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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Roman Rarities||View Options:  |  |  |   

Rare Roman Coins
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 SALE PRICE $2250.00


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

|Vespasian|, |Vespasian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.,| |Judaea| |Capta||sestertius|
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 SALE PRICE $1260.00


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|
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 SALE PRICE $1125.00


Nerva, 18 September 96 - 25 January 98 A.D.

|Nerva|, |Nerva,| |18| |September| |96| |-| |25| |January| |98| |A.D.||sestertius|
The fiscus Iudaicus was an annual tax imposed on Jews after the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple. The amount was two denarii, equivalent to the one-half of a shekel Jews had previously paid to the Temple of Jerusalem. The tax applied to Jews throughout the empire and, while the tax paid for the Temple of Jerusalem was payable only by adult men between the ages of 20 and 50, the fiscus Iudaicus was imposed on all Jews, including women, children, the elderly, and even Jewish slaves. To add to the humiliation, the tax went to the pagan Temple of Capitoline Jupiter in Rome. Domitian strictly enforced the tax on those who attempted to concealed their identity to avoid the tax. Suetonius relates that an old man of 90 was stripped to see whether he was circumcised and therefore Jewish. This coin commemorates the fisci Iudaici calumnia sublata (abolition of malicious prosecution in connection with the Jewish tax) reforms eliminating the harsh policies of Domitian, but not the tax. It is not known when the tax was formally abolished. Some historians credit the emperor Julian with its abolition in about 361 or 362.
SL111602. Orichalcum sestertius, Hendin 6634b (R), RIC II 82 (S), BMCRE III 105, BnF III 97, Hunter I 45, Cohen II 57, NGC Ch F, 4/5, 1/5 (6155649-001), weight 23.27 g, maximum diameter 34 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jan - Sep 97 A.D.; obverse IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P COS III P P, laureate head right; reverse FISCI IVDAICI CALVMNIA SVBLATA, date palm tree (symbol of Judaea), S - C (senatus consulto) across field; ex CNG e-auction 487 (10 Mar 2021), 530; ex Gorny auction 267 (17 Oct 2019), 3624; ex Shlomo Moussaieff Collection (London, acquired between 1948 and 1980s); NGC| Lookup; rare; $650.00 SALE PRICE $585.00


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

|Antioch|, |Otho,| |15| |January| |69| |-| |17| |April| |69| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria||as|
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.
RP111018. Bronze as, McAlee 319 (ex. rare, same dies), RPC I 4316 (not specifying leg. direction), Wadd 7260 var. (clockwise legend), SNG Hunt 2854 var. (same), VF, nice portrait, bare metal, scratches, marks, porosity, obv. off center, obv. edge beveled, weight 15.411 g, maximum diameter 29.8 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 ETZIP (legate Mucianus, of Antioch, year 117) in five lines within a linear circle in a laurel wreath with eight bunches of leaves, dotted outer border; this variant with a counterclockwise obverse legend is extremely rare; $600.00 SALE PRICE $540.00


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Irenopolis-Neronias, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.,| |Irenopolis-Neronias,| |Cilicia||7| |assaria|
Wandering the world in a panther-drawn chariot, Dionysos rode ahead of the maenads and satyrs, who sang loudly and danced, flushed with wine. They were profusely garlanded with ivy and held the thyrsus, a staff topped with a pine cone, a symbol of the immortality of his believers. Everywhere he went he taught men how to cultivate vines and the mysteries of his cult. Whoever stood in his way and refused to revere him was punished with madness.
RP96990. Bronze 7 assaria, Karbach Eirenopolis - (cf. 146-7 same obv. die, diff. rev. type); Leu web auction 12 (2020), 870 (same dies); SNG Levante -; SNG Paris -; SNG PFPS -, aVF/F, green patina with earthen deposits, weight 12.523 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 225o, Irenopolis (Dzici, Turkey) mint, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse ΠOY ΛIK Γ/Θ>ΑΛIHNOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; uncertain round countermark; reverse IPHNOΠOΛE (or similar), Dionysos drinking with his entourage, standing facing, kantharos (wine cup) in his right hand, pedum (shepherd's crook) in his left hand, Pan on right supporting him, Satyr on left standing with outstretched right hand, panther seated left at feet on left, Z (mark of value) right; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 13 (15 Aug 2020), lot 921; the second known; $575.00 SALE PRICE $518.00


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D., Caesarea, Cappadocia

|Cappadocia|, |Caligula,| |16| |March| |37| |-| |24| |January| |41| |A.D.,| |Caesarea,| |Cappadocia||drachm|NEW
Kayseri, originally called Mazaka or Mazaca, is in central Turkey on a low spur on the north side of Mount Erciyes (Mount Argaeus in ancient times). During Achaemenid Persian rule, it was the capital of a Satrapy on the crossroads of the Royal Road from Sardis to Susa and the trade route from Sinope to the Euphrates. It was conquered by Alexander's general Perdikkas, was ruled by Eumenes of Cardia, then passed to the Seleucid empire after the battle of Ipsus. It became the capital of the independent Cappadocian Kingdom under Ariarathes III, around 250 B.C. During Strabo's time it was also known as Eusebia, after the Cappadocian King Ariarathes V Eusebes, 163 130 B.C. The name was changed again to "Caesarea in Cappadocia" in honor of Caesar Augustus, upon his death in 14 A.D. The city passed under formal Roman rule in 17 A.D. In Roman times, it prospered on the route from Ephesus to the East. Caesarea was destroyed by the Sassanid King Shapur I after his victory over the Emperor Valerian I in 260 A.D. At the time it was recorded to have around 400,000 inhabitants. Arabic influence changed Caesarea to the modern name Kayseri. The city gradually recovered and has a population of around 1 million people today. Few traces of the ancient city survive.
RS110687. Silver drachm, RPC Online I 3624 (11 spec.), Henseler 87, RIC I 63, BMCRE I 102, Cohen I 12, SNG Cop 176, F, toned, broad flan, obv. off center, rough, weight 2.731 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 0o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, c. 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS, bare head right; reverse IMPERATOR PONT MAX AVG TR POT, simpulum and lituus; rare; $400.00 SALE PRICE $360.00


