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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman CoinsView Options:  |  |  |   

Roman Coins

Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D.

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The reverse inscription abbreviates Senatus Populusque Romanus Ob Cives Servatos, meaning "[Awarded by] the senate and the Roman people for saving citizens." The wreath on the reverse is the corona civica, the oak wreath awarded to Roman citizens ex senatus consulto (by special decree of the Senate) for saving the life of another citizen by slaying an enemy in battle. It became a prerogative for Roman emperors to be awarded the Civic Crown, originating with Augustus, who was awarded it in 27 B.C. for saving the lives of citizens by ending the series of civil wars.
SH76407. Silver denarius, RIC I 41 (R2), RSC II 87, BMCRE I 45, BnF II 59, Hunter I 16, SRCV I 1848, aEF, nice portrait, some die wear, nice surfaces with some light marks and areas of mild porosity, weight 3.745 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 270o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 46 - 47 A.D.; obverse TI CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P VI IMP XI, laureate head right; reverse S P Q R / OB / C S in three lines within the Corona Civica, an oak wreath awarded "for saving the lives of citizens"; from the Jeff Michniak Collection, the first example of this type handled by Forum; very rare; $5500.00 (€4840.00)

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

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This is an extremely rare heroic bust variety of a scarce type. There is only one auction record on Coin Archives for this variety: NAC Auction 59 (4 Apr 2011), lot 968 (a beautiful near EF example). It sold for $48,717 including fees.
SH73454. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 203q+2 (same obv die), RIC II 535 (S, no belt), BMCRE III 838 var (no belt), BnF IV 565 var (no belt), VF, well centered, high relief bust, Tiber patina, porous, areas of corrosion, weight 25.631 g, maximum diameter 34.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 104 - 107 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate bust left, full chest exposed, with drapery on left shoulder, military belt (balteus) across chest; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Trajan in military dress on horseback right, thrusting spear at Dacian warrior trampled and falling under fore-hooves, S C in exergue; extremely rare variety; $5000.00 (€4400.00)

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

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References disagree on who is the empress beside Nero. Most simply say empress. Sear (SRCV I) and Giard (BnF II) say the empress is Livia. RSC II says Messalina, but this type is now dated to the time of Nero's marriage to Poppaea Sabina. Nobody says it is his mother Agrippina, because he had her murdered in 59 A.D. We think it is Poppaea.

According to Tacitus, Poppaea was ambitious and ruthless. He reports that Poppaea married Otho to get close to Nero and then, in turn, became Nero's favorite mistress, and then wife. She bore Nero one daughter, Claudia Augusta, born on 21 January 63, who died at only four months of age. At the birth of Claudia, Nero honored mother and child with the title of Augusta. According to Suetonius, while she was awaiting the birth of her second child in the summer of 65, she quarreled fiercely with Nero over his spending too much time at the races. In a fit of rage, Nero kicked her in the abdomen, causing her death.
RS72960. Silver denarius, post reform; RIC I 45 (R), BMCRE I 54, RSC II 43 (Messalina), BnF II 201 (Livia), Hunter I 24, SRCV I 1940 (Livia), EF, excellent portrait, fantastic reverse style, weight 3.402 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 - 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CAESAR AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse AVGVSTVS AVGVSTA, Nero, on left, standing slightly left, radiate and togate, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand; empress on right, standing left, veiled and draped, patera in right hand, double cornucopia in left hand; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Imperial Coins; rare; $3000.00 (€2640.00)

Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D.

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SH75694. Silver denarius, RIC I 19 (R2), RSC II 9, BMCRE I 6, BnF III 22, SRCV I 2158, aEF, toned, die break on obverse, flan flaw on reverse, weight 3.526 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 9 Mar - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right; reverse PONT MAX, Aequitas standing left, scales in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; ex New York Sale XXVIII (5 Jan 2012), lot 1063; rare; $2750.00 (€2420.00)

Athens, Attica, Greece, New Style Tetradrachm, c. 86 - 84 B.C., Issued by Sulla

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After 1 March 86 B.C., Sulla was the master of Athens. He recovered from the Pontic king Mithradates, who had taken it by force. This issue was struck for Sulla, either at Athens or outside Athens during the siege, to pay his legions and expenses during the war against Mithradates. The silver was collected from Greeks who supported the Romans against Mithradates and requisitioned from the sacred temple treasuries at Epidaurus, Olympia and Delphi. The ancients admired these Roman-Athenian coins and called them "flats of Lucullan." The MARKOY monogram may refer to Marcus the brother of the Roman general and politician Lucullus.
SH70948. Silver tetradrachm, cf. Thompson Athens 1293; Svoronos Athens pl. 78, 11; Dewing 1653; Boehringer AMUGS V, pp. 28-31 and pl. 9, 10; Kraay-Hirmer pl. 120, 366, gVF, attractive style, well struck, nicely toned, centered on a crowded slightly irregular shape flan, weight 16.581 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, c. 86 - 84 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena Parthenos right, triple-crested helmet decorated with a griffin right above the raised earpiece, and protomes of horses above visor; reverse owl standing right on amphora on its side right, head facing, MARKOY monogram left, TAMIOY monogram right, A on amphora, all within olive wreath; ex John Jencek; rare; $2500.00 (€2200.00)

Didia Clara, 28 March - 2 June 193 A.D., Daughter of Didius Julianus

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Didia Clara, the only child of Didius Julianus and Manlia Scantilla, was made Augusta the day her father became emperor. She survived her father's downfall, but was stripped of her title and the details of her life thereafter are unknown. Due to the short reign of her father, coins of Didia Clara are extremely rare.
SH72535. Silver denarius, RIC IV 10, RSC III 3, BMCRE V 14, VF, lightly toned, porous, weight 2.393 g, maximum diameter 18.35 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, first issue, 28 Mar - May(?) 93; obverse DIDIA CLARA AVG, draped bust right, hair in bun; reverse HILAR TEMPOR, Hilaritas standing left, long palm branch in right hand, cornucopia in left; ex CNG auction 337, lot 450; extremely rare (R4); $2400.00 (€2112.00)

Galba, 3 April 68 - 15 January 69 A.D.

