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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive EmperorsView Options:  |  |  | 

Roman Coins of the Adoptive Emperors

Elaea, Aeolis, 138 - 192 A.D.

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The head on this type has traditionally been identified as Lucius Verus; however, Lucius Verus was 30 years old when he was made caesar and he was made augustus simultaneously. The legend and young portrait suggest it might be someone else. RPC identifies the identity of the head as uncertain and lists Lucius Verus, Lucius Aelius and Commodus as possibilities.
GB86137. Orichalcum AE 15, RPC IV temp 216; SNG Cop 197; SNGvA 1612; SNG Mun 427; SNG Delepierre 9; SNG Leypold I 513; BMC Troas p. 130, 46; Lindgren III 330; McClean III 7943, VF, centered on a tight flan, porous, weight 2.708 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Aeolis, Elaea mint, 138 - 192 A.D.; obverse Λ OVKIOC - KAICAP, head of youthful Caesar (Lucius Verus, Annius Verus or Commodus) right; reverse EΛAI-TΩN, kalathos containing poppy in center and four stalks of grain; $70.00 (€59.50)

Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

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Commodus favored the Egyptian gods. He sacrificed to Isis and he shaved his head and officiated as a priest in the procession of Anubis. The Graeco-Egyptian god Serapis was credited with healing, especially in cases of acute diseases. He was thought by many to be Aesculapius. Marcus Aurelius, tortured with the malady which later killed him, made a visit to the temple of Serapis at Perinthus, Thrace; and according to his historian, he returned in health. This coin, dedicated to Serapis the preserver of the Emperor, was almost certainly struck after Commodus recovered from some disease after making sacrifices to Serapis.
RS85039. Silver denarius, RIC III 261 (S), RSC II 703, BMCRE 359, MIR 18 830, SRCV II 5695, F, well centered, dark mottled toning, edge cracks, weight 2.204 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 191 - 192 A.D.; obverse L AEL AVREL COMM AVG P FEL, laureate head right; reverse SERAPIDI CONSERV AVG (Serapis, perserver of the Emperor), Serapis standing slightly right, head left, both radiate and with modius on head, raising branch in right hand, short scepter in left hand; scarce; $45.00 (€38.25)

Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

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In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Roman people, of the Senate, of the Emperor, etc.
RS85032. Silver denarius, RIC III 167, BMCRE IV 245, RSC II 532, Szaivert MIR 18 743-4/23/30, Hunter II 34, SRCV II 5680, gF, nice portrait, toned, light marks and scratches, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 2.509 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 187 - Dec 188 A.D.; obverse M COMM ANT P FEL AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XIII IMP VIII COS V P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power 13 years, imperator the 8th time, consul the 5th time, father of the country), Genius standing half left, head left, nude, patera in right hand, grain ears downward in left hand; $75.00 (€63.75)

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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A caduceus is a wand entwined at one end by two serpents, each of whose bodies folds again in the form of two half-circles, whilst the head passes above the wand. It was an attribute peculiar to Mercury. Prudence is generally supposed to be represented by these two serpents, and the wings which are sometimes added to the Caduceus, are the symbols of diligence, both needful qualities in the pursuit of trade and commerce, which Mercury patronized. It was also the symbol of peace and concord, which that deity is related to have received from Apollo in return for the lyre.
RS85780. Silver denarius, RIC III 136, RSC II 344, BMCRE IV 530, Hunter II 139, Strack III 166, SRCV II 4078, VF, well centered and struck, attractive portrait, light toning, edge cracks, weight 3.435 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 145 - 161 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P, laureate head right; reverse COS IIII, clasped hands holding two stalks of grain flanking a winged caduceus; $125.00 (€106.25)

Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D.

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The crematorium depicted is probably that of Antoninus Pius but it may be the one built by Marcus Aurelius. Both were located in Rome's Campus Martius.
RS85774. Silver denarius, RIC III 596b (S), RSC II 58, BMCRE IV 505, Szaivert MIR 18 187, SRCV II 5206, F, rough, weight 2.879 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, posthumous, struck by Marcus Aurelius, 169 A.D.; obverse DIVVS VERVS, bare head right; reverse CONSECRATIO, pyramidal crematorium of four stories, bottom floor garlanded, door on the second floor, statue of emperor in facing quadriga on top; scarce; $90.00 (€76.50)

Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius

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On 7 March 161, Antoninus Pius died and was succeeded by Marcus Aurelius who shared imperial power with Lucius Verus. Marcus retained the title Pontifex Maximus. Pontifex Maximus (Latin literally meaning "greatest bridge-maker") was the high priest of the College of Pontiffs and the most important position in the ancient Roman religion. This title was retained by the emperors of Rome until 17 December 384 when it was relinquished to Pope Siricius by the Roman Emperor Gratian.
RS86223. Silver denarius, RIC III AP508a, RSC II 184, BMCRE IV AP1092, Hunter II 16, SRCV II 4704, Choice gVF, well centered and struck, toned, some reverse die wear, edge cracks, weight 3.060 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under Antoninus Pius, c. 152 - 156 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA AVG PII F, draped bust right, hair waved and drawn back into coiled bun at the back; reverse PVDICITIA, Pudicitia (modesty and chastity) standing left, veiled and draped, with right hand dropping incense on flaming altar, left hand at side; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 58, part of lot 811; scarce; $140.00 (€119.00)

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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The pulvinar (plural pulvinaria) was a special couch used for displaying images of the gods, that they might receive offerings at ceremonies such as the lectisternium or supplicatio. In the famous lectisternium of 217 B.C., on orders of the sibylline books, six pulvinaria were arranged, each for a divine male-female pair, identified by Livy as follows:

RS85644. Silver denarius, RIC III 137, RSC II 345, BMCRE IV 536, Strack III 165, SRCV II 4079, VF, attractive portrait, tight flan, scratches, weight 2.856 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 146 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P, laureate head right; reverse COS IIII, horizontal fulmen (thunderbolt) on draped pulvinar (throne) of Jupiter and Juno; $90.00 (€76.50)

Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D.

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In late summer or fall of 161, Vologases IV of Parthia captured the Roman client Kingdom of Armenia, expelled its king and installed his own; Pacorus, an Arsacid like himself. In 162, Lucius Verus began the war to recover Armenia and exact vengeance for Parthia's invasions of Armenia and Syria. The Armenian capital Artaxata was recovered in 163. At the end of 163, Verus took the title Armeniacus, despite having never personally seen combat. Marcus Aurelius initially declined to accept the title, but accepted it in 164.
RS85602. Silver denarius, RIC III 491, RSC II156, BMCRE IV 229, Hunter II 8, SRCV II 5354, Choice EF, well centered bold strike, attractive portrait, excellent reverse detail, some luster, small edge cracks, weight 3.210 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 162 - 163 A.D.; obverse IMP L VERVS AVG, bare head right; reverse PROV DEOR TR P III COS II (to the providence of the gods, holder of Tribunitian power for 3 years, consul 2 times), Providentia standing half left, globe in extended right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $220.00 (€187.00)

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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Libertas (Latin for Liberty) was the Roman goddess and embodiment of liberty. The pileus liberatis was a soft felt cap worn by liberated slaves of Troy and Asia Minor. In late Republican Rome, the pileus was symbolically given to slaves upon manumission, granting them not only their personal liberty, but also freedom as citizens with the right to vote (if male). Following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., Brutus and his co-conspirators used the pileus to signify the end of Caesar's dictatorship and a return to a Republican system of government. The pileus was adopted as a popular symbol of freedom during the French Revolution and was also depicted on some early U.S. coins.
RB85888. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 916a, Cohen II 535, BMCRE IV 1944, Banti 221, SRCV II 4191, aVF, nice portrait, attractive toned brass surfaces, tight flan, light marks, weight 29.787 g, maximum diameter 33.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 153 - 154 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XVII, laureate head right; reverse LIBERTAS COS IIII, Libertas standing facing, head right, raising pileus in right, extending left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; $150.00 (€127.50)

Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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Hadrian's galley reverse types refer to his return to Rome by sea from his travels to the provinces.
RB85872. Copper as, RIC II 673d (S), Hunter II 422, BMCRE III 1342, SRCV II 3682, Cohen II 446 var. (no drapery), VF/F, centered on a tight flan, corrosion, scrapes on reverse, weight 8.824 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 125 - 128 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS III, galley right with rowers; ram, acrostolium, and vexillum (or furled sail) at prow; rudder and arched cabin at stern; S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; scarce; $80.00 (€68.00)

Catalog current as of Thursday, December 14, 2017.
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Adoptive Emperors