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Coins of the Roman Imperators

Athens, Attica, Greece, New Style Tetradrachm, c. 86 - 84 B.C., Issued by Sulla

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After 1 March 86 B.C., Sulla was the master of Athens. He recovered from the Pontic king Mithradates, who had taken it by force. This issue was struck for Sulla, either at Athens or outside Athens during the siege, to pay his legions and expenses during the war against Mithradates. The silver was collected from Greeks who supported the Romans against Mithradates and requisitioned from the sacred temple treasuries at Epidaurus, Olympia and Delphi. The ancients admired these Roman-Athenian coins and called them "flats of Lucullan." The MARKOY monogram may refer to Marcus the brother of the Roman general and politician Lucullus.
SH70948. Silver tetradrachm, cf. Thompson Athens 1293; Svoronos Athens pl. 78, 11; Dewing 1653; Boehringer AMUGS V, pp. 28-31 and pl. 9, 10; Kraay-Hirmer pl. 120, 366, gVF, attractive style, well struck, nicely toned, centered on a crowded slightly irregular shape flan, weight 16.581 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, c. 86 - 84 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena Parthenos right, triple-crested helmet decorated with a griffin right above the raised earpiece, and protomes of horses above visor; reverse owl standing right on amphora on its side right, head facing, MARKOY monogram left, TAMIOY monogram right, A on amphora, all within olive wreath; ex John Jencek; rare; $2500.00 (€2200.00)

Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

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The star on the obverse probably indicates the beginning of a new age. Caesar claimed descent from the goddess Venus. The small star at the base of Venus' scepter is symbolic of her divinity.
SH76401. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/5b, Sydenham 1071, RSC I 41, BMCRR I Rome 4165, Sear Imperators 106a, SRCV I 1412, aVF, nice portrait, light marks and scratches, die wear, small edge chip, weight 3.076 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, moneyer P Sevullius Macer, Jan - Feb 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR IMP, wreathed head of Caesar right, star with eight rays behind; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing left, Victory in her left hand, long scepter with a star at base behind in her left hand; from the Jeff Michniak Collection; $1900.00 (€1672.00)

Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, Assassinated 15 March 44 B.C.

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This coin was struck about a month after Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15 (the Ides of March) by a group of senators, among them Gaius Cassius Longinus, Marcus Junius Brutus, and Caesar's Massilian naval commander, Decimus Brutus. In April, about the time this coin was struck, Octavian returned from Apollonia in Dalmatia to Rome to take up Caesar's inheritance, against advice from Atia (his mother and Caesar's niece) and consular stepfather Antony.
RR75296. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/19, Sydenham 1069, RSC I Julius Caesar 8, Sear CRI 112, SRCV I 1422, aF, Caesar portrait nice for the grade, toned, marks and bumps, weight 2.949 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, posthumous, Apr 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR PARENS PATRIAE (Caesar father of the country), wreathed and veiled head of Caesar right, apex behind, lituus below chin (symbols of Caesar's position as Pontifex Maximus); reverse C COSSVTIVS / MARID-IANVS (moneyer's name) arranged in form of cross, A - A - A - F•F (Auro, Argento, Aere, Flando, Feriundo) in the angles; a superb example of this type sold in June 2014 for $67,500 plus auction fees!; scarce; $800.00 (€704.00)

Octavian and Divus Julius Caesar, Second Triumvirate, 36 B.C., Lugdunum, Gaul

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Lyon was originally founded as the Roman city Colonia Copia Felix Munatia, a name invoking prosperity and the blessing of the gods. The city became increasingly referred to as Lugdunum by the end of the 1st century A.D. The etymology of Lugdunum is a latinization of the Gaulish place name Lugodunon. While dunon means hill fort, the source of Lug is uncertain. The most commonly offered meaning is the Celtic god named Lug. During the Middle Ages, Lugdunum was transformed to Lyon by natural sound change.
RR70870. Bronze dupondius, RPC I 515, Giard Lyon 7, SNG Cop 689, F, weight 16.797 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 36 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR DIVI F DIVI IVLI, two heads back to back: laureate head of Divus Julius Caesar to left and bare head of Octavian to right; between them palm branch with its tip bent to right over Octavian's head; reverse Prow of galley to right, ornamented with an eye and dolphin; star superimposed on globe and meta above deck, COPIA below; rare; $680.00 (€598.40)

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 42 - 31 B.C., Akko-Ptolemais, Phoenicia

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In 38 B.C. (or 37 B.C.), Mark Antony, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus and Marcus Lepidus signed the Treaty of Tarentum, extending the Second Triumvirate until 33 B.C.
RP72123. Bronze AE 26, RPC I 4740; Seyrig Monnayage 19; Sofaer pl. 7, 118; Kadman 73; Rouvier 993; Rosenberger -, aF, rough, earthen encrustations, weight 10.071 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, die axis 0o, Akko-Ptolemais, Phoenicia mint, 39 - 38 B.C.; obverse bare head of Antony right, within laurel wreath; reverse Tyche standing left on prow of galley, head right, apluster and rudder in right hand, cornucopia and palm in left, L IA / KAI AΣY (year 11 of Caesarian Era) upper left, ΠTOΛE/MAEΩN / IEPAΣ in three horizontal lines on right; rare; $500.00 (€440.00)

Pompeians in North Africa, Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio and P. Licinius Crassus Junianus, 47 - Early 46 B.C.

