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Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.
"The coin that killed Caesar." This coin declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life." He did serve as Dictator for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this issue. For Caesar to put his image on coins and essentially declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. This coin (along with other similar types) is sometimes called "the coin that killed Caesar." Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure. SH87507. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/13, Sydenham 1074, Sear CRI 107d, RSC IJulius Caesar 39, BMCRR I Rome 4173, SRCV I 1414, Vagi 56, aEF, superb portrait, nice old cabinet toning, bumps, light scratches, off center, weight 3.743 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, moneyer P Sepullius Macer, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverseCAESAR DICT PERPETVO, veiled and wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing left, Victory in extended right, long scepter in left hand, shield at feet right; ex FORVM (2008), ex Tom Cederlind; $4200.00 (€3570.00)
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.
The name Ostia was derived from the Latin "ostium" - river mouth. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Construction of the port facilities began under Claudius and was likely completed just before this sestertius was struck in 64 A.D. Trajan and Hadrian expanded the facilities. The port was abandoned due to silting and now lies 3 km from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics.SH86120. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC I 178, BMCRE I 131, Cohen I 37, Mac Dowall WCN 120, BnF I -, VF, well centered, nice portrait, near black patina, scratches on obverse lower right field, some porosity and tiny pitting, weight 26.031 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverseNEROCLAVDCAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVGVSTI above, S - C divided by POR OST below, bird's-eye view Ostia harbor: pharos lighthouse with Neptune statue on top at far side center; crescent-shaped pier with building and figure sacrificing at far end, crescent-shaped row of breakwaters or slips on right with figure seated on rock at far end, 7 ships within port; river god Tiber reclining left holding rudder and dolphin below; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 195 (7 Mar 2011), lot 405; $4000.00 (€3400.00)
Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.
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. SH87508. Gold aureus, Woytek 224f, RIC II 150, BMCRE III 253, Cohen II 581, BnF IV 368, Hunter II 85, Calicó 1121, SRCV II -, aVF, well centered, excellent portrait with high relief, bumps, scratches, weight 6.886 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 103 - 111 A.D.; obverse IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR PCOS V P P, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverseS P Q ROPTIMO PRINCIPI ([Awarded by] the senate and the Roman people, [to the] best of princes) in three lines within oak wreath; scarce; $3700.00 (€3145.00)
Mark Antony and Octavia, 39 B.C., Ephesos, Ionia
The obverselegend abbreviates Consul Designatus, Iterum et Tertium, meaning Consul Elect for the second and third time. The reverselegend abbreviates Triumvir Reipublicae Constituendae, the title adopted in November of 43 B.C. by the three Caesarian leaders (Mark Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus) when they formed the Second Triumvirate to oppose the tyrannicides Brutus and Cassius.SH86609. Silver cistophorictetradrachm, RPC I 2202, Sydenham 1198, Crawford 263, RSC Octavia and M. Antony 3, Sear CRI 263, BMCRR East 135, SRCV I 1513, Choice gVF, toned, well centered, some die wear and rust, scratches, weight 11.723 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, summer - autumn 39 B.C.; obverse M ANTONIVS IMP COS DESIGITER ET TERT (Consul Elect for the 2nd and 3rd time), conjoined head of Antony and bust of Octavia right, Antony nearer and wreathed in ivy, Octavia draped; reverse Dionysus standing half left on cista mystica, in his right hand, thyrsus in his left hand, flanked by two interlaced snakes with heads erect, III VIR (triumvir) downward on left, R P C (Reipublicae Constituendae) upward on right; $3000.00 (€2550.00)
Sextus Pompey, Imperator and Prefect of the Fleet, Executed 35 B.C.
