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Ancient Roman Coins

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

|Julius| |Caesar|, |Julius| |Caesar,| |Imperator| |and| |Dictator,| |October| |49| |-| |15| |March| |44| |B.C.||denarius|
Minted after his invasion of Italy and crossing of the Rubicon on 10 January 49 B.C. until his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus, this was the first coin type issued in Caesar's name. The elephant was the symbol of the Caesar family. According to legend, an ancestor received the name Caesar after single-handedly killing an elephant, probably in North Africa during the First Punic War, and "Caesai" was the name for elephant in the local Punic language. The obverse was long described as an elephant trampling a snake, symbolizing good triumphing over evil. For the Romans, however, the snake was a symbol of healing, not evil. The image to the right (click it to see a larger photo) is ornamentation on the side of the Gundestrup cauldron (c. 150 - 1 B.C.) depicting three Celtic warriors sounding their carnyx war trumpets. Clearly, Caesar's elephant is trampling a carnyx and the obverse symbolizes Caesar's victory over the Celtic tribes of Gaul. The reverse refers to Caesar's office of Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, a title now held by the Pope.Persian Empire
SH111467. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, EF, toned, broad flan, tiny edge test cut, weight 3.712 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a carnyx (a Celtic war trumpet) ornamented to look like a dragon, CAESAR below; reverse implements of the pontificate: culullus (cup) or simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), securis (sacrificial ax), and apex (priest's hat); ex Harlan J. Berk auction 199 (29 Sep 2016), lot 148; ex Jesus Vico auction 112 (Nov 2006), lot 194; $3100.00 (3131.00)


Roman Bronze, Figure of Perseus Holding Head of Medusa, c. 1st - 3rd Century A.D.

|Metal| |Antiquities|, |Roman| |Bronze,| |Figure| |of| |Perseus| |Holding| |Head| |of| |Medusa,| |c.| |1st| |-| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.|
King Polydektes commanded Perseus to fetch the head of Medusa. With the help of the gods, Perseus obtained the helmet of Hades, which made him invisible, a reflective shield, and a magical harpa sword. Stealing the single eye of the Graeae, he compelled them to reveal the location of the Gorgones. Perseus approached Medusa as she slept and beheaded her with eyes averted to avoid her petrifying visage. Invisibility protected him from her vengeful sisters. On his journey back to Greece, Perseus came across the Ethiopian princess Andromeda chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea-monster. He slew the beast and brought her with him back to Greece as his bride. He returned to King Polydektes and turned him to stone, before traveling on to his grandfather's kingdom to claim the throne.

Bronzes of Herakles are abundant in the many museum collections reviewed by Forum, but Perseus is missing from most. We did not find any figures similar to this one in the many references checked.
AB23901. Roman Bronze, Figure of Perseus Holding Head of Medusa; BnF Bronzes -, Morgan Bronzes -, ROM Metalware -, BMC Bronzes -, Louvre Bronzes -, Choice, green patina, intact except for missing blade and mounting peg on left foot, reverse bronze standing figure of Perseus, 13cm (5") tall, nude but for the Phrygian helmet of Hades on his head, holding Medusa's head by the hair in his right hand, his harpa (blade missing) in his left hand, stand provided; ex Griffin Gallery of Ancient Art (Boca Raton FL); rare; $2800.00 (2828.00)


Roman Republic, Anonymous, c. 280 B.C.

|before| |211| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Anonymous,| |c.| |280| |B.C.||triens|
The triens (plural trientes) was an Ancient Roman bronze coin produced during the Roman Republic valued at one-third of an as.
SH110921. Aes grave (cast) triens, Crawford 14/3 var. (pellets below dolphin); Thurlow-Vecchi 3a var. (same); Haeberlin pl. 39, 15 var. (same); HN Italy 270 var. (same); Sydenham 10, VF, dark green patina, earthen deposits, a few flan flaws, weight 83.342 g, maximum diameter 50.5 mm, die axis 270o, Rome mint, heavy series, c. 280 B.C.; obverse fulmen (thunderbolt), four pellets (mark of value) divided across field; reverse dolphin swimming right, four pellets (mark of value) above; ex CNG auction 90 (23 May 2012), lot 1278; ex L.C. Aes Grave Collection; this coin is the only specimen on Coin Archives and the only specimen known to FORVM with the pellets above the dolphin; extremely rare variant; $2500.00 (2525.00)


Roman, Bronze Krater Handle Ornamented with Lions, c. 1st - 3rd Century A.D.