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Other than an undescribed photograph in RSC II, this type is apparently unpublished. Although not in RIC, it is in Southerland's unpublished RIC I addenda.
SH72977. Silver denarius, RSC II p. 24 (photograph, but not described!, same rev. die), RIC I 94 var., BMCRE I 215 var., BnF I 50 var., Hunter -, S - (var. all SER GALBA IMP), VF, porous and pitted, edge scrape reverse top left, weight 3.389 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, Tarraco mint, c. 3 Apr - late 68 A.D.; obverse GALBA IMPER (arcing left to right above), Galba on horseback prancing left, bare-headed, wearing military garb, cloak flying behind, raising right hand in salute; reverse VIRTVS (arcing downward on right), helmeted and draped bust of Virtus (valor, courage) right, crested helmet; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $2400.00 (€2112.00)

Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

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The star on the obverse probably indicates the beginning of a new age. Caesar claimed descent from the goddess Venus. The small star at the base of Venus' scepter is symbolic of her divinity.
SH76401. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/5b, Sydenham 1071, RSC I 41, BMCRR I Rome 4165, Sear Imperators 106a, SRCV I 1412, aVF, nice portrait, light marks and scratches, die wear, small edge chip, weight 3.076 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, moneyer P Sevullius Macer, Jan - Feb 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR IMP, wreathed head of Caesar right, star with eight rays behind; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing left, Victory in her left hand, long scepter with a star at base behind in her left hand; from the Jeff Michniak Collection; $1900.00 (€1672.00)

Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D., Vitellius the Elder (His Father) Reverse

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Lucius Vitellius, depicted on the reverse of this coin, was father of the emperor Vitellius, a Roman senator, three times consul, and governor of Syria from 35 to 39 A.D. In 36 A.D. Lucius Vitellius fired Pontius Pilate, the infamous prefect of Judaea. A Samaritan, claiming to be Moses reincarnate, gathered an armed following. Pilate dispersed the crowd by killing some and taking many prisoners. After he executed the ringleaders, the Samaritans appealed to Vitellius, complaining that Pilate's response was excessive. Vitellius, agreed, sent Pilate back to Italy and appointed Marcellus. In support of Claudius and Agrippina, Vitellius invented arguments why the old rule that an uncle and his niece should not marry did not apply to the emperor. The new empress returned the favor. When Vitellius was accused of high treason by the senator Junius Lupus, she made sure that Claudius exiled the accuser. Vitellius died unexpectedly from a paralytic stroke and received a statue on the speaker's platform on the Roman Forum, with the inscription "Of unwavering loyalty to the emperor." His unwavering loyalty was later criticized by Tacitus:

"The man, I am aware, had a bad name at Rome, and many a foul story was told of him. But in the government of provinces he acted with the virtue of ancient times. He returned and then, through fear of Caligula and intimacy with Claudius, degenerated into a servility so base that he is regarded by an after-generation as the type of the most degrading adulation. The beginning of his career was forgotten in its end, and an old age of infamy effaced the virtues of youth." [Tacitus, Annals, 6.32; tr. A.J. Church and W.J. Brodribb]
SH72990. Silver denarius, RIC I 77 (R), RSC II Lucius Vitellius 3a, BMCRE I 26 var., BnF III 58 var., Hunter I 14 var., SRCV I 2237 var. (all var., ...IMP AVG TR P, Jul - Dec), gF, nice portraits, nice metal and surfaces, weight 3.076 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. late Apr - Jul 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, laureate head of Vitellius right; reverse L VITELLIVS COS III CENSOR, laureate and draped bust of Lucius Vitellius (the emperor's father) right, eagle-tipped scepter to right; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Ritter (2010); missing from the British Museum, Bibliothèque nationale de France, and the Hunter Coin Cabinet at Glasgow!; very rare; $1800.00 (€1584.00)

Pertinax, 31 December 192 - 28 March 193 A.D.

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Pertinax was the son of a humble charcoal-burner. After a successful career in the military, as a senator and then as praefect of the city of Rome, he reluctantly accepted the throne offered by the murderers of Commodus. After a reign of only 86 day he was murdered by mutinous guards.
SH72991. Silver denarius, RIC IV 13a, BMCRE V 25, RSC III 56, Hunter III 7, SRCV II 6048, EF, excellent portrait, toned, weight 3.180 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1 Jan - 28 Mar 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES P HELV PERTIN AVG, laureate head right; reverse VOT DECEN TR P COS II, Pertinax standing left, veiled, sacrificing over lit altar from a patera in right; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; very rare (R2); $1800.00 (€1584.00)


Catalog current as of Sunday, October 04, 2015.
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Roman Coins