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This is the rarest Othodenariustype and one of the rarest 1st century Roman denarii. Only two museums, Paris and ANS, hold examples. A further specimen was found in archeological context in Denmark in 1990s. Besides these, four additional specimens are known. This coin has the best portrait and is clearly the most attractive of the seven known. Jyrki Muona obtained it in 2002 at the NYINC from Glenn Woods.
Otho minted three separate issues. The first and second issues followed Galba's standard of 90% silver. Otho's third issue was debased to 80% silver. All coins of the third issue share the reverselegendPONT MAX, perhaps to make it easy to distinguish the debased coins. One might think our rare coin is a reverselegend error for Otho's third issue, PONT MAXCerestype. However, as Butcheret al. have shown, this is not the case. If CERES AVG was a simple reverselegend error, the flan would be 80% silver. This CERES AVGtype was struck in a second issue of 90% silver flans, probably during planning for the third issue, and perhaps only for testing. The type was apparently not distributed, and was withdrawn, and melted when it was decided to debase the coinage and use the PONT MAXlegend. It appears a small number were released, most likely by mistake.RS85563. Silver denarius, Muona Otho 10b; Butcher-Ponting-Muona 6; ANSCD 1958.217.1; BnF III 1; RIC I 1 (R3, 7 spec. known, all minted with the same die-pair), Nice VF, the best portrait and most attractive of the seven known specimens, light rose toning, a few light marks and spots of porosity, weight 3.272 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 9 Mar - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse IMP OTHOCAESAR AVG TRP, bare head right; reverseCERES AVG, Ceres standing left, grain-ears raised in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; rarest Othodenariustype; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Glenn Woods (NYINC, 2002); $5000.00 (€4250.00)
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.
The name Ostia was derived from the Latin "ostium" - river mouth. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Construction of the port facilities began under Claudius and was likely completed just before this sestertius was struck in 64 A.D. Trajan and Hadrian expanded the facilities. The port was abandoned due to silting and now lies 3 km from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics.SH86120. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC I 178, BMCRE I 131, Cohen I 37, Mac Dowall WCN 120, BnF I -, VF, well centered, nice portrait, near black patina, scratches on obverse lower right field, some porosity and tiny pitting, weight 26.031 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverseNEROCLAVDCAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVGVSTI above, S - C divided by POR OST below, bird's-eye view Ostia harbor: pharos lighthouse with Neptune statue on top at far side center; crescent-shaped pier with building and figure sacrificing at far end, crescent-shaped row of breakwaters or slips on right with figure seated on rock at far end, 7 ships within port; river god Tiber reclining left holding rudder and dolphin below; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 195 (7 Mar 2011), lot 405; $4680.00 (€3978.00)
Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria
Gaius Licinius Mucianus (named on this coin) was governor of Syria. When he failed to put down the Jewish revolt, Vespasian was sent to replace him. After the death of Galba, Mucianus and Vespasian both swore allegiance to Otho. Mucianus persuaded Vespasian to take up arms against Vitellius, who had seized the throne. They agreed Vespasian would settle affairs in the East, while Mucianus made would attack Vitellius. On his way to Rome, Mucianus defeated a Dacian invasion of Moesia. Mucianus reached Rome the day after Vitellius' death. Mucianus never wavered in his allegiance to Vespasian and was appointed consul for the third time in 72. As no mention is made of Mucianus during the reigns of Titus or Domitian, he probably died during the reign of Vespasian.RP85562. Bronze AE 28, McAlee 319 (ex. rare, same dies), cf. RPC 4316 (not specifying obverselegend direction), aVF, nice portrait, dark patina with buff earthen highlighting, spots of light corrosion, obverselegend mostly weak or off flan, weight 11.757 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse [IMP M OT]-HO - [CAE AVG] (counterclockwise from upper left), head laureate right, dot in field behind; reverse EΠI / MOYKIA/NOY AN/TIOXEΩ/N ET ZIP (legate Mucianus, of Antioch, year 117) in five lines within a linear circle in a laurel wreath; this variant with a counterclockwise obverselegend is extremely rare; ex Gemini auction XIII (6 Apr 2017), lot 158, ex Jyrki Muona Collection; $2250.00 (€1912.50)
Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D.
The wreath on the reverse is the corona civica, the oak wreath awarded to Roman citizens ex senatus consulto (by special decree of the Senate) for saving the life of another citizen by slaying an enemy in battle. It became a prerogative for Roman emperors to be awarded the Civic Crown, originating with Augustus, who was awarded it in 27 B.C. for saving the lives of citizens by ending the series of civil wars.SH86121. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC I 37, BMCRE I 38, Cohen I 24, BnF II 50, Hunter I 15, SRCV I -, Choice VF, Tiberpatina, centered and struck, attractive young portrait, some marks and corrosion, weight 26.709 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVSPON MTR POT, laureate head left; reverseS P Q R / P P / OB CIVES / SERVATOS in four lines within Corona Civica oak wreath; rare; $2160.00 (€1836.00)
Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.