|Metal| |Antiquities|, |Roman,| |Bronze| |Krater| |Handle| |Ornamented| |with| |Lions,| |c.| |1st| |-| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.|
Click here to see the line drawing of Catalogue des bronzes antiques de la Bibliothque National no. 1446, a nearly identical handle in the Bibliothque nationale de France published in 1895.
AM23903. Roman bronze krater handle; cf. BnF Bronzes 1446, Superb, about as made with the addition of an an attractive green patina, c. 1st - 3rd Century A.D.; 12 cm (4 7/8") tall, on the upper part, which would have been attached atop the rim of the vessel: a lion's head faces inward, its back arching above, between two lions lying in opposite directions, on the lower part: acanthus and scrolls between two snakes with heads upward, ex Griffin Gallery of Ancient Art (Boca Raton FL); $2200.00 (2222.00)


Arcadius, 19 January 383 - 1 May 408 A.D.

|Arcadius|, |Arcadius,| |19| |January| |383| |-| |1| |May| |408| |A.D.||solidus|
In 402, Germanic settlers laid siege to Milan. Honorius transferred the capital of the Western Empire from Milan to Ravenna. General Stilicho recalled troops from the frontiers of the Empire to defend Italy. On April 6 he defeated the Visigoths at the Battle of Pollentia. The Visigoths left Italy for Illyricum after Stilicho defeated them at the Battle of Verona in June 403.
SH110673. Gold solidus, RIC IX p. 84, 35(b) & RIC X Honorius p. 318, 1205(a); DOCLR 265; Depeyrot p. 171, 16/1; Hunter V p. 467, 8; SRCV V 20724, Choice EF, well centered and struck, flow lines, light scratches/bumps, weight 4.456 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 180o, Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) mint, 395 - 402 A.D.; obverse D N ARCADIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AVGGG (victory of the three emperors), Arcadius standing right, wearing military garb, standard in right hand, Victory on globe offering wreath in left hand, left foot treading on thigh of bound bearded captive seated on the ground left with legs crossed, M left, D right, COMOB in exergue; $2200.00 (2222.00)


Honorius, 23 January 393 - 15 August 423 A.D.

|Honorius|, |Honorius,| |23| |January| |393| |-| |15| |August| |423| |A.D.||solidus|NEW
In 418, the Romans collected all the treasures which were in Britain, and hid some of them in the earth so that no one afterward could find them, and took some with them into Gaul.
SH111608. Gold solidus, RIC X Honorius 1321 (S); Depeyrot p. 188, 7/1; DOCLR 736; SRCV V 20920; Cohen VIII 44, Choice EF, well centered and struck, flow lines, weight 4.419 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, Ravenna mint, May 408 - 422 A.D.; obverse D N HONORIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed large bust right; reverse VICTORIA AVGGG (victory of the three emperors), Honorius standing half right in a relaxed pose, treading with his left foot on captive with bent knees, standard in his right hand, Victory on globe offering wreath in his left hand, R-V across fields, COMOB in exergue; $2100.00 (2121.00)


Judaea, Valerius Gratus, Roman Prefect Under Tiberius, 15 - 26 A.D., Cohors II Italica Civium Romanorum Countermark

|Valerius| |Gratus|, |Judaea,| |Valerius| |Gratus,| |Roman| |Prefect| |Under| |Tiberius,| |15| |-| |26| |A.D.,| |Cohors| |II| |Italica| |Civium| |Romanorum| |Countermark||prutah|NEW
Now there was a certain man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort...(Acts 10:1).

Spijkermann was the first to publish a countermarked prutah, also a Valerius Gratus coin, in 1963. Lnnqvist published the first detailed study, "New Vistas on the Countermarked Coins of the Roman Prefects of Judaea" in INJ 12. Kogon published an update, "Countermarks on Small Judean Coins" in INR 7, identifying 47 known specimens of countermarked prutah of all types. Both papers are available online. Lnnqvist interpreted CΠ in the countermark as an abbreviation for the Greek word σπειρα, referring to a Roman legionary tactical unit, a cohors. The use of CΠ referring to a cohors is also known from an inscription. He suggested that the countermarks were applied in 36 - 37 A.D. in Jerusalem to mark the coins as pay for the soldiers of the cohors II Italica civium Romanorum.
JD111613. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6369a (same c/m); RPC I 4966.8-11 (same); Meshorer TJC 330 (same); countermark: Kogon 3b, Howgego GIC 386, coin: Fair, countermark: VF, weight 2.195 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 24 - 25 A.D., c/m: 36 - 37/41 A.D.; obverse TIB / KAI/CAP (Greek: Tiberius Caesar) in three lines within wreath tied at base with an X; reverse palm branch curving right, flanked by IOY-ΛIA (Greek: Julia = Tiberius' mother Livia) above L - IA (year 11 of Tiberius) in two lines across field; countermark: palm frond flanked by C-Π within 8mm circular punch; from the collection of a Texas clergyman, ex J. P. Fontanille Collection (2016); rare countermark; $1600.00 (1616.00)


