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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Roman RepublicView Options:  |  |  |   

Coins of the Roman Republic

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

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"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar, but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH89754. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/7b, Sydenham 1062, Sear CRI 104a, RSC I Julius Caesar 24, Russo RBW 1682, BMCRR I Rome 4155, SRCV I 1410, aEF, toned, light marks, off center, irregular flan with edge splits , weight 3.780 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, struck by L. Aemilus Buca, Rome mint, lifetime issue, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse Venus seated left, Victory in extended right, long transverse scepter in left hand, L:BVCA downward behind; ex CNG e-auction 353 (17 Jun 2015), lot 409; rare; $1350.00 (1188.00)


Roman Republic, Julius Caesar, Posthumous, 42 B.C., Moneyer L. Livineius Regulus

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L. Livineius Regulus had served with Caesar in North Africa.
SH87936. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1425, Crawford 494/24, Sear CRI 115, Sydenham 1106, RSC I 27, BMCRR Rome 4274, F, iridescent rainbow toning, well centered, banker's mark, weight 3.462 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, 42 B.C.; obverse wreathed head of Julius Caesar right, laurel branch behind, winged caduceus before; reverse L LIVINEIVS / REGVLVS, bull charging right; rare; $610.00 (536.80)


Luceria, Apulia, Italy, c. 211 - 200 B.C.

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In 321 B.C., the Romans, deceived into thinking Lucera was under siege by the Samnites, walked into an ambush and were defeated. The town threw out the Samnites, sought Roman protection, and in 320 B.C. was granted the status of Colonia Togata, which meant it was ruled by the Roman Senate. To strengthen ties, 2,500 Romans moved to Lucera. Roman culture merged with the native one slowly, probably accompanied by cross-cultural marriages, but Lucera was a steadfast supporter of Rome. By the 2nd century B.C., the rustic town was transformed into a proper Roman city with houses, public buildings, paved roads, sidewalks and services for travelers, accommodation for livestock with running water, and warehouses for storing goods.
GB86125. Bronze uncia, SNG ANS 709; SNG Cop 663; SNG BnF 1368; SNG Mnchen 504; HN Italy 682; BMC Italy p. 141, 62; Hunterian -, VF, rough, weight 4.084 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, die axis 0o, Luceria mint, c. 211 - 200 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, bow and quiver at shoulder, pellet behind; reverse LOVC-ERI, toad seen from above; very rare; $540.00 (475.20)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., Struck by Octavian

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According to Livy, the caduceus, a symbol of peace, was sometimes carried by diplomats sent to negociate a treaty. Antony and Octavian allied to defeat Caesar's assassins, but after defeating Brutus and Cassius, each was determined to obtain absolute power. While Antony was in Egypt, his brother and his wife gathered an army to remove Octavian but they were defeated. Antony and Octavian met with their armies at Brundisium, but the legions, both Caesarian, refused to fight. The two men reached an agreement. This is when this coin was struck by Octavian's mint with Antony's portrait on the obverse. It appeared that peace was finally reigning in the Roman world, but it only was a short calm before another storm.
RR89740. Silver denarius, Crawford 529/3, Sydenham 1328, Sear CRI 303, BMCRR II Gaul 94, Russo RBW 1817, RSC I Mark Antony 5, F, uneven toning, light marks, weight 3.488 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 270o, travelling mint with Octavian mint, 39 B.C.; obverse ANTONIVS IMP, bare head right; reverse CAESAR - IMP (counterclockwise below), winged caduceus; rare; $500.00 (440.00)


Roman Republic, M. Marcius Mn. F., 134 B.C.

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M. Marcius Mn. F.was a moneyer in 134 B.C., a magistrate, responsible for the production of the Roman coinage. In 134 B.C., Scipio Aemilianus took command in Hispania to finish what lesser generals had failed to do. He recruited 20,000 soldiers and 40,000 allies, including Numidian cavalry under Jugurtha. He constructed a circumvallation around Numantia with seven towers from which his archers could shoot into the city and put chains across a river where it entered and exited. The city refused to surrender and starvation set in. Cannibalism and suicides of whole families ensued. The remnant population finally surrendered only after setting their city on fire. Late in the summer of 133 Scipio leveled the ruins.
RR89774. Silver denarius, Crawford 245/1, Sydenham 500, RSC I Marcia 8, BMCRR I Rome 1008, Russo RBW 1009, SRCV I 122, EF, much mint luster, reverse slightly off center, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.947 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 15o, Rome mint, 134 B.C.; obverse head of Roma right in winged helmet, modius behind, X (XVI ligature, mark of value=16 asses) below chin; reverse Victory in a biga right, whip in right, reins in left, M - MAR-C (MAR ligate) over RO-MA below, both divided by two heads of grain; $400.00 (352.00)


Roman Republic, Q. Pomponius Musa, 66 B.C.

