'Salting Bequest (A. 70 to A. 1029-1910) / Murray Bequest (A. 1030 to A. 1096-1910)'. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Architecture and Sculpture). London: Printed under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, East Harding Street, EC, p. 110
This is an ancient Roman coin, an aureus of Caius Vibius Varus, depicting the head of Apollo on obverse and Venus on reverse.
The aureus was an ancient Roman gold coin, issued from around the 1st century BC up to the 4th century AD. One aureus was worth 25 silver denarii. The denarius was a small silver coin and the principal silver coin issued in the ancient Roman currency system from the late 3rd century BC until the early 3rd century AD.
Ancient Roman coins were very popular with Renaissance collectors. By owning them and copying aspects of them in their own commissions, patrons could acquire some of the glory of the classical world.
The coins bequeathed to the V&A by George Salting include examples of silver coins from Syracuse of the 4th century BC, a set of gold imperial coins of Rome, and some fine specimens of bronze denarii of the Roman Empire.