In Greek mythology, Scylla was a monster that lived on one side of Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily, opposite her counterpart Charybdis. The two sides of the strait were within an arrow's range of each other - so close that sailors attempting to avoid Charybdis would pass dangerously close to Scylla and vice versa. Scylla made her first appearance in Homer's Odyssey, where Odysseus and his crew encounter her and Charybdis on their travels. Later myth gave her an origin story as a beautiful nymph who gets turned into a monster. The idiom "between Scylla and Charybdis" has come to mean being forced to choose between two similarly dangerous situations. SH87414. Silver denarius, RSC IPompeia 3a (same ligatures), Crawford 511/4d, Sydenham 1348, BMCRRSicily 20, Sear CRI 335b, SRCV I 1393, gVF, beautifully toned, edge cracks, legends not fully struck, weight 3.566 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 225o, uncertain Sicilian mint, 40 - 39 B.C.; obverse MAG•PIVS•IMP•ITER, pharos (lighthouse) of Messana, topped with stature of Neptune standing right holding trident and rudder, his left foot on a galley ram; quinquereme (war galley) sailing left in foreground below adorned with aquila on prow and scepter at the stern; reverse PRAEF ORAE•MARIT•ET•CLAS• S•C• (AEs and MAR ligate), the sea monster Skylla, her upper body a nude human female torso, lower body of two fish tails and three dog foreparts, attacking to left with a rudder wielded as a club in both hands raised overhead; ex Nomos Obolos 10, lot 349; rare; $2100.00 (€1785.00)
Marcus Junius Brutus, Most Famous of Caesars Assassins, 44 - 42 B.C.; Gold Stater in 18K Gold Bezel with Diamonds
This type, traditionally attributed to an otherwise unknown Dacian or Sythian kingKoson, was struck by Brutus, c. 44 - 42 B.C., with gold supplied by the Senate to fund his legions in the Roman civil war against Mark Antony and Octavian. The obverse imitates a Roman denarius struck by Brutus in 54 B.C. depicting his ancestor L. Junius Brutus, the traditional founder of the Roman Republic. The reverse imitates a Roman denarius struck by Pomponius Rufus in 73 B.C. The meaning of the inscription "KOΣΩN" is uncertain. KOΣΩN may have been the name of a Dacian king who supplied mercenary forces to Brutus, or BR KOΣΩN may have been intended to mean "[of] the Consul Brutus." SH87509. Gold stater, BMCRR II p. 474, 48; RPC I 1701A (Thracian Kings); BMC Thrace p. 208, 1 (same); SNG Cop 123 (Scythian Dynasts), Choice EF, excellent centering and strike, 14.818g with bezel, 8 diamonds, 0.26 kt, weight c. 8.4 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, mobile military mint, 44 - 42 B.C.; obverse Roman consul L. Junius Brutus (traditional founder of the Republic) in center, accompanied by two lictors, KOΣΩN in exergue, BR (Brutus) monogram left; reverseeagle standing left on scepter, wings open, raising wreath in right talon; $2000.00 (€1700.00)
Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria
Gaius Licinius Mucianus (named on this coin) was governor of Syria. When he failed to put down the Jewish revolt, Vespasian was sent to replace him. After the death of Galba, Mucianus and Vespasian both swore allegiance to Otho. Mucianus persuaded Vespasian to take up arms against Vitellius, who had seized the throne. They agreed Vespasian would settle affairs in the East, while Mucianus made would attack Vitellius. On his way to Rome, Mucianus defeated a Dacian invasion of Moesia. Mucianus reached Rome the day after Vitellius' death. Mucianus never wavered in his allegiance to Vespasian and was appointed consul for the third time in 72. As no mention is made of Mucianus during the reigns of Titus or Domitian, he probably died during the reign of Vespasian.RP85562. Bronze AE 28, McAlee 319 (ex. rare, same dies), cf. RPC 4316 (not specifying obverselegend direction), aVF, nice portrait, dark patina with buff earthen highlighting, spots of light corrosion, obverselegend mostly weak or off flan, weight 11.757 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse [IMP M OT]-HO - [CAE AVG] (counterclockwise from upper left), head laureate right, dot in field behind; reverse EΠI / MOYKIA/NOY AN/TIOXEΩ/N ET ZIP (legate Mucianus, of Antioch, year 117) in five lines within a linear circle in a laurel wreath; this variant with a counterclockwise obverselegend is extremely rare; ex Gemini auction XIII (6 Apr 2017), lot 158, ex Jyrki Muona Collection; $1810.00 (€1538.50)
Roman Civil War, Vitellius, c. 69 A.D.
