Featured EID MAR chronicles

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter


    The Eid Mar coin was voted the most famous coin of all time. In Harlan J. Berks book’s « 100 greatest Ancient coins », the denarius is rated number one in his category. Why ? First it openly celebrates an act of murder ; the bloody execution of the dictator Julius Caesar in the Senate house on the Ides of March of 44 BC. It is one of the most important event in the history of the western world. Secondly it is the only and unique Roman coin to mention a specific date. And thirdly it is one of the rare specific coin to has been mentioned by an ancient authority : Cassius Dio, the Roman historian ( 155-235 AD ) wrote about it in Historia Romana ( XLVII.25, 3 ) :

    Now let’s analyse what’s on the denarius. The obverse of the coin features a portrait of Brutus, himself, and the legend : L PLAET CEST BRUT IMP. L Plaetorius Cestianus is the name of the moneyer who minted the coin ; Brutus Imperator is quite obvious. About the portrait, we have to remember that in the Roman Republic, it was considered indecent and inappropriate to put the image of a living person on a coin. Julius Caesar made that mistake, and a rebellion was fomented against him and finally is assassination was planed. But here we have Brutus doing exactly the same thing.... According to S.Nodelman, who examine methodically in detail the Eid Mar serie, they are two différent categories of portrait of Brutus : plastic and linear. He suggested that both types got their origins from the same sculptural prototype.
    On the reverse we can read the legend : EID MAR , meaning Eidibus Martiis or the « Ides of March » ( Eidibus (ides) is Latin for an equal division, or middle ). We also recognize a cap of freedom between two daggers. Even if many men were involved in the slaying of Caesar, all are represented by only 2 daggers ; this is clearly a reference to Brutus and Cassius as leaders of the group. The cap is a pileus, which in Roman times was given to slaves on the day of their liberation from slavery. The message was intended to convey that on the Ides of March, Brutus set the people of Rome free. Some historians believe that, when he committed suicide during the second battle at Philippi on 23 Oct. 42 BC, he used the same dagger with which he assassinated Caesar...

    The coins were struck by a moving mint that advanced with Brutus’ and Cassius’ army in northern Greece in the late summer of 42 BC. The EID MAR denarius was produced to pay Brutus’ troops and campaign expenses . The coin type was later recalled by the victorious Mark Antony and Octavian and melted down. Today they are approximately 85 known specimens of this very rare coin, from 8 obverse and 26 reverse dies. Let’s say you decide to sell your house and buy one ; how much would you expect to pay for the famous rarity ? As usual, it will depend on the quality and also the pedigree of the coin. But here is a brief overview of the sales made in auctions since 2010 ( converted in US $ ) :

    2010 : 37500 $ , 60000 $.
    2011 : 246000 $, 546200 $.
    The pricier Eid Mar of all time

    2013 : 90000 $, 307000 $.
    2014 : 185000 $, 67000 $, 73000 $, 440000 $, 123000 $.

    At 440000 US$, a real deal

    2015 : 85000 $.
    2016 : 120000 $, 333000 $, 410000 $.
    2018 : 73000 $.

    If you don’t have that kind of budget, why don’t you try acquiring a fourree or a nice imitative denarius of the EID MAR? At least 16 examples of plated coins had survived. Think about the high ratio of imitatives versus official issues ! It is believed that the EID MAR is certainly one of the most contemporaneously counterfeited coin in ancient history. Were they produced by disaffected, frustrated or avaricious Republican soldiers ? That may explain why silver supplies in Brutus’ camp was decreasing . One thing is for sure : none of the fourree can be die match with the real solid silver denarius. A brief recapitulation of the recent sales in auctions is quite interesting :

    2012 : 4260 $
    2015 : 4500 $ , 5400 $.
    2017 : 8450 $.
    2018 : 19300 $ , 24000 $.

    A nice fourree for 24000$

    Until now we have examined the silver denarius EID MAR. But what about the gold aureus of this same type ? There are 2 specimens known , and only one is believed to be authentic. The first example belongs to the British Museum collections since 1825. It was donated by George IV, King of the United Kingdom , and previously owned by his father King Georges III. After being analyzed by many experts, it is today classified in the category « modern forgery ».

    The second aureus can also be found in the British Museum. It was displayed for the first time at the Ides of March of 2010. The Museum was first shown the coin in 1932 but couldn't afford to buy it. Many private owners later, it has now been loaned to the museum . The coin was punched with a hole shortly after it was minted, probably so it could be worn – certainly by a supporter, maybe by one of the conspirators or by Brutus himself. The piece was sold in 2004 for 92800 $ . By 2008, the aureus has doubled in value and was resold for 226500 $. It is in my opinion quite a modest price for a coin of this rarity. They have been many debates by experts about this exceptional coin . Even M.Crawford refused to include it in his Roman Republican Coinage in 1974. He believed the coin to be a forgery, and was sceptical about the existence of this issue. But in 1989, H.Cahn , in his study on dies of the Eid Mar coins, explained that the style and the epigraphy of this aureus perfectly matched the serie. So if we condamn this coin, we are also doubting all the denarius in this series that share with this specimen certain stylistic and and epigraphic attributes .

    Real or fake?

