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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Twelve Caesars ▸ AugustusView Options:  |  |  |   

Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

Octavian Augustus, the first and possibly greatest Roman emperor, founded the Roman empire after defeating Mark Antony and Cleopatra. He reformed the coinage and the military, and embarked on a huge building program all across the empire. Augustus was succeeded by his stepson Tiberius after a long reign of 41 years. He was 77, having ruled from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D.


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Augustus' sun sign was Libra. We don't know why he selected the Capricorn as his emblem. Perhaps Capricorn was either his rising sign or his Moon sign. Popular astrology, of the newspaper kind, is sun sign astrology. The ancients tended to attach more importance to the Moon sign and rising signs. Perhaps Augustus selected the Capricorn because it is associated with stern moral authority.
SH84736. Silver denarius, BnF I 1271 (same dies, attributed to auxiliary workshop, Colonia Patricia), RIC I 126 (R2), RSC I 21, BMCRE I 346, Hunter I 145, SRCV I 1592, Choice aMS, nearly as struck, mint luster, well centered and bold strike, a few light marks, obverse die wear, weight 3.809 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Spanish (Colonia Patricia?) mint, 16 B.C.; obverse bare head right, dot border, anepigraphic; reverse capricorn right, filleted cornucopia overflowing with grain and fruit on its back, celestial globe and rudder with tiller held between hooves, AVGVSTVS below; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; scarce; $3150.00 SALE PRICE $2835.00
 


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ANCIENT COINS, ROMAN EMPIRE, Augustus. Silver Denarius (3.82 g), 27 BC-AD 14. Emerita(?), Head of Augustus right, wreathed with oak-leaves. Rev. CAESAR AVGVSTVS, two laurel branches. (). An outstanding example. Well struck with underlying lustrous surfaces and lightly toned. Superb extremely fine. When Octavian was awarded the honorary title of Augustus in 27 BC investing him with supreme power, he was also given the right to decorate his door posts with laurel branches, a sign of martial victory, and the corona civica, an oak-wreath symbolizing the saving of a Roman life. In the case of Augustus, the laurel branches signified his victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at Actium, and the corona civica was awarded for saving the life of not one citizen but of many thousands when he successfully ended the civil wars. On this coin Augustus is portrayed wearing the oak wreath crown - something that occurs only occasionally on Roman coins - which by law he was required to do at every public gathering.Recent scholarship indicates that the two mints identified in RIC (i.e., Caesaraugusta and Colonia Patricia) are unlikely for several reasons (see the summary in Triton XI, 723). RIC assigns this coin to a possible mint located at Caesaraugusta, but here we follow the recent scholarship and assign it to Emerita.
SH84729. Silver denarius, RIC I 33a (R2), BnF I 1283, Hunter I 134, BMCRE I 318 var. (head left), SRCV I 1600 var. (same), Choice gVF, light toning with luster in recesses, weight 3.830 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, probably Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza, Spain) mint, c. 19 - 18 BC.; obverse head of Augustus right, wearing oak wreath (Corona Civitas), anepigraphic; reverse two laurel branches upright, CAESAR / AVGVSTVS in two lines above and below; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $1800.00 SALE PRICE $1620.00 ON RESERVE


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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 CAESAR AVGVST, 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; $1600.00 SALE PRICE $1440.00
 


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A legatus Augusti pro praetore (literally: "envoy of the emperor - acting praetor") was the official title of the governor of some imperial provinces of the Roman Empire during the Principate era, normally the larger ones or those where legions were based. Provinces were denoted imperial if their governor was selected by the emperor, in contrast to senatorial provinces, whose governors (called proconsuls) were elected by the Roman Senate.
SH84735. Silver denarius, RIC I 7b, RSC I 405, BMCRE I 282, BMCRR Spain 115, BnF I 1048, Hunter I -, SRCV I -, Nice gVF, attractive portrait, bold strike, light toning with luster in recesses, area of corrosion on reverse edge 3:00 - 6:00, weight 3.758 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 315o, Emerita Augusta (Merida, Spain) mint, P. Carisius, c. 25 - 23 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR AVGVST, bare head left; reverse P CARISIVS LEG PRO PR (P. Carisius Legatus [Augusti] pro Praetore), Celtiberian helmet decorated with face and crest, short dagger pointing downward on left, bipennis (double-headed ax) slanting upward on right; this is the only example of this scarce type ever handled by Forum, from the Marcelo Leal Collection; scarce; $1400.00 SALE PRICE $1260.00
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Restitution Issue Struck in Thrace under Titus

