A silver coin produced following the infamous ‘Ides of March’ murder of Roman ruler Julius Caesar in 42 BC is to go on sale at an auction in Beverley Hills, California in September. With a pre-auction estimate of £314,000, should the coin reach this figure it will become the highest Roman silver coin ever sold at auction.
The coin was struck by a major figure in the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar – Caesar’s trusted associate, Marcus Brutus, immortalised by the Shakespearean quote “Et tu, Brute?” (“Even you, Brutus?).
Though it is thought that Caesar in fact uttered “You too, my child?” as Brutus delivered the fatal dagger thrust, Brutus has since passed into history as a character associated with treachery.
Brutus had the coin produced in his stronghold of Greece, where he had fled to following the assassination, in order to finance his war against Caesar’s successors Octavian and Mark Antony. After the defeat of Brutus, the pair had the coins recalled and melted down – making such pieces as this example exceptionally rare.
The coin features Brutus’ head on the obverse, with a pair of daggers and the Latin inscription ‘Eid Mar’ on the reverse – or ‘Ides of March’.