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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Severan Period ▸ CaracallaView Options:  |  |  |   

Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, better known as Caracalla, was the son of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna, born in 188 A.D. He was named Caesar in 196 and Augustus in 198. Shortly before his death, Severus advised his sons, "Agree with each other, give money to the soldiers and scorn all other men." But the brothers hated each other and soon Caracalla had Geta murdered and massacred thousands suspected of supporting him. Although a capable military commander, the actual running of the government was left to his mother. He gradually slipped more and more into paranoia and delusions of grandeur before being murdered on his way to an Eastern campaign aimed at fulfilling his belief that he was the reincarnation of Alexander the Great.


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Cerberus, a multi-headed (usually three-headed) hound, guards the gates of Hades to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping. Capturing Cerberus alive was the twelfth and final labor King Eurystheus assigned to Hercules. In the underworld, Hercules met Hades and asked his permission to bring Cerberus to the surface. Hades agreed to if Hercules could overpower the beast without using weapons. Hercules was able to overpower Cerberus, sling the beast over his back, and drag it out of Hades through a cavern entrance in the Peloponnese. Eurystheus was so frightened by the beast that, in return for releasing him from his labors, he asked Hercules to return it to the underworld.
RS79607. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 261a (S); RSC III 299; BMCRE V p. 455, 125; SRCV II 6838; Hunter III -, Choice EF, mint luster, well centered on a broad flan, excellent portrait, unusual reverse type, weight 2.825 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 215 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVIII COS IIII P P, Pluto seated left on high backed throne, kalathos on head, extending right hand toward Cerberus at his feet on left, long scepter in left hand; rare; $350.00 SALE PRICE $315.00


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Venus in her aspect as the divine ancestress of the Roman people was known as Venus Genetrix. According to legend, and as recorded in Virgil's Aeneid, Aeneis was the son of Venus who fled Troy after its destruction and founded the city of Rome. Julius Caesar, being of the Gens Julia, claimed direct descent from Venus Genetrix and Aeneas. Julius Caesar built a Temple of Venus Genetrix in his new forum. Most depictions of Venus Genetrix on Roman coinage are of the statue in the Forum, and do not directly refer to pregnancy or fertility.
RS79617. Silver denarius, RIC IV C388c, RSC III 212, Hunter III 13, BMCRE V C25, SRCV II 7106, Choice EF, fantastic portrait, mint luster, tiny green spots of encrustation, weight 3.246 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, reign of Caracalla, 216 A.D.; obverse IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, draped bust right; reverse VENVS GENETRIX (Mother Venus), Venus enthroned left, extending right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; $250.00 SALE PRICE $225.00


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This type indicates Severus granted a special favor to Carthage. The water may indicate that he improved the water supply, possibly construction of an aqueduct.
RS79924. Silver denarius, RIC IV 130a; RSC III 97; BMCRE V p. 208, 280; Hunter III 38; SRCV II 6806, Choice VF, nice youth portrait, excellent centering, edge cracks, weight 3.228 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 201 - 206 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse INDVLGENTIA AVGG IN CARTH, Dea Caelestis riding lion right over water gushing from rock, thunderbolt in right hand, scepter in left hand; $250.00 SALE PRICE $225.00


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Caesarea Maritima, Samaria

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Caesarea, about 30 miles north of Joppa and about 70 miles northwest of Jerusalem, was founded by Herod the Great and named for Caesar Augustus. It was the seat of the Roman procurators and the Roman military headquarters in Judaea. The Pilate Stone, discovered here in 1961, is only archaeological find that names Pontius Pilate, by whose order Jesus was crucified. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Caesarea was the provincial capital of the Judaea Province. Well into Byzantine times, Caesarea remained the capital. In the 630s, Arab Muslim armies took the region, but kept Caesarea as its administrative center until early 8th century. Caesarea's ruins are a national park on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, about halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa.
JD77431. Bronze AE 22, Sofaer Collection 54, Kadman 68 var. (legends), SNG ANS 794 var. (same), Rosenberger -, BMC Palestine -, SNG Cop -, aVF, very high relief, superb as-found dark green patina, weight 10.965 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 0o, Caesarea Maritima mint, 28 Jan 198 - 8 Apr 217 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE M AVR ANTONINVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse COL PR FL AVG F C CAESAREA, bust of Serapis right, kalathos on head; from the J. Berlin Caesarea Collection; extremely rare; $240.00 SALE PRICE $216.00 ON RESERVE


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Augusta Traiana, Thrace

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Augusta Traiana (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria today) was founded by Trajan, c. 106 A.D. During 2nd - 3rd century A.D., it was the second largest city in Roman Thrace, after Philippopolis, and was fortified by strong walls. The city struck bronze coins from time of Marcus Aurelius to Gallienus.
SH68297. Bronze AE 28, Varbanov 1095 (R4)=SchŲnert-Geiss Augusta Traiana 300, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, Nice F, weight 15.539 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, Augusta Traiana (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AYT K M AYP CEYH ANTΩONINOC, laureate and cuirassed bust right, from b; reverse AYΓOYCTHC TPAIANHC, city-gate flanked by two crenellated towers, a third crenellated tower in the center behind the gate; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00


