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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Adoptive Emperors| ▸ |Hadrian||View Options:  |  |  |   

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

Hadrian, one of the "Five Good Emperors," abandoned the expansionist policy of Trajan and established a policy of defense and consolidation during which Hadrian's Wall in Britain was constructed. He traveled to nearly every province of the Empire, more than any other emperor, often ordering grandiose building programs to improve infrastructure and the quality of life in those regions. An ardent admirer of Greece, he sought to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire and ordered the construction of many opulent temples in the city. He spent much of his time with the military; usually wore military attire and even dined and slept amongst the soldiers. He ordered military training and drilling to be more rigorous and made use of false reports of attack to keep the army alert. He suppressed the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judaea, renaming the province Syria Palaestina.Roman Empire 125 AD


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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)
 


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This type of reverse usually indicates the birth of a prince, and we would normally assume the boy and girl on the reverse represent children of the emperor. Hadrian and Sabina, however, had no children.
RB92353. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 970b, Hunter II 447, BMCRE III 1370, Cohen II 817 (Hilaritas half nude, probably in error), SRCV II 3602 var. (drapery), VF, dark green patina, full border centering on a broad flan, nice portrait, slight double strike on rev., minor edge flaw 3:00 on obverse, weight 28.452 g, maximum diameter 34.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 128 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS P P, laureate head right, long neck; reverse HILARITAS P R (Joy of the Roman People), Hilaritas standing half left, palm frond in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, at her feet on left a small nude boy standing right also holding the palm frond, at feet on right a dressed small girl standing left and reaching up to Hilaritas' drapery, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field, COS III in exergue; $400.00 (€352.00)
 


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Juno was the chief female divinity in the Roman pantheon. She was the wife of Jupiter and a member of the Capitoline Triad. She had many different aspects, such as Juno Regina, Juno Sospita, and Juno Lucina, but here she is depicted as Juno Moneta, holding the scales symbolic of equity and a cornucopia indicating plenty. This surname was given to Juno because she counseled the Romans to undertake only just wars in which case she promised that they would never be in want of money. The first mint in Rome was within the temple of Juno Moneta.
RS88834. Silver denarius, RIC II 256(d), RSC II 966, BMCRE III 680, Hunter II 223, Strack II 251, SRCV II 3507 var. (bare head, slight drapery), VF, excellent portrait, light toning, flow lines, light marks and scratches, small edge cracks, weight 3.277 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 134 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, laureate head right; reverse MONETA AVG, Moneta standing slightly left, head left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 72, part of lot 1045; $155.00 (€136.40)
 


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In 125, Hadrian distributed imperial lands to small farmers.
RS88838. Silver denarius, RIC II 345(c), RSC II 363, BMCRE III 497, Hunter II 170, Strack II 209, SRCV II -, Choice VF, excellent portrait, well centered, some light marks and scratches, edge cracks, weight 3.251 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 125 - 128 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS P P, laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS III, Victory seated left on stool, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 72, part of lot 1045; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Hadrian, 117 - 138 A.D., Perga, Pamphylia

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Artemis is depicted here in the same pose as The Diana of Versailles, a slightly over life-size Roman marble statue from the 1st or 2nd century A.D., copying a lost Greek bronze original attributed to Leochares, c. 325 B.C. The sculpture also has a stag at her side. The sculpture may have come from a sanctuary at Nemi or possibly from Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli. In 1556, it was given by Pope Paul IV to Henry II of France, a subtle allusion to the king's mistress, Diane de Poitiers. It is now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris.
RP86567. Bronze AE 21, SNG BnF 400, Waddington 3345, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Righetti -, gVF/aVF, nice green patina, attractive portrait, porous, areas of reverse slightly rough, weight 5.484 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Perga (15 km east of Antalya, Turkey) mint, 117 - 138 A.D.; obverse A∆PIANOC KAICAP, laureate draped cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse APTEMI∆OC ΠEPΓAIAC, Artemis standing right, bow in left hand, reaching with right hand for arrow in quiver on his shoulder, stag right on far side; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; rare; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


