Roman Republic. C. Naevius Balbus. Rome, 79 BC

Roman Republic. C. Naevius Balbus. Rome, 79 BC


AR Denarius, 3.82g (18mm, 3h). Head of Venus r., wearing diadem; behind, S.C downwards; before, control mark. Border of dots / Victory in triga r., holding reins in both hands; in exergue, C.NAE BA B. Border of dots. Symbol 'D' above.

Pedigree: Ex Dr. Busso Peus 25 May 1981, lot 698. Ex Leo Benz Collection, Lanz, 23 Nov 1998, lot 512

References: Crawford 382/1b. FFC 938 (this coin). Grueber 3999. Babelon Naevia 6

Grade: An incredibly well struck example. Slightly o/c which has the obverse figure at the edge of the upper flan, otherwise Mint State (rr1149)

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The moneyer, C. Naevius Balbus, was part of a wealthy family line that supposedly extended back to Phoenician origin and settled in Spain (Gades).  Apparently the name Balbus meant “stutterers”. This coin was minted around the time of Sulla, the general and later dictator, who was undoubtedly one of the men that helped to crumble the Roman Republic.  C. Naevius Balbus was an ardent supporter of Sulla and this coin was likely minted to commemorate the Sulla’s victory against Mithridates VI of Pontus around 85 BC. The obverse of the coin shows Venus who was the patron deity of Sulla and the triga represents a battle.