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Coins of the Roman Republic

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

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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 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 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

SH87326. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, VF, toned, light bumps and marks, slightly off center, weight 3.607 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 285o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a carnyx (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 Ibercoin (Madrid), online sale 22 (27 Jun 2018), lot 228; $1080.00 (€918.00)


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

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Representations of elephants occur frequently on Roman coins. Romans used elephants in war, in triumphs, in funerals, and in the amphitheater. For Romans, the elephant was a symbol for Africa, for eternity, and for honor. 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. Caesar's elephant is trampling a carnyx (a Celtic war trumpet) and the obverse symbolizes Caesar's victory over the Celtic tribes of Gaul. Elephants were sometimes used to pull the chariots of the Caesars, in their triumphs or consular processions. When he returned to Rome, Julius Caesar ascended the Capitol illuminated by forty elephants bearing torches.
SH87287. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, gVF, nice elephant, light toning, off center, uneven strike, bumps and marks, areas of slight porosity, small filled die spots on ladle and sprinkler, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.803 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 75o, 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); $800.00 (€680.00)


Roman Republic, Dictatorship of Julius Caesar, L Hostilius Saserna, 48 B.C.

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The events of 48 B.C. are among the best known of ancient history. Caesar defeated Pompey at Pharsalus and later was greeted at Alexandria with a gift of Pompey's head. The twenty-one-year-old Cleopatra VII had herself delivered to him rolled in a carpet and became his mistress. Caesar and Cleopatra defeated Ptolemy XIII, but during the battle the Library of Alexandria was burned.

This type refers to Caesar's taking of Massilia early in the war with Pompey. Artemis Ephesia was held in special reverence at Massilia, where they had a temple dedicated to her.
RR82689. Silver denarius, Crawford 448/3, Sydenham 953, RSC I Hostilia 4, Sear Imperators 19, BMCRR Rome 3996, SRCV I 419, gVF, attractive toning, light marks, die wear, reverse slightly off center, weight 3.993 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 90o, Rome mint, 48 B.C.; obverse bare head of Gallia right with long disheveled hair, carnyx (Gallic trumpet) behind; reverse cultus statue of Diana (Artemis) of Ephesus standing facing, laureate, long hair falling down her shoulders and long flowing robes, holding stag left by its antlers with her right hand, vertical spear in left hand, SASERNA curving upward on left, L ? HOSTILIVS downward on right; ex Gorny and Mosch auction 176 (10 Mar 2009), lot 1962; scarce; $450.00 (€382.50)


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

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In Feb 44 B.C. the senate named Julius Caesar dictator 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); BMCRR Rome 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.; obverse CAESAR·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; $2000.00 (€1700.00)


Roman Republic, C. Marcius Censorinus, 88 B.C.

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The obverse refers to the claimed descent of the gens Marcia from the ancient kings of Rome. The reverse alludes to the Ludi Apollinares, games founded with the encouragement of the seer Marcius. During these games desultors raced vaulting between two horses. This moneyer perished opposing Sulla.
RR82683. Silver denarius, BMCRR Rome 2374 (also snake control), Crawford 346/1d, Sydenham 713a, RSC I Marcia 18, SRCV I 256, Choice gVF, centered, toning, far horse struck a little flat, weight 4.018 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 90o, Rome mint, 88 B.C.; obverse jugate diademed heads right of Numa Pompilius, bearded, and Ancius Marcius, not bearded; reverse desultor racing two horses right, seated on the nearer horse, nude but for a conical cap, whip in right hand, reigns in left hand, snake (control symbol) below horses, C?CENSO in exergue; ex Pegasi Numismatics; $250.00 (€212.50)


Roman Republic, L. Cassius Longinus, 63 B.C.

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This coin honors the moneyer's ancestor, L. Cassius Longinus Ravill. The obverse alludes to his appointment as quaesitor in 113 B.C. for the retrial of three Vestal Virgins accused of unchastity. The reverse commemorates his successful proposal of the Lex Cassia Tabellaria in 137 B.C., changing the Republic's voting system to the secret ballot. To vote on a law, Roman ballots were marked V for uti rogas, meaning "as you ask," or the negative A for antiquo, meaning "maintain things as they are." For judicial votes, not guilty ballots were marked either A for absolvo or L for libero. Guilty ballots were marked either C for condemno or D for damno.

