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Coins of the 12 Caesars


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In April 2015 I bought my first ancient coin, a denarius of Otho. I had been reading sites such as Forum as well as several books before deciding to buy my first coin. I remember reading Suetonius and thought it would be interesting to assemble a set of the 12 Caesars. I decided I wanted to do this with silver coins. From my reading I realized that there were a few coins that would be tough, namely Gaius, Claudius and Otho. The Otho turned out to be surprisingly easy. I bought it from the first coin show I ever attended.

My goal was to get all 12 coins in at least vf or better condition. As one can tell from my gallery I have not quite accomplished this yet. My other goal was to collect coin with interesting reverses. I think one will see a number of interesting reverses in my gallery. though I do have all 12 in silver the project is never actually finished. I keep adding interesting coins and I have no desire to stop doing this.

My quest for the 12 Caesars started because I loved the historical period. Studying the period has led me to enjoy my coins even more. Every time I add a coin I try to think about its historical context. Collecting and studying the coins has led me to a deeper understanding of the time period.

I hope you enjoy my gallery.

79 files, last one added on May 13, 2019

My other Roman Coins


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Collecting the coins of the 12 Caesars has led me to investigate some other fascinating historical figures of Rome. In this gallery one will find coins of the Republic, Imperial coins, and coins of the provinces. There are a number of pedigreed coins in this collection. In particular I have several coins from the E.E. Clain-Stefanelli collection, several from the Dattari collection, and one from the Stoecklin collection. I like the idea of having a link back to those who owned the coins before I purchased them.

If there is a theme to this section of my collection I would name it "Interesting historical figures". For me, names like Marcus Antonius, Sulla, Brutus, and Cato the Younger cause me to become even more interested in history. Holding one of these coins in one's hand one gets the feeling of actually interacting with times long past. Who used these these coins in the past? What did they buy? What did they think of the person on the coin?

18 files, last one added on Jan 12, 2019

Medieval Coins


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In this section I have added coins of historical figures from medieval times. It is interesting to compare the relative quality of these coins when compared to the Roman coins many centuries earlier. Though medieval coins have their charms, they cannot in my opinion compete with the artistry of their Roman counterparts. This does not, however, make them any less interesting. These often crudely struck coins tell their own stories.

I have collected the coins of interesting rulers such as Stephen (whose coins are quite crude indeed), Henry II (whose Tealby pennies are also crudely struck) and other figures such as the famous Henry V and Elizabeth I. My favorite of all of my medieval coins is a small denier struck in Aquitaine. Eleanor of Aquitaine is one of my favorite historical figures. I had to wait about 2 years to add a coin of hers. Her coins are not rare, but they rarely come up on the market for sale. When they do there tends to be quite a lot of competition for them. I also have coins of her Father Guillaume X, her son Richard and her husband Henry II. I am, however, always on the lookout for other family members to add.

28 files, last one added on Jan 13, 2019

Greek Coins


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1 files, last one added on Jan 09, 2018

4 albums on 1 page(s)

