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Coins of the Roman Imperators

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

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"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life." Caesar would be dictator for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks or days after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar; but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar" when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."
SH84451. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/8, Sydenham 1061, BMCRR Rome 4154, RSC I 23, Sear CRI 105, SRCV I 1411, aF, toned, uneven strike, uneven strike, porous areas, weight 3.204 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 180o, struck by P. L. Aemilus Buca, Rome mint, lifetime issue, Feb - 15 Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAES DICT PERPETVO, laureate head of Julius Caesar right; reverse Venus standing left, Victory in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, L BVCA downward on the right; $1100.00 (979.00)


Roman Republic, Sextus Pompeius Magnus, 45 - 44 B.C.

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This type was struck while Sextus Pompey was free-booting in Spain following the Battle of Munda. Pietas was the Pompeians' battle cry at Munda and the reverse type refers to his vow to avenge the deaths of his father and elder brother. Babelon and Grueber interpret SAL as salutatus. Crawford and Buttrey identify it as a mintmark for Salpensa, but David Sear points out that such a prominent mintmark would be unprecedented on a denarius of the period and seems to be an integral part of the legend.
RR77515. Silver denarius, Buttrey Pietas Type 4 (6/D); Crawford 477/3a; Sydenham 1042a; Sear CRI 232b, RSC I Pompeia 13, gF, attractive old cabinet tone, banker's marks, light bumps and scratches, weight 3.331 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain Hispania mint, 45 - 44 B.C.; obverse SEX MAGN PIVS IMP SAL, bare head of Cnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) right; reverse Pietas standing left, palm branch in right hand, long scepter transverse in left hand, PIETAS downward on right; From the Andrew McCabe Collection, Roma Numismatics auction 23, lot 372, ex Gemini auction X (13 Jan 2013), lot 261, ex Randy Haviland Collection; very rare; $720.00 (640.80)


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; $600.00 (534.00)


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

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This may have been a legion raised by Antony and disbanded by Augustus. The XI Claudia, an old legion of Caesar's, fought for Octavian (and won the title Actiaca at the battle of Actium).
SL79267. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/25, Sydenham 1229, BMCRR II East 203, RSC I 39, NGC F, strike 3/5, surface 2/5, banker's marks (2400602-008), toned, weight 3.48 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - XI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; NGC certified (slabbed); $500.00 (445.00)


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; $450.00 (400.50)


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

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This old Caesarean legion was known at different times as Victrix, Antiquae, Paterna and finally XII Fulminata ('the thunderers'). Its veterans settled (among other places) in Patras in Greece. After fighting without great distinction in the First Jewish Revolt, the legion was transferred to Melitene in Cappadocia, where it remained for several hundred years.
RR76782. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/20, Sydenham 1224, BMCRR II East 198, RSC I 34, VF, toned, contact marks, graffiti, weight 3.561 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - XII, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; $360.00 (320.40)


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

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In 38 B.C. Mark Antony, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus and Marcus Lepidus signed the Treaty of Tarentum, extending the Second Triumvirate until 33 BC.
SH79737. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1474, Crawford 533/2, Sear CRI 267, Sydenham 1199, RSC I 13, BMCRR II East 141, gF, toned, marks and scratches, banker's marks, weak legends, weight 3.741 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, summer 38 B.C.; obverse M ANTONINVS M F M N AVGVR IMP TERT, Mark Antony standing right, as priest, holding lituus; reverse III VIR R P C COS DESIG ITER ET TERT, radiate head of Sol right; $360.00 (320.40)


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

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This may have been the famous V Alaudae ('the larks'), a Caesarean legion which remained loyal to Antony but was later retained by Augustus. There are other possibilities, however: V Macedonica, a Caesarean legion about which little is known; V Urbana, disbanded after Actium (and therefore quite likely an Antonian legion); and V Gallica, a Caesarean legion that was probably the one that under Lollius lost its eagle to German raiders in Gaul in 17 B.C.
RS79795. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/18, Sydenham 1221, BMCRR II East 196, RSC I 32, Sear CRI 354, VF, obverse slightly off-center, banker's mark on obverse, weight 3.714 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT AVG III. VIR. R. P. C., galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - V, legionary aquila between two standards; $360.00 (320.40)


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

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This reverse copies a type issued for Augustus. The statue of Julius Caesar is often described as crowning Augustus, but it seems clear on most specimens that both Augustus and Caesar are just raising their right hands in a salute. RPC identifies the figure behind as Genius Populi Romani(?), undoubtedly because the figure wears only a himation around his hips and legs. On the coin issued by Augustus, Caesar wears a toga.
RP83547. Bronze AE 26, RPC Online IV 4259 (4 spec., same dies as L 1958-3-4-92); AMNG III.2 p. 103, 18, pl. XX, 17 (rev. only); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; BMC Macedonia -, VF, green patina, obverse a little off-center, marks and scratches, corrosion, weight 10.650 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 180o, Philippi mint, 177 - 192 A.D.; obverse M COMMO ANT P FELIX AV BR, laureate head of Commodus right; reverse COL IVLIA AVG PHILIP, a statue of Augustus, on left, standing left in military dress and statue of Divi Julius Caesar (or Genius Populi Romani?) standing left behind him a himation around hips and legs, both raising right hand in salute, both statues on base inscribed DIVS (sic) / AVG in two lines; ex Gitbud & Naumann auction 36, lot 338; very rare; $300.00 (267.00)


Octavian, Triumvir and Imperator, Augustus 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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This coin refers to a return of control of the Province of Asia after victory over Mark Antony. The cista mystica, the traditional symbol on the coinage of Pergamum (a symbol of Asia known to most Romans) is surmounted by Octavian's Victory.
RR79553. Silver quinarius, RIC I 276; RSC I Augustus 14; BMCRE p. 105, 647; BnF I 899; SRCV I 1568, gF, toned, banker's marks, scratches, weight 1.765 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 90o, Ephesus mint, 29 - 27 B.C.; obverse CAESAR IMP VII, bare head right; reverse ASIA RECEPTA, Victory standing left on cista mystica between two snakes; ex Frascatius Ancient Coins; $230.00 (204.70)










REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes 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 Monday, December 05, 2016.
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The Imperators