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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Imperators||View 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; $2400.00 (2112.00)


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; $1250.00 (1100.00)


Pompey the Great, Proconsul, Murdered in 48 B.C., Minted by his son Sextus Pompey

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Struck by Sextus Pompey after his victory over Salvidienus and relates to his acclamation as the Son of Neptune. Although Sextus Pompey was the supreme naval commander, Octavian had the Senate declare him a public enemy. He turned to piracy and came close to defeating Octavian. He was, however, defeated by Marcus Agrippa at the naval battle of Naulochus (3 September 36 B.C.). He was executed by order of Mark Antony in 35 B.C.
SH91677. Silver denarius, Crawford 511/3a, RSC I Pompey the Great 17, Sydenham 1344, BMCRR Sicily 7, Cohen Pompey the Great 18, Sear CRI 344, SRCV I 1392, VF, deep old-cabinet toning, slightly off center, banker's mark on cheek, weight 3.703 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Sicilian mint, 42 - 40 B.C.; obverse MAG PIVS IMP ITER, head of Pompey the Great right, between capis and lituus (augural symbols); reverse Neptune standing left, right foot on prow, nude but for chlamys on left arm, holding apluster, flanked by the Catanaean brothers, Anapias and Amphinomus, running in opposite directions with their parents on their shoulders, PRAEF above, CLAS ET ORAE / MARIT EX S C in two lines in exergue; from the Maxwell |Hunt| Collection; scarce; $1250.00 (1100.00)


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

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In Feb 44 B.C. the senate named Julius Caesar dictator for life. Fearing that he wished to become king, on the 15th of Mar, 63 senators assassinated him with their knives. His assassination plunged the Roman Republic into 17 years of civil war, after which it would re-emerge as the Roman Empire.
SH91678. Silver denarius, BMCRR Rome 4143 (also G); Crawford 480/3; RSC I 34; Sydenham 1056; Sear Imperators 100; SRCV I 1407; RBW 1678 var. (H) , Choice F, excellent portrait for the grade, well centered, dark old cabinet toning, banker's marks, scratches, lightly etched, weight 3.408 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, moneyer M. Mettius, Jan - Feb 44 B.C.; obverse CAESARIMP, wreathed head of Caesar right, cymbium (boat shaped cup used as a wine ladle) and lituus (augural wand) behind; reverse M METTIVS, Venus standing left, Victory in her extended right hand, long transverse scepter in left hand, resting left elbow on shield which rests on globe, G (control letter) in lower left field; from the Maxwell |Hunt| Collection, ex Pegasi Coins; rare; $1200.00 (1056.00)


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

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This type was a special military coinage produced by Caesar during his final campaign. This campaign against the Pompeian forces in Spain culminated in the battle of Munda on 17 March 45 B.C. The obverse refers to Caesar's mythical descent from the goddess Venus. The reverse refers to Caesar's victories in Gaul and the male Gaulish captive may be Vercingetorix.
RR91680. Silver denarius, Crawford 468/1, Sydenham 1014, RSC I 13, BMCRR Spain 89, Sear CRI 58, SRCV I 1404, gVF, old cabinet toning, reverse slightly off center, tiny edge crack, weight 3.934 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Spanish mint, 46 - 45 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Venus right, small Cupid behind; reverse trophy of Gallic arms; on left, Gallia seated left with hand to head in attitude of morning; on right, male (Vercingetorix?) captive seated right, hands bound behind, looking back and up; CAESAR in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, ex Hesperia Art; $900.00 (792.00)


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

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Minted after his invasion of Italy and crossing of the Rubicon on 10 January 49 B.C. until his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus, this was the first coin type issued in Caesar's name. The elephant was the symbol of the Caesar family. According to legend, an ancestor received the name Caesar after single-handedly killing an elephant, probably in North Africa during the first Punic War, and "Caesai" was the name for elephant in the local Punic language. The obverse was long described as an elephant trampling a snake, symbolizing good triumphing over evil. For the Romans, however, the snake was a symbol of healing, not evil. The image to the right (click it to see a larger photo) is ornamentation on the side of the Gundestrup cauldron (c. 150 - 1 B.C.) depicting three Celtic warriors sounding their carnyx war trumpets. Clearly, Caesar's elephant is trampling a carnyx and the obverse symbolizes Caesar's victory over the Celtic tribes of Gaul. The reverse refers to Caesar's office of Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, a title now held by the Pope.Persian Empire

SH91682. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, Choice VF, well centered and struck on a broad flan, attractive old cabinet toning, weight 3.732 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 45o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a carnyx (a Celtic war trumpet) ornamented to look like a dragon, CAESAR below; reverse implements of the pontificate: culullus (cup) or simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), securis (sacrificial ax), and apex (priest's hat); from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, Hesperia Art; $900.00 (792.00)


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; $600.00 (528.00)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG VI - Ferrata, the "Ironclad"

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The VI Ferrata, the "Ironclad," was an old legion of Caesar's that fought for Antony. It was retained by Augustus and later served in Syria and Judaea. The VI Victrix, on the other hand, was one of Octavian's legions. This Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus issued a 'restitution' of the type, presumably in connection with the latter's Eastern campaigns.
SH91681. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/19, Sydenham 1223, BMCRR II East 197, RSC I 33, Sear CRI 356, Choice VF, attractive old cabinet toning, well centered and struck, flow lines, a few bumps/scratches, weight 3.819 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 225o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - VI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $550.00 (484.00)


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)


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

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RS91805. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399 (silver, official, military mint), aVF, excellent centering, uneven toning, small plating breaks, weight 2.862 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, c. 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a carnyx (a Celtic war trumpet) ornamented to look like a dragon, CAESAR below; reverse implements of the pontificate: culullus (cup) or simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), securis (sacrificial ax), and apex (priest's hat); ex Numismatik Naumann auction 75 (3 Mar 2019), lot 584; $450.00 (396.00)




  



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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 Tuesday, July 23, 2019.
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The Imperators