Roman Republic (Imperatorial Period)

Brutus, Consul 42 BC

Crawford 508/3; Cahn 6 (same dies); S. Nodelman, “Brutus the Tyrannicide” in Ancient Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Volume 1, p. 51, fig. 8 (same dies); HCRI 216; Sydenham 1301; RSC 15; Vagi 95 (this coin), Superb, Nearly Mint State

Mint moving with Brutus in northern Greece. L. Plaetorius Cestianus, magistrate. BRVT above, IMP before, L · PLAET · CEST behind, bare head of Brutus right. Reverse: EID · MAR, pileus between two daggers. Probably the most celebrated of all the coins of ancient Rome. Portrait of Brutus on the obverse with the reverse boldly celebrating the very act of tyranicide. One of the finest in existence.

Ex Barry Feirstein Collection of Ancient Coins, pt. I (NAC 39, 16 May 2007), 89; CNG, private treaty, ca. 1999

Easily one of the most famous coins in the entire Roman Republican series, this denarius openly commemorates the role of Brutus in the assassination of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March, 44 BC. The two daggers on the reverse allude to the bloody act while the pileus—a type of hat worn by freedmen as a sign that they were no longer slaves—advertised the freedom to be enjoyed by the Roman Republic not that it was unshackled from its dictator. Unfortunately, Brutus was really far too late to save the Republic. It was already dead. Even as the slayer of Caesar proclaimed the freedom to return to the old ways, Brutus had himself embraced the kingly novelties of the dictator by placing his own portrait on the obverse.