For What It’s Worth – November/December 2017

with Gary Miller


Every once and a while I come across something remarkable that is also historically and numismatically important that I feel the need to share it with our readers.  This coin, by the time you are reading this, will have sold at auction in late October, in Toronto at Empire Auctions. They run monthly auctions in Toronto including Art, Antiques, Jewelry, Watches and collectables and always come up with interesting coins. Check them out at


The coin pictured to the right is one of the finest examples of a life-time portrait  denarius of Julius Caesar I have seen in a while. Having one’s portrait on a coin in those days had not become common practice and given the fact that the inscription reads “Caesar, Dictator for life”, we know that things were about to change.


The coin depicts Gaius Julius Caesar, wearing a veil as chief Pontiff with Venus on the reverse holding Victory and a sceptre with a shield at her feet. It was minted between February and March of 44BC, shortly before his assassination on the Ides (15th) of March. His death was avenged by his nephew Octavian, later Caesar Augustus.


Not all of the coins minted by Caesar have his portrait, making them one of the most sought-after Roman coins and with demand far outpacing supply for such superior quality specimens, prices have skyrocketed in recent years. This example has a wonderful portrait, full legends and great centering along with being well struck and showing very little wear. I would expect that a coin of this rarity and quality should bring between $5000 and $7500 in Empires August Auction. Check and see if I am correct.


I will report on it in my next article.  Be well and happy hunting!

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