Last additions - orfew's Gallery
Galba_ric_62.jpg
Galba AR Denarius29 viewsGalba, 68-69 Denarius Tarraco (?) April to late 68, AR
19mm., 3.33g.
Obv: SER GALBA IMP CAESAR AVG PM TR P; Laureate head r.
Rev. SPQR / OB / C-S within oak wreath.
C 288. RIC 62.(R2)
From the M.J. Collection.
Ex: Naville Numismatics Live auction 49 Lot 439 May 12, 2019.
3 commentsorfewMay 13, 2019
vespasian_ric_1475.jpg
Vespasian 'O' mint denarius2 views
Vespasian (69 - 79 A.D.) silver denarius.
Unknown ‘o’ mint Ephesus?, (‘O’ beneath bust in obverse.
76 A.D.
19mm., 3,00g
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right.
Rev: FIDES PVBL, hands clasped over caduceus. two poppies and two corn-ears.
Ric 1475
Catawiki auction May 7, 2019 Sold by Lucernae
1 commentsorfewMay 10, 2019
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Titus AR Denarius5 viewsTitus AR Denarius 79 after July 1
18 mm 3.16 g
Obv: Head laureate l; IMP TITUS CAES VESPASIAN AVG PM
Rev: Venus stg r leaning on column, with helmet and spear; TR P VIII IMP XIIII COS VII PP
RIC 35 (R) BMC--
Purchase from Silbury Coins April 23, 2019
Submitted to wildwinds
1 commentsorfewMay 10, 2019
Domitian_RIC_1085_[Vespasian].png
Domitian AR Denarius36 viewsDomitian as Caesar Denarius 79 to 24 June
18mm., 3,15g.
Obv:Head laureate l; CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI
Rev: Salus stg r resting on column feeding snake out of patera; PRINCEPS IVVENTUTIS
RIC 1085 [Vespasian] BMC page 47 note. RSC 385.
Ex: Savoca Blue 19th auction April 21, 2019 Lot 1138
4 commentsorfewApr 21, 2019
Domitian_RIC_788_[Vespasian].png
Domitian AR Denarius26 views
Domitian as Caesar Denarius 75 CE
18mm., 3,21g.
Obv: Head leaureate r; CAES AVG F DOMIT COS III
Rev: Spes stg l with flower; PRINCEPS IVVENTVT
RIC 788 [Vespasian] BMC 156
Ex: Savoca Blue 19th auction April 21, 2019 Lot 1143
1 commentsorfewApr 21, 2019
Titus_RIC_784_Vesp.jpg
Titus as Caesar AR Denarius28 viewsTitus as Caesar 75 CE
20 mm 3.30 g
Obv: Head laureate r; T CAESAR IMP VESPASIAN
Rev: Securitas seated l; head resting on raised arm; PONTIF TR P COS IIII
Ric 784 (R2) [Vespasian] BMC--, RSC--
Purchased from Zurqieh on vcoins; April 18, 2019
2 commentsorfewApr 19, 2019
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Titus AR Denarius44 views
TITUS Auguste (79-81), AR denier, 80, Rome.
D/ IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG PM· T. l. à d.
R/ TR P IX IMP XV- COS VIII PP Siège carré dr., avec un dossier triangulaire, décoré de cinq palmettes.
BMC 233, 61; RIC 124. 3,23g. Beau à Très Beau/Beau (Fine - Very Fine/Fine)
Purchased from Jean Elsen April 18, 2019