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

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A life-size, black basalt statue of the Apis Bull inscribed with a dedication of Hadrian was discovered in the underground vaults of the Serapeum. It is now in Room 6 of the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria. The Apis Bull statue appears on Alexandrian coins of Hadrian and other emperors. The custom of the Apis Bull had been reluctantly preserved by Augustus. He refused to "enter the presence of Apis . . . declaring that he was accustomed to worship gods, not cattle." Dio, 51.16:5. "In spite of this declaration, two stelai from the Bucheum at Hermonthis in Upper Egypt show Augustus" dressed as a Pharaoh sacrificing to bovine deities. Richard Ashton, The City of Roman and Byzantine Egypt, p. 198. Ptolemy III built the Serapeum, the largest and most magnificent of the temples of Alexandria, containing a giant statue by Briaxis. Almost 400 years later, Hadrian rebuilt the temple, which may have been among the temples of Alexandria damaged in 117 AD during the Kitos War by the Jewish forces under Lukuas. Eusebius of Caearea, "Historia Ecclesiastica, books iv & v, written in the 4th century AD." The Apis Bull depicted here may have been that bull, a replacement for an earlier similar statue.
RX86734. Bronze diobol, Geissen 1102, Dattari 2009, Milne 1436, SNG Cop 391, SNG Milan 1114, BMC Alexandria 811, Kampmann 32.610, Emmett 1114/18, F, well centered on a tight flan, some legend weak, scratches, edge cracks, weight 7.579 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 133 - 28 Aug 134 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC TPAIAN - A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate and draped bust right; reverse Apis bull standing right on ground line, altar to right, L IH (year 18) above; scarce; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


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The Romans believed that Fortuna, after deserting the Persians and Assyrians, took flight over Macedonia and saw Alexander perish as she passed into Egypt and into Syria. At last arriving on Mount Palatine, she threw aside her wings and casting away her wheel, entered Rome where she took up her abode forever.
RB88866. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 759(d), BMCRE III 1507, Hunter II 533, Cohen II 763, SRCV II 3599, aF, toned brass surfaces, some porosity, edge bump, weight 24.815 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 134 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, laureate head right; reverse FORTVNA AVG (good fortune of the Emperor), Fortuna standing slightly left, head left, holding rudder by tiller in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) across field; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


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

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A life-size, black basalt statue of the Apis Bull inscribed with a dedication of Hadrian was discovered in the underground vaults of the Serapeum. It is now in Room 6 of the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria. The Apis Bull statue appears on Alexandrian coins of Hadrian and other emperors. The custom of the Apis Bull had been reluctantly preserved by Augustus. He refused to "enter the presence of Apis . . . declaring that he was accustomed to worship gods, not cattle." Dio, 51.16:5. "In spite of this declaration, two stelai from the Bucheum at Hermonthis in Upper Egypt show Augustus" dressed as a Pharaoh sacrificing to bovine deities. Richard Ashton, The City of Roman and Byzantine Egypt, p. 198. Ptolemy III built the Serapeum, the largest and most magnificent of the temples of Alexandria, containing a giant statue by Briaxis. Almost 400 years later, Hadrian rebuilt the temple, which may have been among the temples of Alexandria damaged in 117 AD during the Kitos War by the Jewish forces under Lukuas. Eusebius of Caearea, "Historia Ecclesiastica, books iv & v, written in the 4th century AD." The Apis Bull depicted here may have been that bull, a replacement for an earlier similar statue.
RX92004. Bronze diobol, Geissen 1102; Dattari 2009; BMC Alexandria p. 95, 811; SNG Cop 391; SRCV II 3815; Kampmann 32.610; Emmett 1114.18; Milne -, F, brown tone, beveled obverse edge, tiny edge crack, scratches, minor encrustations, weight 8.653 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 133 - 134 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC TPAIAN A∆PIANOC, laureate and draped bust right; reverse Apis bull right, crescent on side, altar-candelabrum in front, L IH (year 18) above; ex FORVM (2010); $95.00 (€83.60)
 


