2a8d0d.jpeg

Rome had been ruled by Kings traditionally since 753 BCE. However, her last King, after many offenses and excesses at the expense of the Roman people... Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was deposed in 509 BCE. The Monarchy was replaced by a Republic.

Instrumental in the overthrow of the monarchy, one of the first two Consuls of Rome in 509BCE, was Lucius Junius Brutus. He was consul with Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus and later Publius Valerius Publicola. According to Livy, one of Brutus' first acts as a Consul was to have the Roman citizens swear an oath to never allow a King of Rome. Even when his own two sons were caught in a conspiracy to restore the monarchy, under orders of the Consuls, he stoically witnessed their execution... Tough love...


Later, in 439 BCE Republican Rome was gripped in a severe famine; people starving, suffering abounded. Enter Spurius Maelius, a wealthy Plebeian, who saw an opportunity to seize Rome... He purchased a large amount of wheat to distribute - at a low price - to the starving people of Rome. However, his ulterior motive was to foster support to usurp the fledgling Republic and proclaim himself Rex (King). A hated word in Roman vocabulary! The cry of the people arose and Maelius was to appear before the aging Cincinnatus, (the elected Dictator during this crisis.) Enter Gaius Servilius Ahala, Magister Equitum (Master of the Horse). Maelius refused to appear, and was hunted down and killed by Ahala. Ahala then razed his home to the ground and distributed the withheld wheat to the starving people.

Fast forward to 54 BCE: Long descendant of the two early Republic Heroes, Marcius Junius Brutus, (also known as Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus), new to politics at 31 years old, enters the membership of the vigintisexvirate (the three Moneyers authorized to mint coinage). This was the first step on the cursus honorum - the road to political office in the Republic. Because of his deep-rooted love for the Res Publica, he honors his ancestral heritage by placing the busts of both great family forefathers, Brutus and Ahala, on the obverse and reverse of the denarius issue of 54BCE.

You all know the rest of the story as Senator Brutus, who on the Idus Martiae, 15-Mar-44 BCE, delivered the killing blow to the Tyrant Gaius Iulius Caesar, usurper of the Res Publica...

upload_2015-9-9_17-23-12.png upload_2015-9-9_17-23-57.png
Roman Republic 54 BCE
AR Denarius, 18.3mm, 3.7g
Moneyer: Marcus Iunius Brutus (aka Quintus Servillius Caepio Brutus)
Obv: Bare hd of L. Iunius Brutus (Consul 509 BCE), Bearded r, BRVTVS behind
Rev: Bare hd of C. Servilius Ahala (Master of the Horse 439 BCE), bearded r, AHALA behind
Ref: Sear 398, Crawford 433/2, from collection W. Esty CKXSUB 613


My camera captures ALL details, and this coin looks VERY good in hand...the scratches are virtually non-existent to these tired eyes. I love this coin!

That book sounds like a great read 😉. I'm keeping a watchful  for a nice example of the Ahala denarius, Crawford 433/2.

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Your new Brutus is a wonderful specimen, Al.  Congrats!

 

774184026_RR-Brutus-LibertasHoledExKelly2986.jpg.9097cc777fef77f25cebaaeb689f8944.jpg

ROMAN REPUBLIC. Q. Servilius Caepio Brutus (M. Junius Brutus).
AR Denarius. Holed. 3.58g, 20.8mm.
Rome mint, 54 BC. M. Junius Brutus, moneyer. Crawford 433/1; Sydenham 906.
O: Head of Libertas right; LIBERTAS behind.
R: The consul L. Junius Brutus walking left between two lictors, each carrying fasces over shoulder, preceded by an accensus; BRVTVS in exergue.
Ex Michael Kelly Collection

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3 hours ago, zumbly said:

Your new Brutus is a wonderful specimen, Al.  Congrats!

 

774184026_RR-Brutus-LibertasHoledExKelly2986.jpg.9097cc777fef77f25cebaaeb689f8944.jpg

ROMAN REPUBLIC. Q. Servilius Caepio Brutus (M. Junius Brutus).
AR Denarius. Holed. 3.58g, 20.8mm.
Rome mint, 54 BC. M. Junius Brutus, moneyer. Crawford 433/1; Sydenham 906.
O: Head of Libertas right; LIBERTAS behind.
R: The consul L. Junius Brutus walking left between two lictors, each carrying fasces over shoulder, preceded by an accensus; BRVTVS in exergue.
Ex Michael Kelly Collection

zumbly, You've got a fascinating denarius 😊. Sometimes our ancient coins have an extended story after they have been minted, & your coin is a good example. At one time this coin must have been owned by an ardent supporter of Brutus, why else would it have been carefully pierced to be used as an inset or attachment of some kind 🤔? The bankers or merchant mark on the face of Libertas adds to the story. Someone obviously suspected this coin was a plated fake, but why this coin 🤔? What came first, the punch mark or the piercing ? If coins could only talk....

