$546,250, approximately £350,000, is what it took for one buyer at an auction in Long Beach, California earlier this month to get their hands on a Roman “Ides of March” silver denarius coin, a record price for a Roman silver coin at auction.
The coin was minted in 42 B.C. as a propaganda piece to celebrate the assassination of Julius Caesar two years earlier in 44 B.C.
On one side it features a portrait of Marcus Junius Brutus, who was the lead assassin of Julius Caesar, and on the other, a liberty cap flanked by two daggers with the legend EID MAR (for 15th March, 44 B.C), to symbolise the assassination and the ending of the dictatorship.
The Ides of March coin was sold as part of a 26-coin set of coins which mostly features famous Romans from the Imperatorial era of the late Republic of Rome and is yet another example of the continued popularity of ancient coins and Roman coins in particular. Indeed, such high demand for these coins shows the continued buoyancy of the market is not purely dictated by the high rises in precious metal prices that we have seen in 2012, but is also driven by real long term numismatic interest.