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

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Laerte was on the coast of Cilicia, east of Syedra, and 25 km northwest of Coracesium (modern Alanya, Turkey). The identity of the ruins was confirmed when the name of the town was found on the foot of a statue of Vespasian. A Phoenician tablet found there indicates the town already existed in 625 B.C. Strabo describes Laertes as a fortress on the crest of a breast-shaped hill. Laertes fell under the control of pirates in Hellenistic times. They were expelled in 67 B.C. No Hellenistic buildings have survived; they were completely replaced in Roman and Byzantine times. The heyday of the town was in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. when it was densely populated and retired Roman soldiers would settle there. The town probably declined after the harbor silted up and may have been abandoned after attacks by Arab pirates.
RP88200. Bronze AE 19, SNG Levante 374 (same obv. die); RPC III Online 2751; SNG BnF 594; SNG Leypold 2499; BMC Cilicia p. 91, 4, F, green patina, patina chips, edge chip, light earthen deposits, weight 3.307 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Laertes (25 km NW of Alanya, Turkey) mint, 11 Aug 117 - 10 Jul 138 A.D.; obverse AY KAI TRA A∆PIANOC, laureate head right; reverse ΛAEPTEITWN, Tyche standing half left, head left, polos on head, grounded rudder in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; ex Alex G. Malloy; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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This scarce type is a mule, struck with a recycled older reverse die. This reverse die was first used with the obverse legend IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG, struck c. 119 - 128 A.D. The normal reverse had the legend COS III. RIC II lists it as scarce, but market evidence suggests it is rare.
RS89702. Silver denarius, RIC II 381b (S), RSC II 1121b, cf. Hunter II 166 (rev. leg.), BMCRE III 152 (obv. leg.), SRCV II 3520 (obv. leg. and bust), F, light toning, light marks, slightly off center, flow lines, die wear, small edge splits, weight 3.113 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 128 - 132 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS P P, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P COS III, Aequitas standing half left, head left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; ex Beast Coins, ex Paul Balla Collection; rare; $80.00 (€70.40)
 




  



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|OBVERSE |LEGENDS

AVGVSTVSHADRIANVS
AVGVSTVSHADRIANVSPP
DIVVSHADRIANVSAVG
HADRIANVSAVGCOSIIIPP
HADRIANVSAVGVST
HADRIANVSAVGVSTVS
HADRIANVSAVGVSTVSPP
IMPCAEDITRAIANFDIVNERNEPTRAHADRIANOAVG
IMPCAEDIRAPARFDIVINERNEPTRAHADRIANOAVG
IMPCAESARTRAIAHADRIANVSAVG
IMPCAESARTRAIANHADRIANVSAVG
IMPCAESARTRAIANVSHADRIANVSAVG
IMPCAESARTRAIANVSHADRIANVSAVGPMTRPCOSIII
IMPCAESHADRIANDIVINERTRAIANOPTFIL
IMPCAESTRAHADRIANOAVGPP
IMPCAESTRAIANHADRIANOAVGDIVITRA
IMPCAESTRAIANHADRIANOAVGDIVITRAPARTHF
IMPCAESTRAIANHADRIANOPTAVGGERDAC
IMPCAESTRAIANHADRIANOOPTAVGGERDAC


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Blum, G. "Numismatique D'Antinoos" in JIAN 16. (Athens, 1914). pp. 33 - 70.
Calicó, E.X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 2: Nerva to Antoninus Pius. (Paris, 1883).
Hill, P.V. The Dating and Arrangement of the Undated Coins of Rome, A.D. 98-148. (London, 1970).
Mattingly H. & E. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. II: Vespasian to Hadrian. (London, 1926).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 3: Nerva to Hadrian. (London, 1936).
McAlee, R. The Coins of Roman Antioch. (Lancaster, PA, 2007).
Robinson, A.S. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Seaby, H.A. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Strack, P.L. Untersuchungen zur römischen Reichsprägung des zweiten Jahrhunderts, Teil II: Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit des Hadrian. (Stuttgart, 1933).
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 Thursday, September 19, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Hadrian