Roman Republic AR denarius(19mm, 3.87 g, 9h), anonymous, circa 115 or 114 B.C., Rome mint. Helmeted head of Roma right with curl on left shoulder; below, ROMA; behind, X. Border of dots. / Roma, wearing Corinthian helmet, seated right on pile of shields, holding spear in left hand; at feet, beside pile of shields, helmet; before, she-wolf right, suckling twins; on either side, bird flying. Border of dots. Crawford 287/1
Ex Andrew McCabe Collection, AM#13206-39, CNG e-Auction 443, 1 May 2019, lot 455, ex Roma V, 23 March 2013, lot 519, ex Mayflower (Herb Sukenik) Collection, Heritage 3019, 25 April 2012, lot 25924, ex George N. Polis M.D. Collection, Bowers & Merena, 10 June 1991, lot 74, ex Aurelia Collection, Owl, Ltd. & Thomas McKenna, November 1980, lot 72.
This coin features an artistically engraved, high relief portrait of the city-goddess Roma on the obverse and on the reverse Roma watches over Romulus and Remus, waiting for the founding of Rome. When this coin was minted, circa 115-114 B.C., most moneyers were placing their names quite prominently on their coins and more and more of them were eschewing the common types in lieu of more personal types advertising the achievements of their families. In this context this fully-anonymous type portraying the founding myth of Rome represents a significant departure from the norm. The moneyer's name has been lost to history but his design was apparently a favorite in ancient times as it was revived by both Titus and Trajan and is still a favorite today among collectors of the Roman Republic.
In addition to the wonderful condition and toning this coin also has a very interesting provenance. To quote Andrew McCabe's note on the CNG listing: "The illustrious pedigree of this coin includes the Herbert Sukenik (Mayflower) collection, the George N. Polis M.D. Collection, and the Aurelia collection. The Zeckendorf brothers, real estate moguls, bought the Mayflower hotel on Central Park West in the early 2000s – which is where Sukenik lived in a rent-controlled apartment. They wanted to knock down the hotel to build their $1 billion development, 15 Central Park West. Sukenik dragged out negotiations for two years and was paid $17 million to leave. The coin collection put together by Sukenik was named in honor of the Mayflower hotel. The Aurelia collection of high quality Roman Republican silver coins was dispersed in 1980 by Thomas McKenna and John Barton, under Barton's Owl Ltd. brand."