An exceptional denarius of L. Staius Murcus, undoubtedly among the finest known
Lot 194
L. Staius Murcus, 42-41 BC. Denarius (Silver, 19 mm, 3.95 g, 12 h), mint moving with Murcus along the Ionian Sea. Laureate head of Neptune to right; behind, trident. Rev. MVRCVS IMP Murcus (?), togate and on the right, standing left, placing his left hand on sword slung around his waist and raising female figure (Roma?), who kneels before him, with his right; trophy in background between them. Babelon (Statia) 1. Crawford 510/1. CRI 337. RBW 1782. Sydenham 1315. Very rare. An exceptional example, boldly struck and very well centered on excellent silver and undoubtedly among the finest known. Very minor doubling on the reverse, otherwise, extremely fine.

From a European collection, formed before 2005.

Although Staius Murcus served as legate and praetor under Julius Caesar in the civil war with Pompey, in the aftermath of the dictator's death in 44 BC, Murcus joined the senatorial faction. He was promptly sent to Syria at the head of three legions to suppress the mutiny of Quintus Caecilius Bassus. Bassus managed to hold out in Apamea, however, until the arrival of Cassius in the East circa 43 BC prompted him and Murcus to surrender their forces to the conspirator. Cassius then placed Murcus at the helm of a fleet which he used to some effect in harassing the forces of Octavian and Mark Antony in 42-41 BC. After the Battle of Philippi in autumn 42 BC, which saw Brutus and Cassius defeated, Murcus threw in his lot with Sextus Pompey in the following year, although the two eventually fell out, and Pompey had Murcus murdered in Syracuse in 39 BC.

Murcus' very rare coinage was likely issued right after the Battle of Philippi, when he campaigned in the Ionian Sea as a rogue admiral, before eventually joining Sextus Pompey in Sicily in 41 BC. This manifests in the appearance of Neptune on the obverse, whereas the reverse is a classic example of Roman wartime imagery. The small issue was clearly produced in great haste by unskilled workers, for the few known dies are invariably of crude style and the flans poorly produced, making the type one of the hardest imperatorial issues to obtain in decent condition, let alone pristine like this one.
10000 CHF
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8000 CHF
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17000 CHF
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