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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The ImperatorsView Options:  |  |  | 

Coins of the Roman Imperators

Mark Antony and Octavia, 39 B.C., Ephesos, Ionia

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The obverse legend abbreviates Consul Designatus, Iterum et Tertium, meaning Consul Elect for the second and third time. The reverse legend abbreviates Triumvir Reipublicae Constituendae, the title adopted in November of 43 B.C. by the three Caesarian leaders (Mark Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus) when they formed the Second Triumvirate to oppose the tyrannicides Brutus and Cassius.
SH86609. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, RPC I 2202, Sydenham 1198, Crawford 263, RSC Octavia and M. Antony 3, Sear CRI 263, BMCRR East 135, SRCV I 1513, Choice gVF, toned, well centered, some die wear and rust, scratches, weight 11.723 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, summer - autumn 39 B.C.; obverse M ANTONIVS IMP COS DESIG ITER ET TERT (Consul Elect for the 2nd and 3rd time), conjoined head of Antony and bust of Octavia right, Antony nearer and wreathed in ivy, Octavia draped; reverse Dionysus standing half left on cista mystica, in his right hand, thyrsus in his left hand, flanked by two interlaced snakes with heads erect, III VIR (triumvir) downward on left, R P C (Reipublicae Constituendae) upward on right; $2430.00 (2138.40)


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

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"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks 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."

Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH89754. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/7b, Sydenham 1062, Sear CRI 104a, RSC I Julius Caesar 24, Russo RBW 1682, BMCRR I Rome 4155, SRCV I 1410, aEF, toned, light marks, off center, irregular flan with edge splits , weight 3.780 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, struck by L. Aemilus Buca, Rome mint, lifetime issue, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse Venus seated left, Victory in extended right, long transverse scepter in left hand, L:BVCA downward behind; ex CNG e-auction 353 (17 Jun 2015), lot 409; rare; $1350.00 (1188.00)


Roman Republic, Julius Caesar, Posthumous, 42 B.C., Moneyer L. Livineius Regulus

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L. Livineius Regulus had served with Caesar in North Africa.
SH87936. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1425, Crawford 494/24, Sear CRI 115, Sydenham 1106, RSC I 27, BMCRR Rome 4274, F, iridescent rainbow toning, well centered, banker's mark, weight 3.462 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, 42 B.C.; obverse wreathed head of Julius Caesar right, laurel branch behind, winged caduceus before; reverse L LIVINEIVS / REGVLVS, bull charging right; rare; $610.00 (536.80)


Roman Republic, L. Sulla and L. Manlius Torquatus, 82 B.C.

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L. Manlius Torquatus was proquaestor to Sulla during the Mithridatic war (he was later Consul - 65 B.C.); this issue was struck for the civil war in Italy 82 B.C.
RR89737. Silver denarius, Crawford 367/5; Sydenham 757; RSC I Manlia 4; BMCRR II p. 461, 5; Russo RBW 1386; SRCV I 286, Choice EF, well centered and struck with attractive dies, nice rose toning, light marks, tiny edge cracks, weight 4.063 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, military mint, 82 B.C.; obverse head of Roma right, PRO Q (proquaestor) downward behind, L MANLI upward before; reverse Sulla walking in a quadriga right, holding reins in right hand and caduceus in left, crowned by Victory flying above, L SVLLA IM (imperator) in exergue; $600.00 (528.00)


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

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According to Livy, the caduceus, a symbol of peace, was sometimes carried by diplomats sent to negociate a treaty. Antony and Octavian allied to defeat Caesar's assassins, but after defeating Brutus and Cassius, each was determined to obtain absolute power. While Antony was in Egypt, his brother and his wife gathered an army to remove Octavian but they were defeated. Antony and Octavian met with their armies at Brundisium, but the legions, both Caesarian, refused to fight. The two men reached an agreement. This is when this coin was struck by Octavian's mint with Antony's portrait on the obverse. It appeared that peace was finally reigning in the Roman world, but it only was a short calm before another storm.
RR89740. Silver denarius, Crawford 529/3, Sydenham 1328, Sear CRI 303, BMCRR II Gaul 94, Russo RBW 1817, RSC I Mark Antony 5, F, uneven toning, light marks, weight 3.488 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 270o, travelling mint with Octavian mint, 39 B.C.; obverse ANTONIVS IMP, bare head right; reverse CAESAR - IMP (counterclockwise below), winged caduceus; rare; $500.00 (440.00)


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

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The coin was struck by a mint traveling with Antony in Greece, between autumn 32 and summer 31 B.C., perhaps at Petrae near Corinth. The countermark was applied for Vespasian at Ephesus between 1 January 74 and 23 June 79 AD.
CM89794. Silver denarius, cf. Crawford 544/14, Sydenham 1216, BMCRR II East 190, RSC I 27 ff.; countermark: Howgego 839, coin: Fair/Poor, countermark: aVF , weight 2.873 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - [...], aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; countermark: MP VES (IMP ligate appears as MP, and VE ligate); $150.00 (132.00)


Gnaeus Pompey Junior, Imperator, 47 - 45 B.C., Son of Pompey the Great

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After the murder of his father, Gnaeus Pompey Magnus Junior and his brother Sextus joined the resistance against Caesar in Africa. Together with Metellus Scipio, Cato the Younger and other senators, they prepared to oppose Caesar and his army. Caesar defeated Metellus Scipio and Cato, who subsequently committed suicide, at the Battle of Thapsus in 46 B.C. Gnaeus escaped to the Balearic Islands, where he joined Sextus. Together with Titus Labienus, former general in Caesar's army, the Pompey brothers crossed over to the Hispania, where they raised yet another army. Caesar soon followed and, on 17 March 45 B.C., the armies met in the battle of Munda. Both armies were large and led by able generals. The battle was closely fought, but eventually a cavalry charge by Caesar turned events to his side. In the battle and the panicked escape that followed, Titus Labienus and an estimated 30,000 men of the Pompeian side died. Gnaeus and Sextus managed to escape once again. However, this time, supporters were difficult to find because it was now clear Caesar had won the civil war. Within a few weeks, Gnaeus Pompeius was caught and executed for treason.
RR88024. Leaded bronze as, Crawford 471/1, Sydenham 1040, RPC I 486, BMCRR Spain 84, RBW Collection, 1646, Sear CRI 53, Cohen I 16, SRCV I 1386, aF, dark patina, porous, earthen encrustations, weight 23.210 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 240o, Hispania probably Tarraco (Tarragona, Spain) mint, 46 - 45 B.C.; obverse laureate and bearded head of Janus, I above; reverse prow of galley right, I right, CN MAG (MA ligate) above, IMP below; scarce; $60.00 (52.80)







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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).
Carson, R. Principal Coins of the Romans, Vol. I: The Republic, c. 290-31 BC. (London, 1978).
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 Wednesday, June 19, 2019.
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The Imperators