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Leu Numismatik AG
Auction 2  11 May 2018
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Lot 232

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Estimate: 30 000 CHF
Price realized: 40 000 CHF

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Nero Claudius Drusus, died 9 BC. Aureus (Gold, 19 mm, 7.69 g, 4 h), Rome, struck under Claudius, circa 41-45. NERO CLAVDIVS DRVSVS GERMANICVS IMP Laureate head of Nero Claudius Drusus to left. Rev. DE GERMANIS Two oblong Germanic shields, two trumpets and two pairs of spears crossed, in front of upright vexillum with waving flag. BMC 104. Calicó 317a (this coin). Cohen 5. RIC 73. Rare. An exceptional example with a splendid, sharply struck portrait and a fine pedigree. Extremely fine.


From the George W. La Borde Collection of Roman Aurei, Numismatica Ars Classica 91, 23 May 2016, 7, from the collection of William H. Williams, Numismatica Ars Classica 31, 26 October 2005, 18 and ex Leu 48, 10 May 1989, 315.

When Octavian fell in love with Livia in 39 BC, she was pregnant by her first husband Tiberius Claudius Nero, who agreed to divorce her to please his master. Drusus was born in early 38 BC, just months after Octavian had married his mother, and he and his older brother Tiberius grew up in their stepfather's household. As they came of age, Octavian - now Augustus - gradually started entrusting his stepsons with important duties, and when the Roman army launched a series of offensives against Barbarian tribes in central and northern Germany in 12-9 BC, it was Drusus who led the charge. The young general proved to be an able commander, for he defeated the enemies in several battles and pushed deep into their heartlands. In 9 BC, the Romans reached the Albis (Elbe), but to the great grief of his stepfather Augustus, Drusus died in the march returning home after injuring himself by falling from his horse. The body of the young general was picked up in Germany by his brother Tiberius, whom Augustus did not favor but who would eventually become the successor of the aging emperor in 14 AD. No coins were struck for Drusus during his lifetime, but his son Claudius struck a commemorative series in his father's name after his accession to the throne in 41 AD. The present aureus praises Drusus as the defeater of the Germans and thus attempts to confer some of the great general's glory to his son, who was often belittled because of his stammering and his congenital deformities.
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