A New Record! The Most Expensive Roman Coin of All Time

It’s already valuable in silver, but it’s (almost) priceless in gold: The ‘EID MAR’ aureus of Brutus, 42 BC, military mint in the East, third known specimen. From Roma Numismatics Auction XX (2020), Lot 463. Hammer price: £2,700,000 (approx. 2,988,360 euros).
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There’s a new holder of the title ‘most expensive Roman coin of all time’. The extremely rare gold version of the ‘EID MAR’ denarius of Brutus, probably the most famous ancient coin out there, was sold on 30 October 2020 at Roma Numismatics Auction XX for a record-breaking sum of 2.7 million pounds (approx. 2,988,360 euros).

The significantly more common denarii of Brutus featuring the ‘EID MAR’ motif are already regularly sold for record-breaking prices and hold the record for the most expensive denarii overall. This sensation was therefore inevitable when it was announced that Roma Numismatics would be selling an aureus featuring this motif, of which there are just three known specimens worldwide.

The motif on the coin refers to the assassination of Caesar on the Ides of March (EID MAR). The obverse depicts Brutus, while the reverse depicts two daggers and the pileus, a felt cap worn by freed slaves, alluding both to the assassination and to the fact that, in the eyes of the assassins, Caesar had been a tyrant and that killing him had therefore been a heroic act, committed to preserve the Republic.

With a price equivalent to almost 3 million euros, this aureus leaves the previous record-holder far behind. The previous holder of this record was a sestertius of Hadrian, which was sold in 2008 by Numismatica Genevensis for 1.3 million euros, making it the clear frontrunner of the Roman coins.


You can read more about Caesar on coins and his assassination in the article Human Faces Part 11: The Ides Of March.

And here is the (updated) record list of the most expensive Roman aurei.