A silver denarius of Caesar Augustus, issued circa 19 to 18 B.C. featuring the Julian star was sold by Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles on 12th and 13th June in California for $1,860 against a starting bid of $1,500.
The obverse features a portrait of Augustus while the reverse depicts the “Julian Star” which was actually a bright comet that appeared in the sky a few months after Julius Caesar was killed on 15th March 44 B.C. It is believed that it was one of the brightest comets to be spotted on earth. The 3.89 grams coin, graded Extremely Fine, is well struck on a big flan and features light toning.
The comet never appeared again and probably crashed into the sun. In those days, science wasn’t advanced enough to understand that comets are ice balls moving within our Solar System. People instead believed it was Caesar’s soul that was being sent to the heavens. This helped Octavian to get the Senate to deify his adoptive father. He also used the comet in state propaganda aggressively during his later reign as Augustus.
Image Courtesy: Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles