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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive EmperorsView Options:  |  |  |   

Roman Coins of the Adoptive Emperors

Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

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Marcus Ulpius Traianus, a brilliant general and administrator, was adopted and proclaimed emperor by the aging Nerva in 98 A.D. Regarded as one of Rome's greatest emperors, Trajan was responsible for the annexation of Dacia, the invasion of Arabia and an extensive and lavish building program across the empire. Under Trajan, Rome reached its greatest extent. Shortly after the annexation of Mesopotamia and Armenia, Trajan was forced to withdraw from most of the new Arabian provinces. While returning to Rome to direct operations against the new threats, Trajan died at Selinus in Cilicia.
RB88224. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 240q (same dies), BnF IV 512 (same dies), BMCRE III 771, Banti 117, Strack 398, RIC II 478 var. (bust), Cohen 367 var. (same), VF, well centered, rough, weight 21.340 g, maximum diameter 34.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 106 - 107 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate heroic bust left, full chest exposed, drapery on left shoulder; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Ceres standing half left, head left, holding grain over modius in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, S C (senatus consulto) divided across field; extremely rare with this bust, struck with a superb obverse die!; $880.00 (774.40)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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Of this type, the Dictionary of Roman Coins says, "This is a finely designed coin in first brass [a sestertius]. The equestrian group is in a spirited style of workmanship, both horse and man. The Augustus raises aloft his right hand, and with his left holds the bridle of his generous steed, as setting out on him on some journey, about that vague period, his third consulate."
SH89464. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 645 (S), BMCRE III 1313, Hunter II 436, Cohen II 590 var. (bust), SRCV II 3594, Choice VF, mottled turquoise and brown patina, well centered, nice portrait, legends a little weak, edge crack, weight 24.967 g, maximum diameter 33.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 124 - 128 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate head right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS III, emperor on horseback prancing left, bare-headed, wearing military garb, cloak flying behind, raising right hand in salute, reins in left hand, S - C divided low across field, EXPED AVG in exergue; Numismatik Naumann auction 72 (2 Dec 2018), lot 458; scarce; $650.00 (572.00)


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In 116, Trajan completed his invasion of Parthia by capturing the cities of Seleucia, Babylon, Ctesiphon and Susa. This was the high-water mark of the Roman Empire's eastern expansion.
RX87338. Bronze drachm, BMC Alexandria p. 48, 402; Geissen 702; Emmett 611.19; Dattari 1072; Kampmann-Ganschow 27.662; SNG Milan -, Choice VF, well centered, attractive brown patina, a little flatly struck on highest points, weight 18.113 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 115 - 28 Aug 116 A.D.; obverse AVT TPAI-AN API CEB Γ-EPM ∆AKIK ΠAP, laureate bust right, aegis on far shoulder; reverse Zeus enthroned left, long scepter vertical in right hand, thunderbolt at side in left hand, eagle at feet standing left looking back, L I-Θ (year 19) across field; ex CNG, auction 78 (14 May 2008), lot 1508 ($650 plus fees); ex Empire Coins, auction 8 (7 Dec 1987), lot 429; $470.00 (413.60)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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In 146, Marcus Aurelius received the imperium proconsular and Faustina the Younger was given the title Augusta.
SH73156. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE IV 1669, RIC III 767a, Strack III 974, Cohen II 320, Hill UCR 709, SRCV II 4168, VF, nice green patina, nice portrait, light scratches, tight flan, weight 22.051 g, maximum diameter 31.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 146 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG - PIVS P P TR P, laureate head right; reverse Antoninus in slow quadriga left, eagle-tipped scepter in left, reins in right, COS IIII / S C in two lines in exergue; $380.00 (334.40)


Aelius, Caesar, July or August 136 - 1 January 138 A.D.

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In Roman religion, Concordia was the goddess of agreement, understanding, and marital harmony. The cult of Concordia Augusta ("Majestic Harmony") was of special importance to the imperial household. She is usually depicted wearing a long cloak and holding a patera (sacrificial bowl), a cornucopia (symbol of prosperity), or a caduceus (symbol of peace).
RS91544. Silver denarius, RIC II Hadrian 436 (S), BMCRE III Hadrian 983, Hunter II 7, RSC II 1, SRCV II -, VF, excellent centering, nice portrait, toned, scratches, small edge cracks, weight 3.075 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 210o, Rome mint, 137 A.D.; obverse L AELIVS CAESAR, bare head right; reverse TR POT COS II, Concordia enthroned left, patera in right hand, resting left elbow on cornucopia set a on a small column base, CONCORD in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, ex Pegasi Coins; scarce; $350.00 (308.00)


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 98 - 117 A.D.