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Many of the Roman moneyers had a solid sense of humor and word play with homonyms was very popular. Pomponius Musa, playing on his name, issued ten types each depicting Hercules Musagetes (Conductor of the Muses) or one of nine different Muses, creating one of the most interesting and sought after series of the Republican coinage. This coin depicts Melpomene, the muse of Tragedy.
RR89043. Silver denarius, RSC I Pomponia 14, Crawford 410/4, Sydenham 816, SRCV I 354, VF, attractive head of Apollo, light toning, light marks, off center, some encrustation, weight 3.453 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 66 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, scepter behind; reverse Melpomene, muse of tragedy, standing left, resting right hand on club, tragic mask in left, MVSA downward on left, Q POMPONI downward on right; ex Harlan J. Berk auction 156, lot 242; $380.00 (334.40)


Roman Republic, A. Plautius, c. 55 B.C.

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In 67 B.C., Aristobulus II rebelled against his older brother Hyrcanus II, the king of Judaea. Both brothers appealed to Pompey's deputy Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, who, bribed by a gift of 400 talents, decided in favor of Aristobulus. When Pompey arrived in Syria in 63 B.C., both brothers sent delegates to Damascus, but Pompey did not make an immediate decision. Aristobulus' followers refused to open the gates of Jerusalem and Romans forces besieged and captured the city. Pompey deemed Hyrcanus II, the elder, weaker brother a more reliable ally. Hyrcanus was restored as high priest, but not as king. Aristobulus was taken to Rome as a prisoner. In 57 B.C. Aristobulus escaped to Judaea and instigated another rebellion. A young cavalry commander, Marc Antony, led several men to scale Aristobulus' fortifications leading to his recapture. At the time this coin was struck in 55 B.C., Aristobulus was a prisoner in Rome. Julius Caesar released him in 49 B.C., hoping to turn Judaea against Pompey, but on his was to Judaea he was poisoned by a Pompey supporter. With help from the Parthians, Aristobulus' son Antigonus rebelled against Rome and became king in 40 B.C. He was defeated by Rome and killed in 37 B.C.

This special issue was struck by an Aedile Curule. Aediles supervised public works and staged games. Since this issue bears turreted Cybele, we may speculate it was to finance a building project.
RR91410. Silver denarius, RSC I Plautia 13, Sydenham 932, Crawford 431/1, BMCRR Rome 3916, Russo RBW 1540, SRCV I 395, VF, old collection toning, reverse a little off center, weight 3.803 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 90o, Rome mint, 55 B.C.; obverse AED CVR S C downwards on left, A PLAVTIVS downwards on right, turreted head of Cybele right, wearing cruciform earring, hair rolled and in knot at the back, locks falling down neck; reverse Bacchius Judaeus (Aristobulus II High Priest and King of Judaea) kneeling right, with left hand holding reins of camel standing right on his far side, raising olive branch in right hand, IVDAEVS upward on right, BACCHIVS in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $250.00 (220.00)


Roman Republic, L. Caecilius Metellus Diadematus, 128 B.C.

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In 128 B.C., the Greco-Bactrian kingdom was overrun by the Tocharians and renamed Tocharistan.
RR89756. Silver denarius, RSC I Caecilia 38, Crawford 262/1, Sydenham 496, BMCRR I Rome 1044, Russo RBW 1060, SRCV I 138, VF, broad flan, light toning, flow lines, some die wear, weight 3.926 g, maximum diameter 194 mm, die axis 270o, Rome mint, 128 B.C.; obverse head of Roma right in winged helmet, X (XVI ligature = 16 asses) behind, wearing single drop earring and pearl necklace; reverse Pax driving a galloping biga right, olive branch in right hand, reins and scepter in left hand, elephant head with bell at neck below, ROMA in exergue; $200.00 (176.00)


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; $180.00 (158.40)


Osco-Latin, Central Italy, Late 4th - Early 3rd Century B.C.

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GA90996. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, cf. G. Fallai, IAPN 8, pl. 6, 2-2e; Alvarez-Burgos P28; Thurlow-Vecchi -; molded from bipod shell, VF, weight 12.046 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, uncertain Osco-Latin mint, late 4th - early 3rd century B.C.; $180.00 (158.40)




  






REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes 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 Wednesday, July 17, 2019.
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Roman Republic