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The restoration coins of Titus and Domitian attributed by BMC to Lugdunum have been reattributed in RPC II and the new RIC II, part 1 to Thrace, and perhaps Perinthus. The types are rarely found in the west and are most frequently found in the Balkans, some share a countermark identical to some coins of Perinthus, the epigraphy does not fit Lugdunum or Rome, and the inconsistent die axis is characteristic of the Perinthus mint.
SH73458. Brass sestertius, RPC II 511, RIC II, part 1, Titus 403 (R); BMCRE II Titus 263; BnF III -; Hunter I -; Cohen I -; SRCV I -, gF, centered, nice green patina, weight 24.742 g, maximum diameter 35.0 mm, die axis 180o, Thrace, Perinthus(?) mint, 80 A.D.; obverse DIVVS AVGVSTVS PATER, Augustus seated left on curule chair, feet on footstool, radiate and togate, patera in right, long scepter vertical behind in left; reverse IMP T CAES DIVI DIVI VESP F AVG P M TR P P COS VIII (clockwise starting at 12:00), large S C, REST above; huge 35 mm bronze!; rare; $430.00 SALE PRICE $387.00
 


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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)

RS84720. Silver denarius, RIC I 167a, BMCRE I 451, RSC I 137, BnF I 1373, Hunter I 197, SRCV I 1610, VF, marks, scratches, horn silver encrustations, weight 3.677 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 225o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverse AVGVSTVS DIVI•F, bare head right; reverse bull butting right, left foreleg raised, lashing tail, IMP•X in exergue, linear border; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 47, lot 465; $340.00 SALE PRICE $306.00
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Uncertain Mint, Anatolia or Syria

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The mint, the quaestor who struck this type, and even the identity of the person in the portrait remain uncertain. The type has previously been attributed to Macedonia and the portrait identified as Brutus (Friedlander) or Caesar (Grant). David Sear notes the type has never been found in Macedonia. Finds point to Syria or Anatolia. It is possible that the type was issued, with his own portrait, by Sosius, a general under Marc Antony who was quaestor in 39 B.C. Much more likely, however, the portrait is of Augustus.
RB71004. Bronze AE 27, RPC I 5409; Sear CRI 957 (Syria); AMNG II 29 (Pella), F, green patina, weight 17.823 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Anatolian or Syrian mint, obverse bare head right; reverse hasta (spear), sella quaestoria (quaestor's seat of office), and fiscus (imperial treasury), Q (for quaestor) below; previously a rare type but recent finds have made it somewhat easier to acquire; $300.00 SALE PRICE $270.00
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Kyzikos, Mysia

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The Julio-Claudian princes depicted on this type are uncertain. References most often identify them as Caius and Lucius caesars, but Drusus and Germanicus have also been suggested, and there are other possibilities. The features of both portraits on this coin resemble Augustus, which doesn't help.
RP77421. Bronze AE 15, RPC I 2246 (7 spec.), SNG Ashmolean 1188, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, BMC Mysia -, gF, nice green patina, old scratches, light corrosion, weight 2.040 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos (Erdek, Turkey) mint, c. 4 B.C. - 2 A.D.; obverse bare headed male head right; reverse KYZI, bare headed male head right; very rare; $175.00 SALE PRICE $158.00
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Uncertain Mint, Anatolia or Syria