This coin is M71 in Butcher, K. & M. Pointing, The Metallurgy of Roman Silver Coinage: From the Reform of Nero to the Reform of Trajan (Cambridge, 2015). There is a tiny drill hole on the edge where silver was extracted for testing. This was an important coin in the study, with test results indicating 93.9% silver bullion and Gallic isotope ratios strongly suggesting similarity with other Vitellius coins from Gallia, not coins minted for Galba.RS86684. Silver denarius, Butcher-Pointing M71 (this coin), RIC I Civil Wars 121, BMCRE I 65, RSC IGalba 363, BnF I 75, Martin 7, EF, toned, tight flan, light corrosion, test drill hole on edge, weight 3.127 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Southern Gaul(?) mint, c. 69 A.D.; obverse clasped hands, FIDES above, EXERCITVVM below; reverse clasped hands, FIDES above, PRAETORIANORVM curving along the edge below; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Helios, auction 4 (Munich, 14 Oct 2009), lot 270; ex Coll. A. Lynn collection; ex Classical Numismatic Group, auction 54 (14 June 2000), lot 1484; ex P. DeVicci collection; rare; $1800.00 (€1530.00)
Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.
In Feb 44 B.C. the senate named Julius Caesardictator for life. Fearing that he wished to become king, on the 15th of Mar, 63 senators assassinated him with their knives. His assassination plunged the Roman Republic into 17 years of civil war, after which it would re-emerge as the Roman Empire.SH82705. Silver denarius, Alföldi Caesar, type III, 115 (this coin); BMCRRRome 4147 (also I); Crawford 480/3; RSC I 34; Sydenham 1056; Sear Imperators 100; RBW 1678 (H) , gVF, toned, banker’s mark on obverse, areas of flat strike, attractive deep old cabinet toning, with hints of iridescence around the devices, weight 3.607 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 30o, Rome mint, moneyer M. Mettius, Jan - Feb 44 B.C.; obverseCAESAR·IMP, wreathed head of Caesar right, cymbium (boat shaped cup used as a wine ladle) and lituus (augural wand) behind; reverse M METTIVS, Venus standing left, Victory in her extended right hand, long transverse scepter in left hand, resting left elbow on shield which rests on globe, I (control letter) in lower left field; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 23 (9 Jan 2016), lot 376; ex Andrew McCabe Collection; ex CNG e-auction 237 (21 July 2010), lot 344; ex Professor L Fontana Collection; rare; $1800.00 (€1530.00)
Agrippina Senior, died 33 A.D., Wife of Germanicus, Mother of Caligula and Agrippa Jr.
Wife of Germanicus, mother of Caligula and Agrippina Jr., mother-in-law and sister-in-law of Claudius, and grandmother of Nero. Agrippina Senior was born in 14 B.C., daughter of Julia and Agrippa. She accompanied her husband Germanicus on all his military campaigns. She was banished by Tiberius in 29 A.D. and died of starvation four years later. SH87192. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC IClaudius 102, BMCRE IClaudius p. 194, 219; BnF IIClaudius 236; Cohen I 3; von KaenelType 78, SRCV I 1906, Choice VF, excellent portrait, well centered, nice green patina on obverse, reverse with darker patina, corrosion and smoothing, weight 27.525 g, maximum diameter 34.3 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, issued by Claudius, 42 A.D.; obverseAGRIPPINA M F GERMANICI CAESARIS, draped bust right, hair waived and tied in queue in back, a corkscrew curl on neck; reverse TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERMP M TR P IMP P P, legend around large S C; $1800.00 (€1530.00)
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