The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 23, Number 41, October 11, 2020, Article 25


Roma Numismatics is auctioning a rare gold Brutus aurius, the famous "Ides of March" coin. Here's an excerpt from the lot description. -Editor

Gold Ides of March Coin

From the collection of the Baron Dominique de Chambrier, original attestation of provenance included; Ex collection of Bernard de Chambrier (1878-1963) and Marie Alvine Irma von Bonstetten (1893-1968); Ex collection of the Baron Gustave Charles Ferdinand von Bonstetten, Chamberlain to Ferdinand I, Emperor of Austria.

Marie Alvine Irma von Bonstetten was daughter of Gustave August Arthur Albert von Bonstetten (1864-1935), the founder of the 'Automobile Club Suisse' in 1898, and great-niece of Gustave Charles Ferdinand von Bonstetten (1816-1892), who was a distinguished antiquarian and collector who published many articles in the Recueil d'antiquités suisses (1855, 1860 and 1867) and L'Essai sur les dolmens (Geneva, 1865), an authoritative study on European dolmens erected between the 5th millennium BC and the end of the 3rd millennium BC. Later, Gustave Charles Ferdinand von Bonstetten worked as an independent researcher and carried out archaeological excavations in both Switzerland and France. In 1873 he donated a part of his important collection to the 'Antiquarium of Bern' and his collection formed the basis of the Bernisches Historisches Museum. The Musée Romain of Avenches also owns pieces from his collection.

Nothing resonates so deeply with those knowledgeable in ancient Roman coinage as the dramatic EID MAR type struck by Brutus in 42 BC, nor indeed is any type more sought after by connoisseurs. Herbert A. Cahn's 1989 study entitled Eidibus Martiis noted 56 examples in silver and 2 in gold. Anecdotal comments have long suggested the extent of the surviving population of EID MAR denarii could approximate as many as a hundred specimens - a reasonably high figure for what is considered to be an extreme rarity – and Campana's as yet unpublished Die Study indeed identifies 88 examples (at last count) in silver (of which at least 34 are now in institutional collections) and 3 in gold. On account of its enormous historical importance and enhanced by its virtual unobtainability to all but the most fortunate of collectors, this coin type like no other has inspired great admiration, fascination, disbelief and desire in the hearts of historians, numismatists and collectors.

Foremost of the reasons for the exalted position of the type in the collective consciousness is its naked and shameless celebration of the murder of Julius Caesar two years earlier in 44 BC. This brutal and bloody assassination had been prompted by the well-founded belief among the Senate that Caesar indented to make himself king, which in truth he was already in all but name. By special decree of the Senate Caesar had been made dictator perpetuo - dictator in perpetuity - and granted the extraordinary and unprecedented honour of striking coins bearing his own likeness, thus breaking the ancient taboo of placing the image of a living Roman upon a coin. By these and other affronts to the traditional values and institutions of the Republic did Caesar seal his fate. On 15 March, 44 BC, in a room adjoining the east portico of the Theatre of Pompey, Caesar was stabbed twenty three times by the gang of Senators numbering over thirty and perhaps as many as sixty, men that Caesar called his friends, and of whom many had been pardoned by him on the battlefield and now owed their ranks and offices to him. The simple but bold reverse design employed by Brutus for this aureus contains the three principal elements of this 'patriotic' act of regicide committed to liberate the Republic from monarchical tyranny. Most striking are the two daggers of differing design, the one symbolising that wielded by Brutus himself, the other that of Cassius his co-consipirator. These flank the pileus, the cap of Liberty as worn by the divine twins and patrons of Roman armies Castor and Pollux, and which was conferred upon all freed slaves as a mark of their emancipation. The legend EID MAR is the abbreviation of EIDIBVS MARTIIS – the Ides of March. Thus, in an act of unparalleled braggadocio, we are at once presented with the murder weapons used to slay Caesar, the precise date of the deed, and the motive.

To read the complete lot description, see:
Brutus AV Aureus. (

Dick Hanscom forwarded a news article about the coin; I added a second one. Thanks. This could be a headline-making hammer price. -Editor

A previously unrecorded example of a valuable ancient "Ides of March" gold coin commemorating the assassination of Roman dictator Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. has been confirmed by rare coin authenticators in the United States and the United Kingdom. Experts describe it as "a masterpiece."

"It was made in 42 B.C., two years after the famous assassination, and is one of the most important and valuable coins of the ancient world. The front has a portrait of Marcus Junius Brutus, one of Caesar's assassins, and the other side dramatically has two daggers and the words EID MAR, a Latin abbreviation for Ides of March," explained Mark Salzberg, Chairman of Numismatic Guaranty Corporation ( in Sarasota, Florida, the company whose experts who confirmed its authenticity.

Though nearly 100 Ides of March coins made in silver are known, this is only the third example known in gold. Of the other two, one is in the British Museum on loan from a private collector and the other is in the Deutsche Bundesbank collection.

"There were rumors of a third example and NGC authenticators were excited when this coin was submitted at our London office and sent for evaluation at our headquarters in Sarasota, Florida," said Salzberg.

To read the complete articles, see:
Julius Caesar "assassination coin" may be worth millions (
Rare 2,000-year-old Roman gold coin commemorating the assassination of Julius Caesar is expected to fetch 'up to £5 MILLION' at auction in London (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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