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In 215, Caracalla introduced the double denarius, or antoninianus. The weight of the new denomination was less than that of two denarii. The orichalcum and copper coinage disappeared gradually, and by the middle of the third century, with Rome's economy in crisis, the antoninianus was the only official currency.
RS79781. Silver denarius, RIC IV 258c (S), RSC III 279b, BMCRE VI 114, SRCV II 6836, Choice VF, small edge cracks, weight 3.297 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 215 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVIII COS IIII P P, Jupiter standing right, nude but for cloak over left shoulder, thunderbolt in right hand, long scepter in left hand; scarce; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00


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Libertas (Latin for Liberty) was the Roman goddess and embodiment of liberty. The pileus liberatis was a soft felt cap worn by liberated slaves of Troy and Asia Minor. In late Republican Rome, the pileus was symbolically given to slaves upon manumission, granting them not only their personal liberty, but also freedom as citizens with the right to vote (if male). Following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., Brutus and his co-conspirators used the pileus to signify the end of Caesar's dictatorship and a return to a Republican system of government. The pileus was adopted as a popular symbol of freedom during the French Revolution and was also depicted on some early U.S. coins.
RS77584. Silver denarius, RIC IV 161, RSC III 143, BMCRE V 511, SRCV III 6817, Hunter III -, gVF, mint luster, excellent portrait, well centered, struck with a worn reverse die, many small edge cracks, weight 3.682 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 208 - 210 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right, long curly sideburn; reverse LIBERTAS AVG, Libertas standing left, pileus in right hand, long rod vertical in left hand; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


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Most references describe the two figures on the right as captives, but on some examples the outer right figure is also clearly a river god and the inner right figure is clearly a female wearing a kalathos. We believe this interesting reverse commemorates the wars in northern Britain. The two outer figures probably being the rivers Tyne and Eden, while the third, central female figure is probably Britannia.
RS74408. Silver denarius, RIC IV 96 (S); RSC III 441; BMCRE V p. 267, 555; SRCV II 6865, VF/F, superb portrait, well centered, interesting reverse type, reverse die wear, weight 3.223 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, older youth's laureate head right; reverse PONTIF TR P X COS II, Caracalla in military dress, standing half-left, head turned right, spear in right hand, parazonium in left, at feet seated female (Tyche-Britannia?) and two reclining river-gods (Tyne and Eden?) each holding a palm frond or reeds and leaning upon overturned urn from which water flows; very scarce; $145.00 SALE PRICE $131.00


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Most references describe the two figures on the right as captives, but on some examples the outer right figure is also clearly a river god and the inner right figure is clearly a female wearing a kalathos. We believe this interesting reverse commemorates the wars in northern Britain. The two outer figures probably being the rivers Tyne and Eden, while the third, central female figure is probably Britannia.
RS77028. Silver denarius, RIC IV 96 (S); RSC III 441; BMCRE V p. 267, 555; SRCV II 6865, VF, nice portrait, well centered, some light marks, reverse die wear, small edge crack, weight 3.138 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, older youth's laureate head right; reverse PONTIF TR P X COS II, Caracalla in military dress, standing half-left, head turned right, spear in right hand, parazonium in left, at feet seated female (Tyche-Britannia?) and two reclining river-gods (Tyne and Eden?) each holding a palm frond or reeds and leaning upon overturned urn from which water flows; very scarce; $145.00 SALE PRICE $131.00


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The motto ĎSalus Generis Humani,í meaning safety of the human race and the health of humanity, is engraved on a pin presented to graduates at Columbia University who have successfully completed the masterís degree in nursing.
RS73529. Silver denarius, RIC IV 350, SRCV II 6883, BMCRE V 701, RSC III 558a, VF, tight flan cuts off part of the reverse legend, weight 2.914 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 200 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SAL GEN HVM (Salus Generis Humani), Salus standing left, extending right hand to kneeling woman, long vertical snake-wreathed scepter in left; $135.00 SALE PRICE $122.00




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

ANTONINVSAVGVSTV
ANTONINVSAVGVSTVS
ANTONINVSPIVSAVG
ANTONINVSPIVSAVGBRIT
ANTONINVSPIVSAVGGERM
ANTONINVSPIVSFELAVG (ALSO USED BY ELAGABALUS)
DIVOANTONINOMAGNO
IMPCAEMAVRANTAVGPTRP
IMPCAESMAVRELANTONINVSAVG
IMPANTONINETGETACAESAVGFIL
IMPCMAVRANTONAVGPTRP
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSAVG
IMPCMAVRANTONAVGPTRP
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSAVG
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSPONTAVG
IMPMAVRANTONINVSPIVSAVGPMTRPXIII
MAVRANTCAESPONTIF
MAVRANTONCAESPONTIF
MAVRANTONINVSCAES
MAVRELANTONINVSPIVSAVG
MAVRELANTONINVSPIVSAVGBRIT
MAVRELANTONINVSPIVSAVGGERM


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Caliců, E.X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. II: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayůn, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. III: De Marco Aurelio a Caracalla (Del 161 d.C. al 217 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappťes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 4: Septimius Severus to Maximinus Thrax. (Paris, 1884).
Mattingly, H.B., E.A. Sydenham & C.H.V. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol IV, From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 5: Pertinax to Elagabalus. (London, 1950).
Mouchmov, N.A. Le Tresor Numismatique De Reka-Devnia (Marcianopolis). (Sofia, 1934).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III. Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H.A. & Sear, D.R. Roman Silver Coins, Volume III, Pertinax to Balbinus and Pupienus. (London, 1982).
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).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Thursday, July 28, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Caracalla