CELTIC, Central Europe. Helvetii. Circa 75/50-25 BC. Quinarius (Silver, 12 mm, 1.54 g, 9 h), Viros. VIRO[S] Celticized bust to left, wearing torque of four globules. Rev. Horse springing left; above, carnyx right; below, round shield decorated with a star of six rays. D&T -. Frey-Kupper, Viros, Fig. 5.3 = Lanz 128 (2006), 3. LT -. Nick p. 69-73 and pl. 93, 1. SLM 875 var. (bust with two torques). Extremely rare and of great importance. A beautifully toned and very well struck piece with an unusually complete legend. Nearly extremely fine.
From the Helvetii Collection, formed in the 1970s and 1980s.
Frey-Kupper reads the obverse legend of this issue as VIROS, celt. uiros, which translates to 'man' but certainly is, as she points out, the name of an otherwise unknown local nobleman or moneyer. The Viros-Quinarii are closely connected to those in the name of Vatico (see the following lot), with which they share a recorded find spot in Avenches, while three other examples came to light in the vicinity of the oppidum in Altenburg-Rheinau. With only about fifteen examples recorded by Frey-Kupper, the Quinarius in the name of Viros is one of the great rarities in the coinage of the Helvetii: the example in Lanz 128, which lacked most of the lettering, sold for no less than 5'750 EUR more than a decade ago!