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Coin Detail
Click here to see enlarged image.
ID:     33-538
Type:     Roman Imperial
Issuer:     Macrinus
Date Ruled:     A.D. 217-218
Metal:     Gold
Denomination:     Aureus
Struck / Cast:     struck
Date Struck:     AD January-June 218
Diameter:     22 mm
Weight:     7.07 g
Obverse Description:     Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right
Reverse Legend:     PONTIF MAX TR P II COS II P P
Reverse Description:     seated left, holding corn-ears and cornucopia; at her feet, modius
Primary Reference:     RIC 038 var. (draped or cuirassed; erroneously this very coin is cited as n. 29)
Reference2:     BMC p. 503, note 55 var. (draped or cuirassed; erroneously this very coin is cited at p. 502, note †)
Reference3:     Calicó 2967 (this coin)
Reference4:     C 101 var. (draped or cuirassed)
Photograph Credit:     Numismatica Ars Classica NAC AG
Price Sold For:     80000 Swiss Franc
Date Sold:     04/06/2006
Grade:     almost FDC
Notes:     NAC Auction 38, Lot 538 An apparently unique variety of an extremely rare type Ex Canessa sale 1923, Enrico Caruso collection, 460. A trusted administrator under the Severans, Macrinus rose to become one of two praetorian prefects under the emperor Caracalla. He took a leading role in the plot to murder his benefactor, having himself enlisted the assassin. Three days after Caracalla’s assassination, Macrinus was nominated Augustus by the soldiers after pretending to show sorrow for his master’s death. For a time he continued the war against the Parthians, but soon tired of it and sued for peace, offering the enemy large payments in exchange for a non-aggression pact. This did not bode well with the soldiers, who perhaps wanted to pursue the campaign and have an opportunity to claim their share of the legendary wealth of the East. Thus, many soldiers soon deserted to the cause of a new rival, the 14-year-old grandnephew of Julia Domna, Elagabalus, who was alleged to be an illegitimate son of Caracalla. When the opponents finally clashed near a small Syrian village outside Antioch, the forces of Elagabalus got the upper hand and Macrinus fled the field. He made his way in disguise as far as Calchedon before he was captured and executed. This variety is unrecorded in all the major reference works but for Calicó. It is interesting to note that the coin was known to both RIC and BMC which quoting this specimen from the Caruso collection, misreading the reverse legend, dated it to 217.