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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.


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; $540.00 (€475.20)
 


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 aquire; $400.00 (€352.00)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Abdera, Thrace

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In ancient Athens it was proverbial to ridicule Abdera by saying that the air in Abdera causes stupidity. But Abdera counted among its citizens the philosophers Democritus, Protagoras and Anaxarchus, historian and philosopher Hecataeus of Abdera, and the lyric poet Anacreon.
SH68886. Bronze AE 22, RPC I 1730, Varbanov II 7 (R6), AMNG II 244, SNG Cop 382, SGICV 485, aVF, some corrosion, weight 4.523 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Abdera mint, 63 - 68 A.D.; obverse NEPΩNI KΛAY∆IΩ KAIΣAPI ΣEBAΣTOY, bare head of Nero left; reverse ΘEΩ AB∆HPEITAI, bare head of Augustus (or Claudius) left; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Harlan J. Berk; scarce; $155.00 (€136.40)
 


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; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


Augustus and Agrippa, 16 - 15 B.C., Colonia Augusta Nemausus, Gaul

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This two-headed brass dupondius was commonly cut between the heads, creating two individual one-as coins.

The reverse commemorates the conquest of Egypt in 30 B.C. and was probably issued in connection with Augustus' visit to Gaul in 16 B.C.
RP72851. Bronze cut half dupondius (as), cf. SRCV I 1729, RIC I 155, RPC I 523, VF, half of cut coin, green patina, scratches, weight 5.205 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Colonia Augusta Nemausus (Nimes, France) mint, 16 - 15 B.C.; obverse IMP DIVI F, back to back heads of Augustus, bare head right, and [Agrippa, wearing rostral wreath, (cut, off flan)]; reverse COL NEM, crocodile right chained to a palm, wreath above, two palm fronds below; $125.00 (€110.00)
 


Philippi, Macedonia, 41 - 68 A.D.

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This coin has traditionally been attributed to Augustus, but due to its copper composition, RPC attributes it as likely from Claudius to Nero; Philippi probably did not issue copper coins during the reign of Augustus.
RP77004. Bronze AE 19, RPC I 1651, Varbanov III 3229, SGICV 32, SNG Cop 305, AMNG III 14, BMC Macedonia 23, VF, well centered on a tight flan, some light corrosion, some legend weak, weight 3.421 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, Philippi mint, 41 - 68 A.D.; obverse VIC - AVG, Victory standing left on base holding wreath and palm; reverse COHOR PRAE PHIL, three standards; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Kingdom of Thrace, Rhoemetalces I, c. 11 B.C. - 12 A.D., Augustus Reverse

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When the Cotys VII, King of Thrace, died about 48 B.C. Rhoemetalces I became the guardian of his nephew Rhescuporis I, his brother's young son and heir. In 13 B.C., Rhescuporis I was defeated and slain in battle by Vologases, chief of the Thracian Bessi, who was leading a revolt against Rome. As Rhescuporis I had left no heir, Rhoemetalces became king. An ally of Augustus, the Roman Historian Tacitus described Rhoemetalces as attractive and civilized. After his death, Augustus divided his realm, half for his son Cotys VIII and the other half for Rhoemetalces' brother Rhescuporis II. Tacitus states that Cotys received the cultivated parts, most towns and most Greek cities of Thrace, while Rhescuporis received the wild and savage portion with enemies on its frontier.
RP71346. Bronze AE 20, RPC I 1718; Youroukova 194; BMC Thrace p. 209, 7; SNG Cop 1192; SNG Tübingen 974; SNG Evelpidis 1124, gVF, nice green patina, weight 4.573 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, c. 11 B.C. - 12 A.D.; obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ POIMHTAΛKOY, diademed head of Rhoemetalces I right; reverse KAIΣAPOΣ ΣEBAΣTOY, bare head of Augustus right; $115.00 (€101.20)
 


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

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Amorium was founded in the Hellenistic period. Little is known of the early history of the city but it flourished under the Byzantine Empire until its decline after the Arab sack of 838. Its ruins are located near the village of Hisarköy, Turkey.
RP56849. Bronze AE 19, cf. RPC I 3233, SNG Cop 120, aF, weight 5.392 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Amorium mint, magistrate Alexandrou Kallippos; obverse CEBAΣTOC, bare head right, lituus before; reverse [AΛEΞAN∆POC AMOPIANΩN](?), eagle standing right on uncertain object, wings closed, caduceus transverse under left wing; $85.00 (€74.80)
 


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Although the title in the legend indicates three moneyers (III VIR) in this period their number was raised to four (Sisenna, Apronius, Gallus, Messalla).
RB65631. Copper quadrans, RIC I 459 cor, BMCRE I 260, Cohen 420, SRCV I 1700, VF, weight 3.007 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 5 B.C.; obverse SISENNA APRONIVS IIIVIR, garlanded altar with bowl-shaped top; reverse GALVS MESSALLA A A A F F, around large S C; rare; $85.00 (€74.80)
 


Cyprus, Time of Augustus, 27 B.C. - 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. Tiberius (born Nov. 13) was a Scorpio.
SH58097. Bronze AE 18, RPC I 3916; SNG Cop -, F, weight 2.666 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 0o, Cypriot mint, obverse capricorn, star above; reverse scorpion, star above; $80.00 (€70.40)
 




  



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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

Burnett, A., M. Amandry and 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).
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 Saturday, February 06, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Augustus