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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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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)

SH84233. Silver denarius, RIC I 167a, BMCRE I 451, RSC I 137, BnF I 1373, SRCV I 1610, Choice EF, nearly as struck, lustrous, slight die wear, weight 3.887 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverse AVGVSTVS DIVI•F, bare head right; reverse bull butting right, IMP•X in exergue; $1700.00 (€1513.00)
 


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; $480.00 (€427.20)
 


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 24, 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; $350.00 (€311.50)
 


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)
 


Gaius Caesar, Antiochia ad Maeandrum, Caria, 1 B.C. - 4 A.D.

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The bare-headed young portrait is Gaius Julius Caesar, not Augustus. In this period, Augustus would be expected to wear a wreath, as he does on the other coins from this city. The youthful image better fits the younger man, who was both his grandson and adoptive son. Many cities issued coins for Gaius after he was made army commander in the East in 1 B.C. The winged caduceus commemorates the peace treaty he made that year with Phraates V. Attribution to Antioch on the Meander is likely but not entirely certain.
SH77422. Bronze AE 15, RPC I Supp. S-5478 (corr., 1 spec., head of Augustus, caduceus on a prow); Solidus Numismatik, auction 6, lot 209, VF, over-cleaned, porous, flan crack, weight 2.129 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, Antioch on the Meander mint, 1 B.C. - 21 Feb 4 A.D.; obverse ANTIOXEΩN, bare head (Gaius Caesar?) right with slender neck and curved bust line; reverse winged caduceus in laurel wreath; extremely rare, only the 3rd known; $270.00 (€240.30)
 


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 (€155.75)
 


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 (€137.95)
 


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 22, 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; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


Orthosia, Phoenicia, c. 30 - 28 B.C.

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A similar type was struck at Orthosia for Cleopatra with her bust on the obverse. After Antony and Cleopatra were defeated, under the rule of Augustus, her bust was replaced by Tyche. RPC lists this type dated with years 36, 40 and 41. No date is visible on this coin. The date may simply be worn or perhaps it is an early issue struck with an undated die. The reverse style is so close to that of the coins struck under Cleopatra that the die may have been recycled from her last issue with her regnal year erased.
SH73047. Bronze AE 20, cf. SNG Cop 175 (also no date visible), RPC I 4504 (year 36 = 29 - 28 B.C.), Rouvier 869 (same), F, weight 8.937 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Phoenicia, Orthosia mint, rule of Augustus, c. 30 - 28 B.C.; obverse turreted head of Tyche right; reverse Baal of Orthosia in chariot pulled by to griffins to right, crescent above his head, OPΘΩCIEΩN in exergue, undated(?); extremely rare; $135.00 (€120.15)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Iberian(?) Barbaric Imitative

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RB70583. Copper as, cf. SRCV I 1685, RIC I 431, BMCRE 226, Cohen I 515, BnF I 687 (official, Rome mint, 7 B.C.), F, interesting crude style, nice green patina, edge cracks, scratches, pits on reverses, weight 10.390 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 225o, Iberian(?) unofficial mint, obverse bare head right; reverse large S C; $130.00 (€115.70)
 




  



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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 Friday, December 09, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Augustus