An Excessively Rare Roman Imperatorial Silver Denarius of Q. Cornuficius, One of the Rarest Issues of the Entire Republican Series. Cornuficius struck very small numbers of aurei and denarii, from a mint located within the city of Utica. He styled himself Imperator and used legends such as ‘Q·CORNVFICI·AVGVR·IMP’. All of his coinage is extremely rare today.
By the time he was appointed governor of Africa Vetus (the ‘old’ province) in 44 B.C., Quintus Cornuficius already had enjoyed a distinguished career in government and as a poet and orator. He counted among his friends Catullus and Cicero, and had been a loyal ally of Julius Caesar in his struggle against the Pompeians. After the murder of Caesar, Cornuficius voiced his opposition to the Triumvirs: he sided with the senate in the War of Mutina (43 B.C.), refused to allow Antony’s nominee to replace him as governor, and thus was named in the Triumviral proscriptions. From his base in Africa, he aided Sextus Pompey and allowed many of those who also had been proscribed to take refuge in his territory. Cornuficius’ vocal opposition to the Triumvirs, however, proved to be his undoing, for in 42 B.C. he was attacked by Titus Sextius, governor of neighbouring Africa Nova (the ‘new’ province). The fact that Cornuficius was hailed Imperator and was able to produce an intriguing coinage with his title suggests his defence was initially successful before, late in the year, he was defeated and killed near Utica. His coin designs are highly personal, and the few dies used to produce them were engraved in unusually fine style. He chose for the obverse of his coins the portraits of Ceres-Tanit, Africa and Jupiter Ammon, all of which celebrated his province. These were paired with a single reverse type that showed Cornuficius being crowned by Juno Sospita. The fact that he is veiled, holds a lituus and includes AVGVR in the inscription underscores the pride he held in the augurate to which he had been appointed by Julius Caesar in 47 B.C. Since he is crowned by Juno Sospita, we should assume that is a reference to his Lanuvine origin.
Laureate, horned, and bearded head of Jupiter Ammon left
Veiled and togated Q. Cornuficius standing to the left, with lituus or augural staff in his right hand, is being crowned by Juno Sispita, who holds a spear and shield like an ancile of the Salii, on which sits a bird with expanded wings
Q CORNVFICI AVGVR IMP
A perfect choice for Numismatists, Historians, Military Veterans, Collectors.