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Jupiter Terminalis on the obverse is copied from the coinage of Pompey the Great. The grain, scales and cornucopia advertise the properity of Africa. The curule chair commemorates the consulship of Scipio with Pompey in 52 B.C. Both Scipio and his legate P. Licinius Crassus Junianus fled by sea after the defeat at Thapsus but, trapped by the fleet of Publius Sittius, they committed suicide. After he pierced his body with his sword, some of his men unaware of his wound, asked about him, Scipio replied with his last words, which translate, "The general is doing well."
RR71921. Silver denarius, Crawford 460/2, Sydenham 1048, BMCRR Africa 4, RSC I Caecilia 49, Sear CRI 40, SRCV I 1376, aF, toned, tight flan, banker's mark, weight 3.311 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 270o, African (Utica?) mint, 47 - early 46 B.C.; obverse METEL PIVS SCIP IMP, bust of Jupiter right, hair tied with band, hair and beard in ringlets, eagle’s head left over scepter below, METEL PIVS before, SCIP IMP behind; reverse CRASS IVN LEG PRO PR, curule chair, scales balanced on cornucopia above, stalk of grain lower left, dragon head or carnyx lower right; from the Andrew McCabe Collection, ex Roma Numismatics E-Sale 11, lot 180; very rare; $460.00 (€404.80)

Octavian, Triumvir, Consul, and Imperator, Autumn 31 - Summer 30 B.C.

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This type celebrates Octavian's victory, defeating Mark Antony and Cleopatra at Actium.
SH76225. Silver denarius, RIC I 254b, RSC I 64, BnF I 36, Sear Imperators 407, BMCRE I 603, BMCRR I Rome 4339, SRCV I 1552, VF, toned, broad oval flan, punch, graffiti, marks, scratches - yet, attractive, weight 3.523 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, Italian (Rome?) mint, Autumn 31 - Summer 30 B.C.; obverse bare head left, no legend, linear border; reverse Victory standing left on globe, extending wreath in right hand, palm frond over shoulder in left hand, CAESAR - DIVI•F divided across field, linear border; $450.00 (€396.00)

Roman Republic, Second Triumvirate, Mark Antony and Octavian, Spring - Early Summer 41 B.C.

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AVG in the obverse legend, abbreviates Antony's official position as Augur (not Augustus, a title which did not yet exist). The augur was an official and priest, whose main role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying the flight of birds: whether they are flying in groups or alone, what noises they make as they fly, direction of flight and what kind of birds they are. This was known as "taking the auspices." The ceremony and function of the augur was central to any major undertaking in Roman society, public or private, including matters of war, commerce, and religion. The Roman historian Livy stresses the importance of the augurs: "Who does not know that this city was founded only after taking the auspices; that everything in war and in peace, at home and abroad, was done only after taking the auspices?"

Octavian's "equivalent" position as Pontifex, a priest, is abbreviated PONT in the reverse legend.

The moneyer M. Barbatius was a friend of Julius Caesar. In 41 B.C. he was a quaestor pro praetore to Antony in the East.
RR73605. Silver denarius, RSC I Mark Antony and Augustus 8, BMCRR 103, Sydenham 1181, Crawford 517/2, SRCV I 1504, F, well centered, toned, grainy surfaces, weight 3.156 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, military mint moving with Antony, Ephesus(?) mint, spring - early summer 41 B.C.; obverse M ANT IMP AVG III VIR R P C M BARBAT Q P (MP and AV ligate), bare head of Antony right; reverse CAESAR IMP PONT III VIR R P C, bare head of Octavian right; scarce; $400.00 (€352.00)

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG III

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This legion was probably Caesar's old III Gallica, which fought for Antony. Another possibility is III Cyrenaica, which was perhaps taken over from Lepidus. The III Augusta was probably an Octavian legion.
RS73643. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/15, Sydenham 1217, BMCRR II East 193, RSC I 28, aVF, weight 3.378 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis ,180o, Patrae(?) mint, fall 32 - spring 31 B.C.; obverse ANT•AVG / III VIR•R•P•C, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow, border of dots; reverse LEG - III, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, border of dots; $350.00 (€308.00)

Roman Republic, Q. Sicinius and C. Coponius, c. 49 B.C.

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In Roman Coins and Their Values, Millennium Edition, Volume One, David Sear notes, "Sicinius now strikes as a moneyer in exile in the East, having fled Italy with Pompey following Caesar's invasion. The praetor Coponius commanded the Pompeian fleet."
RR74520. Silver denarius, RSC I 1, Sydenham 939, Crawford 444/1a, SRCV I 413, Nice VF, beautiful style, attractive toning, weight 3.965 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Pompeian traveling mint, c. 49 B.C.; obverse Q·SICINIVS III·VIR, diademed head of Apollo right, star below; reverse C·COPONIVS ·PR·S·C, Nemean lion's skin draped over club, arrow left, bow right; $350.00 (€308.00)


Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Crawford, M. Roman Republican Coinage. (Cambridge, 1974).
Grueber, H.A. Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum. (London, 1910).
Rutter, N.K. ed. Historia Numorum. Italy. (London, 2001).
Seaby, H.A., D. Sear, & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Volume I, The Republic to Augustus. (London, 1989).
Sear, D. R. The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators 49 - 27 BC. (London, 1998).
Sear, D. R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sydenham, E. The Coinage of the Roman Republic. (London, 1952).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, October 13, 2015.
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The Imperators