Strabo wrote, "The Romans possess Lugdunum, founded below a ridge at the confluence of the Arar and the Rhone. It is the most populous of all the other cities except Narbo; for it is a center of commerce, and the Roman emperors strike their silver and gold coinage there." (4.3.2) SH85701. Silver denarius, RIC I 167a, BMCRE I 451, RSC I 137, BnF I 1373, Hunter I 197, SRCV I 1610, Choice EF, superb portrait, well centered and struck, dark toning, light marks, slightest porosity, weight 3.630 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverseAVGVSTVS DIVI•F, bare head right, dot border; reverse bull butting right, left foreleg raised, lashing tail, IMP•X in exergue, linear border; $2000.00 (€1700.00)
Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D.
The wreath on the reverse is the corona civica, the oak wreath awarded to Roman citizens ex senatus consulto (by special decree of the Senate) for saving the life of another citizen by slaying an enemy in battle. It became a prerogative for Roman emperors to be awarded the Civic Crown, originating with Augustus, who was awarded it in 27 B.C. for saving the lives of citizens by ending the series of civil wars.RB86122. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC I 37, BMCRE I 38, Cohen I 24, BnF II 50, Hunter I 15, SRCV I -, VF, attractively centered on a broad flan, brass and tan contrasts, weight 27.910 g, maximum diameter 35.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVSPON MTR POT, laureate head left; reverseS P Q R / P P / OB CIVES / SERVATOS in four lines within Corona Civica oak wreath; rare; $1710.00 (€1453.50)
Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Emerita, HispaniaLusitania
Mérida, Spain was founded by P. Carisius in 25 B.C., as Emerita Augusta, the name referring to the discharged soldiers who populated the city, by order of Augustus to protect a pass and a bridge over the Guadiana river. The city became an important city in the Roman Empire and the capital of Lusitania province. Mérida preserves more important ancient Roman monuments than any other city in Spain (including a triumphal arch of the age of Trajan). SH84707. Silver denarius, RIC I 9b, RSC I 398, BMCRE I 291, BMCRR Spain 128, BnF I 1039, Hunter I 124, SRCV I 1627 var. (head right), gVF, full circle centering on a broad flan, mint luster, weak strike areas, die wear, small edge cracks, weight 3.775 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 90o, Emerita Augusta (Merida, Spain) mint, P. Carisius, c. 25 - 23 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESARAVGVST, bare head left; reverse P CARISIVS LEG PRO PR (P. Carisius Legatus [Augusti] pro Praetore), bird's-eye view of town with walls around, EMERITA inscribed above gateway in front with three battlements over two arched entrances; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $1200.00 (€1020.00)
Vespasian the Younger, Caesar, 94 - 95 A.D., Smyrna, Ionia
In 94 A.D., because he had no heir, Domitian adopted his two young great-nephews. He renamed them Vespasian and Domitian. The next year he executed the boys' father, his cousin, Titus Flavius Clemens, and exiled the boys' mother, his niece, FlaviaDomitilla. They were charged with Atheism, a charge sometimes applied to condemn converts to Judaism or Christianity. The boys then disappeared from history and their fate is unknown.
Smyrna was the only city to strike coins in the name of Vespasian the Younger. No coins were struck for his brother.
Some scholars connect Domitilla with a Roman Matron in the Talmud (Avodah Zarah 10b) and the Deuteronomy Rabbah 2.25. When the emperor had decreed that in 30 days, the Senate would confirm an edict to kill all Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire, the Roman matron convinced her husband to stand up for the Jews. If that identification is correct, her husband Flavius Clemens converted to Judaism, after having contact with the great sage Rabbi Akiva. FlaviaDomitilla is a saint in both the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church.SH83453. Bronze AE 16, Klose p. 244, 3, pl. 31 (V1/R1); RPC II 1028; SNG Cop 1360; SNGvA 2208; BMC Ionia p. 276, 320, gF/F, weight 2.790 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna mint, as caesar, 94 - 95 A.D.; obverse OYOCΠACIANOC NEΩTEPOC, bare head right; reverse ZMYPNAIΩN, Nike standing right, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand; ex Solidus Numismatik, auction 7, lot 200; rare; $1170.00 (€994.50)
Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D., Tribute Penny of Matthew 22:20-21
Jesus, referring to a "penny" asked, "Whose is this image and superscription?" When told it was Caesar, He said, ''Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:20-21). Since Tiberius was Caesar at the time, this denariustype is attributed by scholars as the "penny" referred to in the Bible RS86432. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon group 1, 144; RIC I 26 (C); BMCRE I 34; SRCV I 1762; RSC II 16; SRCV I 1763, EF, nearly as struck, centered on a tight flan, some die wear, weight 3.698 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, early 'plain' finestyle, c. 15 - 18 A.D.; obverseTI CAESARDIVI FAVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reversePONTIF MAXIM (high priest), Pax (or Livia as Pax) seated right on chair with plain legs set on base, long scepter vertical behind in her right hand, branch in left hand, no footstool; $950.00 (€807.50)
Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D.
Fantastic elephant for the Roman Colosseum grand opening! RS86436. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 115; RSC II 303; BMCRE II 43; BnF III 37; SRCV I 2512, EF, well centered and struck, some border and legend letters not fully struck due to filled die, bumps and marks, weight 3.151 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 80 A.D.; obverse IMP TITVS CAESVESPASIANAVG P M, laureate head right; reverse TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P, elephant standing left; $800.00 (€680.00)
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