The obverse control letters come only from the moneyer's praenomen and nomen, L CASSI. A reversed S was used to indicate the second S in his name.
RR86173. Silver denarius, BMCRR I Rome 3929 (same A control letter), Crawford 413/1, Sydenham 935, RSC I Cassia 10, SRCV I 364, gVF, toned, bumps, banker's marks, reverse off center, weight 3.811 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 63 B.C.; obverse veiled bust of Vesta left, kylix behind, A (control symbol) before; reverse voter standing left, dropping tablet (ballot) inscribed V into a cista, LONGIN III•V• downward behind; from the Lucas Harsh Collection; $300.00 (€255.00)


Nemausus, Gaul, c. 40 B.C.

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Colonia Nemausus was founded as a colony by Tiberius Claudius Nero in 45 or 44 B.C. for veterans that had served Julius Caesar under his command in Gaul and the invasion of Egypt. He was the first husband of Livia and was persuaded or forced by Octavian to divorce her. At the wedding he gave her in marriage to Octavian "just as a father would."
RP85861. Bronze semis, RPC I 520, SNG Cop 692, SNG Munchen 431, CCCBM III 231, De la Tour 2735, aVF, green patina with highlighting earthen deposits, tight flan, slightly rough, edge split, weight 2.108 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 270o, Nemausus (Nimes, France) mint, c. 40 B.C.; obverse helmeted and draped bust right, S (mark of value) behind; reverse NEM COL (downward on right), Salus standing, patera in right over two snakes, left elbow on column behind; $65.00 (€55.25)


Roman Republic, Fragment of an Aes Formatum Large Domed Disc Ingot, 4th Century B.C.

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Called aes formatum by Haeberlin, this very rare bronze currency was a precursor to the issues of aes grave but later than aes rude. Presumably, molten bronze-iron alloy was poured into a shallow hole in the dirt. This left a disc-shaped metal mound with a flat reverse. Broken examples like this one are much more common than complete ones.
RR86151. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, cf. Haeberlin p. 4, pl. 2.7; fragment, weight 199.40 g, maximum diameter 66.1 mm, Italian mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse convex obverse; reverse flat reverse; rare; $200.00 (€170.00)


Roman Republic, c. 169 - 91 B.C., Unofficial Issue

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Crawford notes, "The very common quadrantes with M • and N• (as Milan 351) are clearly unofficial."
RR79715. Copper quadrans, cf. Milan 351 (from Crawford appendix p. 309 unofficial issues of bronze coins), Sydenham -, VF, centered on a tight flan, light marks,, weight 4.182 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 135o, unofficial mint, c. 169 - 91 B.C.; obverse head of Hercules right, wearing Nemean Lion scalp headdress, three pellets behind; reverse prow right, ROMA below, three pellets before, M• above; ex FORVM (2006), ex Goodman collection; $140.00 (€119.00)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG V

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This may have been the famous V Alaudae ('the larks'), a Caesarean legion which remained loyal to Antony but was later retained by Augustus. There are other possibilities, however: V Macedonica, a Caesarean legion about which little is known; V Urbana, disbanded after Actium (and therefore quite likely an Antonian legion); and V Gallica, a Caesarean legion that was probably the one that under Lollius lost its eagle to German raiders in Gaul in 17 B.C.
SH86627. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/18, Sydenham 1221, BMCRR II East 196, RSC I 32, Sear CRI 354, SRCV I 1479, Choice gVF, nice toning, some light marks and scratches, weight 3.622 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT AVG III. VIR. R. P. C., galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - V, legionary aquila between two standards; $580.00 (€493.00)










REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Crawford, M. Roman Republican Coinage. (Cambridge, 1974).
Grueber, H.A. Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum. (London, 1910).
Haeberlin, E. J. Aes Grave. Das Schwergeld Roms und Mittelitaliens. (Frankfurt, 1910).
Rutter, N.K. ed. Historia Numorum. Italy. (London, 2001).
Seaby, H.A., D. Sear, & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Volume I, The Republic to Augustus. (London, 1989).
Sear, D. R. The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators 49 - 27 BC. (London, 1998).
Sear, D. R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Stannard, C. The local coinages of Central Italy in the late Roman Republic: provisional catalogue, Oct 2007.
Sydenham, E. Aes Grave, a Study of the Cast Coinages of Rome and Central Italy. (London, 1926).
Sydenham, E. The Coinage of the Roman Republic. (London, 1952).
Thurlow, B. and I. Vecchi. Italian Cast Coinage. (Dorchester, 1979).

Catalog current as of Monday, July 16, 2018.
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Roman Republic