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In the religions of the Orphics and the Platonists, Kore is described as the all-pervading goddess of nature who both produces and destroys everything, and she is therefore mentioned along with or identified as other such divinities including Isis, Rhea, Ge, Hestia, Pandora, Artemis, and Hecate. The Orphic Persephone is said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysus, Iacchus, Zagreus, and the little-attested Melinoe.
GB89729. Bronze AE 24, RPC Online III 1497 (13 spec.); BMC Mysia p. 40, 168; SNG BnF 520; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, VF, attractive style, broad flan, areas of mild corrosion, tiny edge crack, weight 5.904 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 195o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, time of Trajan, c. 98 - 117 A.D.; obverse bust of Kore Soteira (the savior maiden) right, wreathed with grain, all within a wreath of grain and poppies; reverse flaming torch, a stalk of grain and a stalk of poppy emerging from the top flanking each side of the flame, K-Y/Z-I in two divided lines across field; very rare; $250.00 (220.00)


Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius

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Click to see a video demonstration recreating Faustina's hairstyles.
SL89810. Silver denarius, RIC III AP506b, RSC II 155a, BMCRE IV AP1049, Strack III A491, SRCV II 4705, Hunter II -, NGC AU, strike 5/5, surface 4/5 (4163480-012), weight 2.99 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under Antoninus Pius, 148 - 152 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINAE AVG PII AVG FIL, draped bust right, single band (of pearls?) around head; reverse LAETITIAE PVBLICAE, Laetitia standing facing, head left, diadem in right, long scepter in left; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins; $250.00 (220.00)


Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D.

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The crematorium depicted is probably that of Antoninus Pius but it may be the one built by Marcus Aurelius. Both were located in Rome's Campus Martius.
RS89843. Silver denarius, RIC III 596b (S), RSC II 58, BMCRE IV 505, Szaivert MIR 18 187, SRCV II 5206, Choice VF, well centered, nice portrait, light toning, flow lines, edge crack, weight 3.240 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, posthumous, struck by Marcus Aurelius, 169 A.D.; obverse DIVVS VERVS, bare head right; reverse CONSECRATIO, pyramidal crematorium of four stories, bottom floor garlanded, door on the second floor, statue of emperor in facing quadriga on top; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 72 (2 Dec 2018), lot 520; scarce; $250.00 (220.00)


Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius

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Hilaritas, the personification of rejoicing, is usually depicted as a matron, standing with a cornucopia in her left hand and a long palm frond on the ground in her right. Green branches were a sign of gladness and for special occasions, both public and private, it was the custom in ancient times to ornament streets, temples, gates, houses, and even entire cities, with branches and leaves of trees. This tradition carries on today in the form of wreaths and Christmas trees.
RS89844. Silver denarius, RIC III MA686, RSC II 111, BMCRE IV MA100, Hunter II 6, SRCV II 5254, Choice EF, well centered, nice portrait, flow lines, struck with a worn reverse die, small edge cracks, weight 3.138 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under Marcus Aurelius, 161 - 175 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair waived and drawn back into a coil a the back of neck; reverse HILARITAS, Hilaritas standing slightly left, head left, long grounded palm frond in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $250.00 (220.00)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

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This is an extremely rare coin, missing from most references and collections. RSC II and BMCRE IV both reference only the one single specimen in the Reka-Devnia Hoard. There are no sales of the type in the last two decades recorded on Coin Archives, but we do know of several additional examples.
RS85053. Silver denarius, Reka-Devnia p. 91, pl. III, 40 (1 spec.!); RSC II 854b; Szaivert MIR 559-4/30; BMCRE IV p. 705, †; RIC III -; Cohen III -; Hunter -; SRCV II -, F, nice portrait, well centered obverse, reverse a little off center, light bumps and marks, edge cracks, weight 2.525 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, early 183 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse TR P VIII IMP V COS IIII P P, Roma seated left, helmeted and draped, Victory in right hand, spear vertical behind in left hand, shield on near side of seat; extremely rare; $200.00 (176.00)




  







Catalog current as of Friday, July 19, 2019.
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Adoptive Emperors