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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; $3500.00 (€3115.00)
 


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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)

SH84731. Silver denarius, RIC I 167a, BMCRE I 451, RSC I 137, BnF I 1373, Hunter I 197, SRCV I 1610, Choice Mint State, lustrous, nice portrait, fantastic bull, slight obverse die wear, small closed die crack, weight 3.770 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 225o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverse AVGVSTVS DIVI•F, bare head right, border of dots; reverse bull butting right, left foreleg raised, lashing tail, IMP•X in exergue, linear border; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $3000.00 (€2670.00) ON RESERVE


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"The Julian Star" appeared in the sky during the funeral games for Julius Caesar in July 44 B.C. It was a comet and the Romans believed it was a divine manifestation of the apotheosis of Julius Caesar.
SH84740. Silver denarius, RIC I 37a (S), BMCRE I 323, RSC I 98, BnF I 1293, Hunter I 139, SRCV I 1607 var. (head left), Choice near Mint State, mint luster, well centered, excellent portrait, slightest die wear, some legend a little weak, weight 3.723 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, probably Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza, Spain) mint, 19 - 18 B.C.; obverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS, head of Augustus left, wearing oak wreath (corona civitas); reverse comet of eight rays, a central dot and flaming tail upwards, DIVVS - IVLIVS horizontal divided flanking across the field at center; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; scarce; $3000.00 (€2670.00)
 


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The reverse legend refers to sacrifices Augustus made to Jupiter prior to his departure for Gaul in 16 B.C. The reverse legend abbreviates, "Vota Publica Suscepta Pro Salute et Reditu Iovi Optimo Maximo Sacrata," which means, "public sacrifices have been made to holy Jupiter, the best and greatest, for the well-being and the [safe] return [of the Emperor]."
SH84730. Silver denarius, RIC I 150b (R4), RSC I 326, BMCRE I 438, BnF I 1242, Hunter I 187 var. (obv. head right), SRCV I 1641 var. (same), Nice EF, light toning with luster in recesses, nice portrait, reverse slightly off center, some obverse die wear, weight 3.922 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 180o, Colonia Patricia (Cordoba, Spain) mint, c. Jul 17 - 16 B.C.; obverse S P Q R CAESARI AVGVSTO, bare head left, linear border; reverse VOT P SVSC PRO SAL ET RED I O M SACR, Mars standing left, helmeted, nude but for cloak on shoulders and left arm, vexillum vertical before him in right hand, parazonium sloped over left shoulder in left hand, linear border; this is the first ever example of this rare type handled by Forum, from the Marcelo Leal Collection; very rare; $2500.00 (€2225.00) ON RESERVE


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This type commemorates the naval victory at Actium in which Octavian won a decisive victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra on 2 September 31 B.C. Augustus paid special honors to Apollo Actius, whose temple at Actium commanded a view of the bay where the combat took place. After his victory, he enlarged both this sanctuary and the town of Actium. Across the straight from Actium, on the site of his campsite prior to the naval engagement, Octavian founded the city of Nicopolis. At Nicopolis, to honor his victory, he erected a war memorial and established games known as Actia or Ludi Actiaci. The Actiaca Aera was established as new local era with dates computed from the time of the battle.
SH84728. Silver denarius, BnF I 1401, RIC I 171a, RSC I 144, BMCRE I 461, Hunter I 201, SRCV I 1611, Choice Mint State, fantastic mint luster, attractive portrait, excellent centering, some die wear, reverse slightly double struck, weight 3.878 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverse AVGVSTVS DIVI F, bare head right; reverse Apollo standing slightly left, head left, plectrum in right hand pointed at feet, Cithara in left hand, IMP - X divided low across field, ACT in exergue; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $2000.00 (€1780.00)
 


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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.
SH84737. Silver denarius, RIC I 2b (S), RSC I 401, BMCRE I 279, BMCRR Spain 112, BnF I 1033, Hunter I -, SRCV I -, Choice gVF, well centered on a very broad flan, light toning with luster in recesses, weight 3.867 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 135o, Emerita Augusta (Merida, Spain) mint, P. Carisius, c. 25 - 23 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR AVGVSTVS, bare head left, linear border; reverse P CARISIVS LEG PRO PR (P. Carisius Legatus [Augusti] pro Praetore), round shield with central boss within eight pointed star ornamentation with studs, spearhead with short shaft right above, machaira (curved short sword) right below, linear border; this is the first ever example of this rare type handled by Forum, from the Marcelo Leal Collection; rare; $2000.00 (€1780.00) ON RESERVE


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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 (€1602.00) 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 (€1424.00) ON RESERVE


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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)

SH84739. Silver denarius, RIC I 167a, BMCRE I 451, RSC I 137, BnF I 1373, Hunter I 197, SRCV I 1610, gEF, lustrous, nice portrait, fantastic bull, well centered, slight die wear, very light marks, weight 3.975 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 225o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverse AVGVSTVS DIVI•F, bare head right, border of dots; reverse bull butting right, left foreleg raised, lashing tail, IMP•X in exergue, linear border; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $1500.00 (€1335.00) ON RESERVE


Click for a larger photo
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 (€1246.00)
 




  



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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 Friday, March 24, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Augustus