4 commentsorfewApr 18, 2019
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Domitian AR Denarius29 viewsDomitian as Caesar AR Denarius 73 CE
(3.04 gm). Rome
Obv: Leaureate head r: CAES AVG F DOMITIAN COS II
Rev: Domitian on horseback, rearing left, right hand raised adlocutio, scepter in left.
RIC 539 [Vesp]
2 commentsorfewApr 11, 2019
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Domitian AR Denarius72 viewsDOMITIAN, (A.D. 81-96), silver denarius, Rome mint, issued A.D. 86, Second Issue
(3.47 g),
Obv. laureate head of Domitian to right, around IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P V,
Rev. around IMP XII COS XII CENS P P P, Minerva standing to right, fighting, holding javelin and shield,
(RIC 435, RSC 201b BMC 93).
Attractive blue and gold patina, extremely fine.
Ex Dr V.J.A. Flynn Collection. With old dealer's ticket.
Noble Numismatics Auction 120 Lot 3217 April 4, 2019.
10 commentsorfewApr 04, 2019
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Vespasian AR Denarius 54 viewsVespasian. AR denarius. Rome. AD 73. 3.15 gr. – 18.9 mm.
Obv: IMP CAES VESP AVG CENS, laureate head right.
Rev: PONTIF MAXIM, Winged Nemesis standing right, holding caduceus over serpent and drawing out the neck of her robe.
RIC 544; BMCRE 97; RSC 385; Sear 2304. VF\\XF
Purchased from Ars Coin Wien, March 26, 2019
5 commentsorfewMar 27, 2019
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Domitian AR Denarius4 viewsDomitan AR Denarius
86 CE (Fifth Issue)
3.29 g
Obv:Leaureate head r; IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM PM TR P VI
Rev: Minerva Stg. L with spear; IMP XIIII COS XII CENS P PP
RIC 460
Ex: Aegean Numismatics March 25, 2019
orfewMar 26, 2019
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Domitian AR Denarius45 viewsDomitian AR Denarius
83 CE (Second Issue) March – 13 September
20.0 mm 3.04 g
Obv:IMP CAES DOMITIANUS AVG PM; head leaureate r
Rev:TR POT II COS VIIII DES X P P, Minerva stg l with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her side.
RIC 167; BMC 43
Ex: Artemide Aste E-Live Auction 7 March 24, 2019 Lot 216
4 commentsorfewMar 24, 2019
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Domitian AR Denarius12 viewsDomitian AR Denarius Rome mint
82 CE (First Issue)
18.5 mm, 3.09 g
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laureate head right
Rev: TR P COS VIII P P, winged thunderbolt on draped table
RIC 101; RSC 597; BMC 26.
2 commentsorfewMar 18, 2019
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Domitian AR Denarius34 viewsDomitian AR Denarius
(20.5 mm 3.22 g)
Obv: Laureate head r, IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM PM TR P IIII
Rev: Minerva stg r on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r owl
IMP VIIII COS XI CENS POT P P
RIC 333; BMC 78(cross symbol), Cohen 180
Purchased from Phillipe Saive Numimatique March 15, 2019
4 commentsorfewMar 15, 2019
Domitian_RIC_94.jpg
Domitian AR Denarius15 viewsDomitian AR Denarius
Rome Mint 82 CE (First Issue)
Obv: Laureate head right, IMP CAES DOMITIANUS AVG PM
Rev: Altar garlanded and lighted, TR POT COS VIII P P
RIC 94 (R) BMC 32, RSC 598
1 commentsorfewMar 09, 2019
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Domitian AR Denarius54 viewsDomitian AR Denarius. Rome 88 CE Group 2
Obv: Head laureate r; IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERMANIC COS XIII
Rev: Minerva Minerva stg l with thunderbolt and spear; CENS P.P.P.
RIC-568 (R2) BMC 139 RSC 27
Jesus Vico Mail bid auction # 153 Lot 3133 March 7, 2019
6 commentsorfewMar 08, 2019

Random files - orfew's Gallery
Domitian_RIC_145.jpg
Domitian AR Denarius48 viewsDomitian. Denarius. Rome 82-83 CE .
Obv: head laureate r; IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PM
Rev: Salvs std l with corn ears and poppy; SALVS AVGVST.
RIC-145.
Jesus Vico Mail bid auction # 153 Lot 3135 March 7, 2019
3 commentsorfew
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Vespasian AR Denarius37 viewsVespasianus, 69-79. Denarius Minted 69/70, Tarraco (Tarragona).
3.41 g.
Obv: Bust Laureate right, IMP CAESAR VESPASIANUS AVG
Rev; Pax Seated with branch and Caduceus., COS ITER TR POT
RIC II/1, 1312 (R3)
Dr. Busso Peus Nachf. E-Auctions 6 Lot 259. January 13, 2018.


On first glance this coin looks like a typical Pax seated reverse. This type of reverse is perhaps the most common of reverses for denarii of Vespasian. However, one needs to look more carefully at the portrait side. This portrait of Vespasian seems quite different than portraits on the Rome mint Pax seated denarius. It is true that on this issue, there ca be very dramatic difference in portrait styles for the Rome mint, but this one is so distinctive that RIC II Part one tentatively ascribes this issue to a Spanish mint like Tarraco. It is important to note that this attribution is tentative. The authors of RIC II were not sure that this coin was minted in Tarraco.