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Emesa, Syria

|Roman| |Syria|, |Caracalla,| |28| |January| |198| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.,| |Emesa,| |Syria||AE| |23|
Emesa was famous for its Temple of the Sun, the center of worship for the ancient pagan cult El-Gebal (or Elagabal). El-Gebal, worshiped in the form of a conical black stone, was the Aramaic name for the Syrian Sun God and means God of the Mountain. Emesa was the birthplace of the Roman emperor Elagabalus and four Roman empresses, Julia Domna, Julia Maesa, Julia Mamaea, and Julia Soaemias.
RP111034. Bronze AE 23, Mantis ANSCD 1944.100.66180, SNG Cop -; SNG Munchen -, BMC Galatia -, Lindgren -, VF, near centered, flaw on Caracalla's jaw, weight 11.075 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, Emesa (Homs, Syria) mint, 216 - 217 A.D.; obverse AVT KAI ANTΩNEINOC CEB, laureate head of Caracalla right; reverse IOVΛIA ΔOMNA CEB, draped bust of Julia Domna right, H-K/Φ ([year] 528) across field; Coin Archives records only two specimens of the type at auction in the last two decades; this is the finest specimen of the four known to FORVM; very rare; $350.00 SALE PRICE $315.00


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia

|Phoenicia|, |Valerian| |I,| |October| |253| |-| |c.| |June| |260| |A.D.,| |Tyre,| |Phoenicia||dichalkon|
Romans refounded Tyre as a colony in 64 B.C., when Pompey annexed Phoenicia to the Roman Empire. Tyre flourished under the Rome and remained a Roman port city, even under the Byzantine Empire, until the 7th century when it was taken by Muslim conquest.
RP96396. Bronze dichalkon, BMC Phoenicia p. 289, 465 var. (murex shell on right); Rouvier -; Baramki AUB -; SNG Hunt -; SNG Cop -, F, rough dark green patina, earthen deposits, weight 16.345 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre (Lebanon) mint, Oct 253 - Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, laureate bust right; reverse COL TVRO METR, river-god (Adonis?) standing facing, head left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, right hand dropping incense on flaming altar at her feet on left, long grounded reed vertical in left hand, murex shell on left; from the J. Berlin Caesarea Collection, 1971 Caesarea Maritima surface find; Coin Archives records only one specimen of the type at auction in the last two decades; extremely rare; $320.00 SALE PRICE $288.00


Roman Syria-Palestina, Jewish, Lead Bulla Seal, 7 Branched Menorah, c. 5th - 6th Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Roman| |Syria-Palestina,| |Jewish,| |Lead| |Bulla| |Seal,| |7| |Branched| |Menorah,| |c.| |5th| |-| |6th| |Century| |A.D.||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
A bulla (plural, bullae) is a lump of clay or lead molded around a cord and stamped with a seal that identifies the sender. With a bulla in place, a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, revealing the tampering. Bullae depicting a menorah are known but very rare and not well documented. Dattari-Savio p. 327, 3 is a 1901 rubbing of a very similar menorah sealing. Michael Still lists two menorah sealings in his thesis on Roman seals, 1696 with a Latin inscription reverse, 1765 with a Hebrew inscription reverse. The recently published catalogue of the Vossen collection by Gert Boersema and Bill Dalzell, has two Menorah seals, numbers 181 and 182, both with blank reverses. There are also a few examples known from auctions. A FORVM member posted a bulla of this exact type from his collection on the Classical Numismatic Discussion on the Forum Ancient Coins website. We received three examples of this type on consignment, all with the same fire damage, suggesting they were found together.
JD98656. Lead bulla (tag seal), VF/Fair, light earthen deposits, raised bumps from exposure to an ancient fire that heated and expanded air bubbles within the lead, c. 5th - 6th century A.D.; obverse seven branched menorah with tripod base; reverse lulav, uncertain Syriac inscription (obscure); very rare; $300.00 SALE PRICE $270.00




  



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REFERENCES|

Calic, X. The Roman Avrei. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l?Empire Romain. (Paris, 1880 - 1892).
Estiot, S. "L'Or romain entre crise et restitution (270-276 apr. J.-C.). I. Aurlien" in Journal des Savants 1 (1999), pp. 51-148.
Giard, J., P. Besombes & S. Estiot. Monnaies de l'Empire romain. Bibliothque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998 - ).
Gbl, R., et al. Moneta Imperii Romani. (Vienna, 1984 - present).
Mattingly, H. & E. Sydenham, et al. The Roman Imperial Coinage. (London, 1926 - 2020).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum. (London, 1923 - 1963).
Monnaies de l'Empire Romain / Roman Imperial Coinage AD 268-276 (RIC V Online) http://www.ric.mom.fr
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow. (Oxford, 1962 - 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values. (London, 2000 - 2014).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

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