    Let’s conclude with an interesting anecdote about a specimen of the famous Brutus’ coin. Do you know what is the « European Union Directive 93/7 » ? It’s a law on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a member State. The first time it was used in Britain in 2006, it was involving an Eid Mar denarius. The story started in June 2005 when two men were meeting with a responsable of CNG in their office in London. They had a rare example of the Ides of March coin for sale and the auction house had showed some interest. The first man was a Munich coin dealer and the other one the Greek owner of the piece. They agreed on a price and the transaction worked smoothly; until our two guys tried to cross the Customs at the airport with 23000 $ in their pockets which they didn’t have when they arrived earlier the same day. What tipped the agents is when they discovered that the Greek man had a criminal record for trafficking in stolen antiquities , and the dealer once worked for a notorious European trafficker of looted treasures.....so they seized the cash under the UK’s proceed of Crime Act. Not long after that, the Greek government filed a claim for recover the coin. CNG held it for 11 months instead of selling the coin, which it could have done under British law, and finally the Court asked them to give it back, and that’s what they did without protest. It has been established that the Eid Mar was from Greek origin. At the time, it was only the fifth coin of this type to have a hellenistic provenance. The story didn’t tell if CNG got his money back...
    I’m not going to ask you to post your Eid Mar coin ... but my question is : let’s suppose tomorrow an unknown uncle of yours dies and leave you an inheritance of 200000 $...and there is a nice Brutus denarius for sale in an auction .... would you be able to resist ???
    My answer : I’ m gonna quote the Irish poet Oscar Wilde who once said :
    « I can resist anything except temptation... »
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
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  3. David@PCC

    David@PCC allcoinage.com

    I thought there was another aureus forgery from the early 2000's where the giveaway was a raised dot on the cap. I think it was purchased by a European bank but I can't recall the details.
  4. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    Fantastic write up, thanks.

    As for your question, definitely not. I wouldn't want to own a coin that cost £1000, never mind the money involved with one of these. That kind of expenditure just doesn't feel right to me. No judgement of anyone intended there, just stating my personal feeling.
  5. PlanoSteve

    PlanoSteve Well-Known Member

    I tend to agree, except if I could own it just for, say a week, then flip it (even at no gain)...:smug:;)
  6. Multatuli

    Multatuli Homo numismaticus

    Awesome post!
    It should be featured!
    I would prefer to inherit my uncle's Denarius directly. If it were cash, I think I would only spend if the amount was about 10 times the price of the coin. I believe that my great chance of my life to have an Eid Mar fourrée came a few years ago at a CNG auction. At the time, I literally broke my “piggy safe box” and risked a bid. Unfortunately I was outbided at the very end, seemingly close (although I can't tell how much the winner gave at their maximum bid ...) ....
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
    Andres2 likes this.
  7. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    I found a newspaper article dating from the early 2000’s explaining that and Eid Mar aureus found in Greece was in possession of a « private european collector ». No more details. The reference and the drawing at the beginning of this thread is from H.Cohen book. He had this precision about this Brutus series : « the gold coins with this reverse are all forgeries ». It was around 1870. So it’s very possibly that other aureus are hidden somewhere, maybe in some CT member’s cabinet...
    KIWITI and David@PCC like this.
  8. galba68

    galba68 Well-Known Member

    Fantastic post!!!
  9. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Alegandron likes this.
  10. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    I have two on the doors of my coin cabinet :p

  11. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

  12. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    I think it’s a die match with the one for sale by Roma !
    Alegandron likes this.
  13. vannilo

    vannilo New Member

    Another speciment of the aureus (?) was present in Numiamatic Fine Art Auction 25 - November 1990 n.306. This speciment published by H.A. Cahn "EJDibus MARtiis" - Numismatica e Antichità Classiche - Quaderni Ticinesi XVIII 1989 pp.211-232 n.4A. that is the study previously mentioned by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix
  14. Lolli

    Lolli Active Member

  15. Pishpash

    Pishpash Supporter! Supporter

    Great post. I think I wouldn't mind a decent replica if it didn't cost too much. I will never be able to afford a new one, but one for the black collection would be cool.
  16. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    That is a great history, but I could resist. I would rather have a larger number of very nice pieces than one piece, unless it is the capstone to a major collection. That's why I own a 1796 No Stars U.S. quarter eagle which falls into this coin's price class.

    On top of that, I don't have a worry about some foreign government confiscating it. I think that those rules suck because I am not a fan of museums and the way they handle coins and other treasures. If they let the public see the item and use photographs of it free of charge, GREAT! If they lock it way in a safe where no one sees it, except those with connections or some 12 year old intern because "We owe to the youth," not so great. If you are an adult, trying see a specific rare item, it is very hard, even if you are a long time student of the series. I know from experience.

    I would like to find a nice Jules Caesar portrait coin and the other three of the 12 Caesars that I don't have. From there, I'll see where the collection goes. I have tried to stay away from non-Caesar coins because you simply can't afford to buy everything.
  17. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I have bought replicas of coins, like the Gallery Mint 1796 half dollar. It did nothing for me. A restrike can be okay, but replicas just don't cut it for me.
  18. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Well-Known Member

    I saw that one think the starting bid was like £60 but didn't sell
  19. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    We will add this one to the list, first of 2020.

    CNG Triton XXIII lot 620
    300,000 USD

  20. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    I had a chance to see this one. It was pretty neat. The Phanes coin was impressive too. 20200114_090452.jpg
    Curtis, I_v_a_n, TuckHard and 4 others like this.
  21. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

    Great post!

    I would spend it on a nice airplane. If it had to be on coins, then I would make a world-class ancient Chinese coin collection
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