Chicago Has ‘Bragging Rights' Thanks to Rare Coins Commemorating Caesar Assassination

Three of the rarest coins in the world are now in the city of Chicago, and the dealer that helped make it happen is describing just how historic the occasion is.

Rare coin dealer Aaron Berk helped acquire one of the coins for a collector and has two others, and all were issued in 44 BCE after the assassination of Roman emperor Julius Caesar.

The coins don’t depict Caesar, but instead show a portrait of Brutus, who was one of the senators that stabbed Caesar to death. His visage occupies one side of the coin, while two daggers adorn the other side.

The gold coin, which recently sold for more than $2 million to a private buyer, is one of only three of the coins remaining in the world.

“It probably was worn in ancient times, and it was probably a supporter of Brutus who actually issued the coin,” Berk said. “The coin was issued after the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE.”

The coin also has a small hole in its top, which likely was used to put a chain through so that the piece of currency could be worn as a necklace.

Berk also pointed to the apparent irony of Brutus’ image being featured on the coin, with Caesar having been criticized for immortalizing himself in similar fashion.

“What’s really interesting about this coin is one of the reasons Julius Caesar was assassinated is he was trying to make himself into a dictator and he put his image on coins, which was a big no-no back then, and so, here, Brutus, who was one of the assassinators turns around and puts his own portrait on the coin,” he said.

While there are only three gold coins with the image on them, there are believed to be approximately 80 such coins that were minted in silver, and Berk happens to have two of those in his collection too, meaning that three incredibly rare coins are in the same city for perhaps the first time in history.

“The fact we have two silver and a gold together in Chicago at the same time is probably the first time in the history of numismatics (the study of currency),” he said. “This is bragging rights.”

The gold coin will be kept in a private collection, according to Berk.

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