Marcus Aurelius, (A.D. 161-180), AE sestertius, Rome mint, issued A.D. 173, (26.42 g), obv. laureate head of Marcus Aurelius to right, around M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXVII, rev. around IMP VI COS III, SC across the field, RELIG AVG in exergue, tetrastyle temple of Mercury with statue of god standing left on pedestal, holding purse and caduceus, columns support semicircular pediment with reliefs of cock, ram and possibly caduceus, (S.4996, RIC 1076, C.534, Banti 259). Deep green and brown patina, mild surface roughness, otherwise very fine and rare.
Ex Dr V.J.A.Flynn Collection and previously CNG Auction 91, lot 911 with ticket. Mercury was the god of merchants, travel, and business, and was the same Hermes worshipped by the Greeks. The Mercuriales, The Men of Mercury, were perhaps the largest corporation of ancient Rome. This day would surely have been a corporate holiday for the entire firm, and many other Roman businesses, as they would give homage to Mercury for their continued success. Rites would be performed at the Temple of Mercury in Rome (located on the northern slopes of the Aventine, near the Circus Maximus), in which those who desired his favors would sprinkle their heads, their ships and merchandise, and their businesses with water taken from the well at Porta Capena.