Checking other examples of coins minted in Tarraco, there is a similar look to this coin. The authors of RIC II have designated this coin as RIC 1312 rather than the much more common RIC 29. They have also described its rarity as R3. R3 means that only one example was known at the time of publication. However, I have found at least 3 other examples in collections I am aware of. One expert has commented on my coin that it appears to be an obverse die match to the RIC plate coin. This would seem to strengthen the attribution of this coin to RIC 1312.

3 commentsorfew
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Galba AR denarius50 viewsGALBA, A.D. 68-69. AR Denarius (3.38 gms), Rome Mint, ca. A.D. July 68-January 69.
Obv: "IMP SER GALBA CAESAR AVG PM" Laureate bust of Galba facing right;
Rev:: Virtus standing facing, holding parazonium upwards and leaning on vertical spear.
NGC Ch F, Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5.
RIC-236
Provenance: From the Graywood Collection.



This denarius is quite rare. One aspect that makes it rare is the addition of "PM" in the obverse legend. Their are other examples similar coins without the "PM" that are somewhat more available than this one.

I was attracted to 2 aspects of this denarius. First was the portrait. Portraits of Galba vary widely across his denarii, but this one is quite unusual. It does not look like the portraits on most of his denarii. The other aspect that attracted me to this coin was the use of Virtus on the reverse. According to one expert, Virtus is female, so the figure on the reverse is the nude emperor Galba himself taking on the attributes of Virtus. Apparently, nude representations of the emperor are unusual on imperial coins.

5 commentsorfew
Unpublished_Galba_virtus.jpg
Galba AR Denarius40 viewsGalba, AD 68-69. Denarius, Spain (Tarraco ?), 68. AR 3.25 g.
Obv: GALBA - IMPERTOR Laureate head r., globe at point of bust.
Rev. VIRTVS Virtus, wearing short tunica, standing l., holding parazonium with her l. hand, on her outstretched r. hand Victoria with palm branch and wreath.
RIC 48a (R3) Supplementum Galbianum, Quaderni Ticinesi XII Numismatica E Antichita Classiche 1984. Cf. BMC 341, 194v.; BN III, 36, 34v.; C. 210; RIC 30var. (all with IMP on obv.).
Very rare variant. Toned. Small chips on flan. Almost very fine
Provenance: Auction UBS, Zurich 49 (2000), 365.
Ex: “The Galba Collection”
Hess Divo Auction 333, Lot 100 November 30, 2017
Hess Divo Auction 334 Lot 107 May 29, 2018

Here is another rare denarius of Galba. For a while I thought it was an unpublished variant. It did not appear in RIC 1  (1984).I have to thank Dr. Jryki Muona for supplying the correct reference for me. It appeared in a paper by Sutherland in 1984 entitled Supplementum Galbianum. In this paper several previously unpublished coins of Galba including mine were added. My coin type was given the reference number RIC 48a. Other information including corrections and further information is given in the paper. This coin does not occur in the major museum collections. There is one in the Oxford collection and this is the coin used in the paper cited above. There is one other that was auctioned in 2004 by Gorny & Mosch. I have been unable to find any further examples.

For me the most notable quality of this coin is not the rarity (it is R3: 6-10 examples known in the collections examines for RIC), it is the amazing portrait. I have 4 coins of Galba and not one of the portraits is close to any of the others. There is a remarkable variation in portraits on Galba's denarii, especially considering the short reign of the emperor.

Where was this coin minted? It has the globe at the terminus of the bust. This would seem to indicate Taracco in Spain. However, after some research I have discovered that other mints may have used the globe terminus. In other words, if there is no globe it was not minted in Taracco, if it has the globe it may be Taracco. 

The reverse with Virtvs holding victory does appear on other coins of Galba. However, on the vast majority of these the legend "Vitvus" is on the left and not the right. I have seen 2 other types with "Virtvs" on the right. However, on one the bust has no globe terminus so it is not a Tarraco mint coin. On the other, the obverse legend is different and the coin is probably a product of the Carthage mint in Africa because of the distinctive portrait.

I am very happy to have acquired this coin. It is unusual, interesting, and has a great portrait as well as an interesting reverse.

2 commentsorfew