Denier - Rome (212)
Très rare et d’un style remarquable.
Exemplaire de la collection A. H. F. Baldwin vente Glendining des 20 et 21 novembre 1969, N°166 et de la vente Tkalec & Rauch des 16 et 17 novembre 1987, N°342 et de la vente Numismatic Fine Arts XXIX du 13 août 1992, N°392 et de la collection « Athena Fund » vente Sotheby’s (Zurich) des 27 et 28 octobre 1993, N°1636 et de la collection P.F. Molina vente Aureo & Calicó « Imagines Imperatorum » du 8 février 2012, N°166
3.36g - C. 208
Pratiquement FDC - NGC CHOICE AU * (5/5 4/5)
As the effective head of his family firm A. H. Baldwin, ‘Uncle Fred’ had access to some of the best coins on offer worldwide, and he achieved his goal to collect “in order to show a comprehensive series of Roman portraits in the best condition and style”. This specimen does indeed present a superb bust, but its reverse is even more exceptional for the quality of strike and preservation of the elephant. The animal depicted, probably one of those from the games held in AD 212, is shown in a military outfit (Ira and Larry Goldberg wrote that the Greeks used elephants “as the ancient version of the tank”), possibly the normal appearance for triumphal processions and public spectacles. “[The] elephant in intelligence approaches the nearest to man. It understands the language of its country, it obeys commands, and it remembers all the duties which it has been taught. It is sensible alike of the pleasures of love and glory, and, to a degree that is rare among men even, possesses notions of honesty, prudence, and equity; it has a religious respect also for the stars, and a veneration for the sun and the moon” (Pliny Nat. Hist. viii.1). The Romans’ first encounter with the animal had been by the legionaries who fought at the Battle of Heraclea against Pyrrhos of Epiros in 280 BC.
In AD 287, Diocletian and Maximianus Herculeius would use again such cuirassed war-elephants on an exceptional medallion of ten aurei.