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@Al Kowsky that's a lovely example of the early Brutus.  Congrats.

The Pomponia you posted is actually mine, though I didn't buy it in the Nomos sale at that price.  It does have a fabulous pedigree that I restored which adds significant value, though I don't claim it's worth the Nomos hammer price....yet (give inflation a chance I guess).

 

image.jpeg.ff489c65a97edd01516982a043683203.jpeg

 

Provenance:

Jacob Hirsch Auction XXIV Consul Eduard Friedrich Weber Collection, May 10, 1909 Lot 568 (61 Marks)

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4 minutes ago, Carthago said:

@Al Kowsky that's a lovely example of the early Brutus.  Congrats.

The Pomponia you posted is actually mine, though I didn't buy it in the Nomos sale at that price.  It does have a fabulous pedigree that I restored which adds significant value, though I don't claim it's worth the Nomos hammer price....yet (give inflation a chance I guess).

 

image.jpeg.ff489c65a97edd01516982a043683203.jpeg

 

Provenance:

Jacob Hirsch Auction XXIV Consul Eduard Friedrich Weber Collection, May 10, 1909 Lot 568 (61 Marks)

Carthago, That's a real shock 😲, but a pleasant one 😍. You just made my day 😄. Great photo of that coin too.

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Posted · Benefactor

Since we’re talking Brutus (and I love coins of Brutus, having 12 now), let’s take a look at my avatar coin. It’s a denarius of 41 BC by the moneyer L Servilius Rufus who hailed from Tusculum. The reverse features the Dioscuri, who brought victory to the Romans over the Latins in 496 BC at the battle of Lake Regillus.

But what interested me was the obverse. If you compare the portrait to that of the EID MAR, you see an unmistakable similarity to Brutus’ portrait. During this time of turmoil, was the moneyer trying to hedge his bets by showing subtle support for the republican cause championed by the late Brutus, without coming out and definitively naming him? We’ll probably never know.18CAF509-4B48-4CD8-A5D2-F5FC99B214BF.jpeg.7d57464526b3350ed2fbfc2075ac2f28.jpegFA049902-F54A-4399-AA65-05A6F573E133.jpeg.d6290b478dcc2149abb4f3380610104e.jpeg7D59B278-A955-47FB-B890-E3D55E6DB694.jpeg.859e5372d82e5dd96ab63e72872576b9.jpeg864D2790-583E-45FB-AC5A-1749B127F000.jpeg.a3242dcbcd357a16004c6f58b2fd0391.jpeg

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2 hours ago, jdmKY said:

Since we’re talking Brutus (and I love coins of Brutus, having 12 now), let’s take a look at my avatar coin. It’s a denarius of 41 BC by the moneyer L Servilius Rufus who hailed from Tusculum. The reverse features the Dioscuri, who brought victory to the Romans over the Latins in 496 BC at the battle of Lake Regillus.

But what interested me was the obverse. If you compare the portrait to that of the EID MAR, you see an unmistakable similarity to Brutus’ portrait. During this time of turmoil, was the moneyer trying to hedge his bets by showing subtle support for the republican cause championed by the late Brutus, without coming out and definitively naming him? We’ll probably never know.18CAF509-4B48-4CD8-A5D2-F5FC99B214BF.jpeg.7d57464526b3350ed2fbfc2075ac2f28.jpegFA049902-F54A-4399-AA65-05A6F573E133.jpeg.d6290b478dcc2149abb4f3380610104e.jpeg7D59B278-A955-47FB-B890-E3D55E6DB694.jpeg.859e5372d82e5dd96ab63e72872576b9.jpeg864D2790-583E-45FB-AC5A-1749B127F000.jpeg.a3242dcbcd357a16004c6f58b2fd0391.jpeg

jdmKY, Thanks for sharing photos of your treasures 🤩. The portrait on the 1st denarius is stunning 😲, & the EID.MAR denarius is the most iconic of all Roman coins 😊. With the name L.SERVILVUS RVFVS, should we assume his mother's side of the family had this coin made 🤔?

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@jdmKY That's a lovely coin - a type I've wanted for some time but not yet managed to acquire.  Have you noticed that your coin has a very clear die clash visible on the reverse?  See my red notes on the version below. The L•S of the right legend is clearly visible in reverse incuse and "Brutus" incuse profile is facing 12h.  Interesting coin! 

Screenshot_20220613-000932_Chrome.jpg.5c16e0da36d07290b4ac579e0cb2630d.jpg

Edited by Carausius
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One coin type I should have added to the original thread but forgot is pictured below 🙃.

665520045_KosonARdrachm4_05gm.jpg.a5525d2ca44019977e7a5f4a60e514e2.jpg

Koson Stater, 1st Century BC. AR Stater: 4.12 gm, 19 mm, 11 h. RPC 1 1701. Rare. Photo courtesy of Leu Numismatik AG.

This coin was auctioned by Leu about two years ago for $2,442.00. The silver staters are rare compared to the gold ones.

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