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The mint, the quaestor who struck this type, and even the identity of the person in the portrait remain uncertain. The type has previously been attributed to Macedonia and the portrait identified as Brutus (Friedlander) or Caesar (Grant). David Sear notes the type has never been found in Macedonia. Finds point to Syria or Anatolia. It is possible that the type was issued, with his own portrait, by Sosius, a general under Marc Antony who was quaestor in 39 B.C. Much more likely, however, the portrait is of Augustus.
RP77502. Bronze AE 28, RPC I 5409; Sear CRI 957 (Syria); AMNG II 29 (Pella), F, porous, scratches, weight 19.349 g, maximum diameter 28.4 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Anatolian or Syrian mint, obverse bare head right; reverse hasta (spear), sella quaestoria (quaestor's seat of office), and fiscus (imperial treasury), Q (for quaestor) below; ex H.D. Rauch e-auction 15 (16 Jun 2014), lot 145; $155.00 SALE PRICE $140.00
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Apamea, Phrygia, Gaius Caesar Reverse

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Strabo wrote, Apamea was a place of great trade in the Roman province of Asia, next in importance to Ephesus. Its commerce was owing to its position on the great road to Cappadocia, and it was also the center of other roads.
RP77314. Bronze AE 21, RPC I 3129, SNGvA 3484, BMC Phrygia p. 93, 139, Weber 7033, SNG Cop -, aVF, green patina, earthen encrustation, weight 5.986 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Phrygia, Apamea mint, obverse ΣEBAΣTOΣ, laureate head of Augustus right; reverse ΓAIOΣ KAIΣAP ΓAIOΣ MAΣΩNIOΣ POYΦOΣ AΠAMEΩN, Gaius Caesar in facing quadriga; $135.00 SALE PRICE $122.00
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

AVGVSTVS
AVGVSTVSDIVIF
AVGVSTVSTRPOT
AVGVSTVSTRPOTVII
CAESARAVGPONTMAXTRIBVNICPOT
CAESARAVGTRIBVNPOTES
CAESARAVGVSTPONTMAXTRIBVNICPOT
CAESARAVGVSTVS
CAESARAVGVSTVSDIVIF
CAESARAVGVSTVS DIVIFPATERPATRIAE
CAESARAVGVSTVSSPQR
CAESARAVGVSTVSTRIBVNICPOTEST
CAESARAVGVSTVSTRPOT
CAESARAVGTRIBVNPOTES
CAESARCOSVI
CAESARDIVIFCOSVI
CAESARIAVGVSTO
CAESARIMP
CAESARIMPVII
CAESARIIIVIRRPC
CAESARPONTMAX
CCAESARIIIVIRRPC
CCAESARIMP
CCAESARIIIVIRRPC
DIVOAVGVSTO
DIVOAVGVSTOSPQR
DIVOAVGVSTOSPQROBCIVESSER
DIVVSAVGVSTVS
DIVVSAVGVSTVSPATER
DIVVSAVGVSTVSSC
DIVIIVLIF
GALVSMESSALLAIIIVIR
IMPCAESAR
IMPCAESARAVGVST
IMPCAESARAVGVSTTRPOTIIX
IMPCAESARDIVIF
IMPCAESARDIVIFAVGVSTVSIMPXX
IMPCAESARDIVIFCOSVILIBERTATISPRVINDEX
IMP CAESAR DIVI F III VIR ITER
IMP CAESAR DIVI F VIR ITER R P C
IMP CAESARI
IMP CAESAR DIVI IVLI
IMP IX TR POV
LAMIASILIVSANNIVS
OB CIVIS SERVATOS
PBETILIENVSBASSVS
PVLCHERTAVRVSREGVLVS
SCOBRPCVMSALVTIMPCAESARAVGCONS
S P Q R IMP CAESARI
S P Q R IMP CAESARI AVG COS XI TR POT VI
S P Q R PARENT CONSSVO


REFERENCES

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry & P.P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (London, 1992 and supplement).
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. One: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. I: De Pompeyo Magno a Matidia (Del 81 a.C. al 117 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Giard, J.B. Monnaies de l'Empire romain, I Auguste. Catalogue Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol 1: Augustus to Vitellius. (London, 1923).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. I. Augustus to Nerva. (Oxford, 1962).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sutherland, C.H.V. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
Toynbee, J.M.C. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Sunday, April 23, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Augustus