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Nicely provenanced Marcus Antonius portrait with Ahenobarbus

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Yet another coin that took more than 4 months to arrive. But once again well worth the wait. An issue of Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, Roman politician and general who played significant role in the period of the Second Triumvirate. This particular coin issued by Ahenobarbus after his reconciliation with Marcus Antonius honours the latter on the obverse. The reverse reflects the role of Ahenobarbus as a naval commander as it shows the prow of a ship with a star above.

The coin also has an excellent pedigree which took some time to dig out and may still be short of complete as there is a 45 year gap between the sale of Magnaguti’s collection by Santamaria and the one where Canovas’ collection was sold. I blame the French dealers who have a reputation of not giving a damn about earlier provenances. The Borghesi provenance cannot be confirmed with a photo, as is often the case of very early auction catalogs, but is referenced by both the Jacob Hirsch and Bruder Egger catalogs so I choose to trust them 😄

Marcus Antonius and Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus. Denarius, mint moving with M. Antonius 40. ANT·IMP·AVG III VIR·R·P·C Head of M. Antonius r.; behind, lituus. Rev. CN·DOMIT· AHENOBARBVS ·IMP Prow r.; above, star. Babelon Antonia 56 and Domitia 23. C 10. Sydenham 1179. Sear Imperators 258. RBW 1805. Crawford 521/2.

Bartolomeo Borghesi collection (Sambon/Dura, 2 April 1881, lot 503 and Sangiorgi, 19 January 1893, lot 503)

Ingenieur Sarti in Rome collection (Jacob Hirsch VIII, 18 May 1903, lot 2106)

Ernst Moritz Herzfelder collection (Bruder Egger XLIII, 14 April 1913, lot 79)

Vicomte de Sartiges collection (Ars Classica XVIII, 10 October 1938, lot 29)

Count Alessandro Magnaguti collection (P&P Santamaria, Magnaguti II, 14 October 1949, lot 339)

Manuel Canovas collection (Jean Vinchon, 18 May 1994, lot 49)

Étienne Regnard collection (Jean Vinchon, 6 December 2023, lot 117).






For further reading about the collectors and auction houses/dealers referenced above I highly recommend the Provenance glossary compiled by my dear friend and advisor Hadrien Rambach:




Edited by Meander
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Belated welcome to the forum, @Meander.

And  (...dramatic pause ensues, maybe with some tympani), the coin itself summarily relegates that amazing line of provenance to the level of anecdotal confirmation of what a gobsmackingly amazing example the freaking Coin is.  I'm glad I'm sitting down.

...Just to give you the antithesis of the same dialectic, there's one still recent example from my collecting, involving two exceptionally high-end examples, in which the condition wound up running circles around provenance.  The first one was from the collection of Vaccaro, who wrote an early, frankly unreliable catalogue of the series.


The second was what I wound up getting.  Double-Striking?  As subtle as this, with the otherwise surreally full strike, and the same kind of olive patina that I like to associate both with these, and Julio-Claudian to Antonine AEs, there was really nothing to argue with.


The difference in the closing price gave me easy latitude to get a copy of Hahn.

But No, that's the most impressive line of provenance I can remember having seen.  @DonnaML might give you some competition!  (...She introduced me to the concept of taking a historiographical appoach to numismatic references.)



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The intervention of that forum member was inappropriate. Starting from the content of the post to its eventual deletion. He provided one inconsequential information but didnt forget to let us know how beneath him it was to react at all. Shameful.

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