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Judaea Capta

|Vespasian|, |Vespasian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.,| |Judaea| |Capta||sestertius|NEW
References describe the figure on the reverse as Vespasian, but on this coin he appears young - perhaps it is Titus? On 14 April 70 A.D. Titus surrounded Jerusalem. He allowed pilgrims to enter to celebrate Passover but this was a trap to put pressure on supplies of food and water; he refused to allow them to leave. On 10 May he began his assault on the walls. The third wall fell on 25 May. The second wall fell on 30 May. On 20 July Titus stormed the Temple Mount. On 4 August 70 A.D. Titus destroyed the Temple. The Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av mourns the Fall of Jerusalem annually on this date. This type celebrates the victory of Vespasian and Titus. Coins commemorating this event are referred to as "Judaea Capta" issues.
RB111383. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE II 812 (same dies), Hendin 6574 (R), RIC II-1 1181 (R), BnF III 814, Lyon 63, Hunter I -, SRCV I -, gF, near centered, brown patina with brassy areas, porosity, weight 25.456 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 225o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 72 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS IIII, laureate bust right, globe at point of bust; reverse IVDAEA CAPTA, date palm tree; Vespasian (or Titus?) on left standing right with left foot on helmet, wearing military dress, vertical spear in right hand, parazonium in left hand, Jewess on right, seated right, propping head with left hand in attitude of mourning; S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; ex Noonans Mayfair auction, 13 Oct 2022, lot 402; rare; $1400.00 (1414.00)


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

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Claudius,| |25| |January| |41| |-| |13| |October| |54| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Egypt||drachm|NEW
RPC I quotes Walkers surface analysis of Claudius billon at 21 - 26% silver, a significant drop from the 30% silver for those of Tiberius.

The ancients did not all agree on the attributes of Serapis. A passage in Tacitus affirms that many recognized in this god, Aesculapius, imputing healing to his intervention; some thought him identical with Osiris, the oldest deity of the Egyptians; others regarded him as Jupiter, possessing universal power; but by most he was believed to be the same as Pluto, the "gloomy" Dis Pater of the infernal regions. The general impression of the ancients seems to have been that by Serapis, was to be understood the beginning and foundation of things. Julian II consulted the oracle of Apollo for the purpose of learning whether Pluto and Serapis were different gods; and he received for an answer that Jupiter-Serapis and Pluto were one and the same divinity.
SH110653. Billon drachm, RPC I 5136 (4 spec.); BMC Alexandria p. , 78; Kampmann 12.25; Emmett 76/3 (R4); Geissen -; Dattari -; SNG Hunterian -, F, dark patina, earthen deposits, scratches, porosity, weight 3.330 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 42 - 43 A.D.; obverse TI KΛ KA CE AY, laureate head right, L Γ (year 3) right; reverse draped bust of Serapis right, kalathos on head; the best of this type known to FORVM; very rare; $1250.00 (1262.50)


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

|Nero|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.||sestertius|NEW
A decursio was a military exercise, by which Roman soldiers were taught to make long marches in a given time, under arms and without quitting their ranks. They sometimes consisted of a mock fight between two divisions. Augustus and subsequently Hadrian ordered that the infantry and cavalry were to march out three times a month ten miles from the camp and ten miles back, fully armed and equipped. Decursio on this coin probably refers Nero's participation in mock military maneuvers in the circus.
SL111603. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 168 (S); BMCRE I p. 226, 142; BnF II -; Hunter I -; SRCV I -, ANACS VF30 (7432075, says Lugdunum mint in error), dark spots are where the plastic holder is in contact with the coin, weight 27.15 g, maximum diameter 35.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 66 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate head left; reverse DECVRSIO, Nero and a soldier on horseback prancing right, Nero bear headed, wearing cuirass and short tunic, and holds spear in right hand, soldier, on far side and slightly behind, holds vexillum in right over shoulder, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking high across field; ex Classical Coins, ANACS| Verify; $1200.00 (1212.00)




  







Catalog current as of Thursday, March 23, 2023.
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