M. Junius Brutus, 54 BC. Denarius (Silver, 19 mm, 3.88 g, 6 h), Rome. BRVTVS Bearded head of L. Junius Brutus to right. Rev. AHALA Bearded head of C. Servilius Ahala to right. Babelon (Junia) 31. Crawford 433/2. RBW 1543. Sydenham 907. A fresh, bright and stunningly beautiful coin, perfectly centered and undoubtedly among the finest known. Thin die break on the reverse, otherwise, good extremely fine.
From the collection of Regierungsrat Dr. iur. Hans Krähenbühl, privately acquired from P. Höfer on 18 December 1981 (with a photocopy of the original correspondence between Peter Höfer and Dr. Hans Krähenbühl regarding the acquisition of this coin enclosed).
Struck during M. Junius Brutus' tenure as moneyer in 54 BC, this issue shows two of his most illustrious ancestors. On the obverse, we find the image of M. Junius Brutus, Rome's legendary first consul, who supposedly expulsed his uncle Tarquinius Superbus, the last Roman king, in 509 BC, whereas the reverse portrays C. Servilius Ahala, another legendary figure from the early Roman Republic, whose fame derived from killing the would-be tyrant Spurius Maelius in 439 BC. With our hindsight knowledge of Brutus' role in the assassination of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March in 44 BC, the motives shown on this coin appear almost prophetic. On the other hand, it was common practice for Rome's moneyers to portray famous ancestors on their denarii as a means of aggrandizing their family's glory in a time when social norms still rigidly prohibited the use of their own portraits.