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Rare Roman Coins
Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

|Septimius| |Severus|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.||sestertius|
The central figure is described in RIC IV as Pietas or Concordia. Others have identified the figure as uncertain or even as Julia Domna or Julia Domna as Pietas. On some of the coins, however, it is clearly Septimius Severus with the same three pointed beard seen on the obverse of this coin.
SH98649. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE V p. 394, 190; RIC IV 798 (R2); SRCV 6432; Cohen IV 560; Hunter V 165, Choice gVF, excellent centering, nice portrait, near black fields with some brassy high points, weight 25.165 g, maximum diameter 33.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 210 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEVE-RVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVIII COS III P P (Pontifex Maximus, TRibunicia Potestate XVII, Consul III, Pater Patriae), Geta, on left, standing right; Septimius Severus, in center, standing facing; Caracalla on right, standing left; all three are veiled and draped as priests, sacrificing at the flaming columnar altar in center; S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; ex Triton XX (11 Jan 2017), lot 618 (part of); ex A.K. Collection; ex K. Kress auction 139 (Munich, 19 Jun 1967), lot 1382; very rare; $1260.00 (€1033.20)
 


Nero and Poppaea, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Nero| |and| |Poppaea,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|
RPC Online I notes, "The date does look like L IB, but the coin is very battered." and "Confirmation required. Poppaea died in AD 65, so it seems unlikely that coins should have been made for her in year 12." This is the Dattari Collection plate coin and Dattari identified it as year 12. In Alexandria, Nero's year 12 began on 29 August 65 A.D. According to Suetonius, one day in the summer of 65, Poppaea quarreled fiercely with Nero over his spending too much time at the races. She was pregnant with her second child. In a fit of rage, Nero kicked her in the abdomen, killing her. This coin suggests her death was likely on or after the 19th of August. It would have taken 9 days or more for the news of her death to reach Alexandria. This coin may have been a trial strike or perhaps one of very few struck during the first days of the new year.
RX93590. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari-Savio pl. 7, 199 (this coin!); RPC Online I 5289A (this coin!, the only spec.), aVF, brown tone, corrosion, scratches, rough, weight 7.834 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, c. 29 Aug 65 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAV KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP AYTO, radiate bust of Nero right; reverse ΠOΠΠAIA ΣEBAΣTH, draped bust of Poppaea right, L IB (year 12) lower right; from the Kreuzer Collection, ex Naville Numismatics auction 51 (21 Jul 2019), lot 301; ex Dattari Collection; this is the only known example of this type dated year 12!; unique!?; $540.00 (€442.80)
 


Lampsacus (as Colonia Gemella Iulia Lampsacus), Mysia, c. 45 - 35 B.C.

|Lampsakos|, |Lampsacus| |(as| |Colonia| |Gemella| |Iulia| |Lampsacus),| |Mysia,| |c.| |45| |-| |35| |B.C.||as|
M. Grant (Grant FITA, p. 246) first and convincingly attributed this type to Lampsacus. P. Brunt (Italian Manpower, p. 600) argues convincingly that the colony at Lampsakos was founded by Julius Caesar about 45 B.C. (a twin colony to another at Parium) and disappeared after its occupation by Sextus Pompey in 35 B.C. The reverse legend identifies Q. Lucretius and L. Pontius as the colony's first duoviri. This type was likely struck at the time the colony was founded or very soon after.
RP96982. Bronze as, RPC Online I 2273 (7 spec.); Grant FITA p. 246, 5; Robinson NC 1921 p. 7, 6 (Parion); Imhoof MG p. 252, 126 (Parion), VF, green patina, earthen encrustation, inscriptions not fully struck, weight 3.550 g, maximum diameter 16.2 mm, die axis 0o, Lampsakos (Lapseki, Turkey) mint, dictatorship of Julius Caesar, c. 45 - 44 B.C.; obverse C G I L (Colonia Gemella Julia Lampsakos), bearded head of Janus, C G I L (Colonia Gemella Julia Lampsakos) divided across field, countermark: monogram; reverse Q LVCRET L PONTI-O IIVIR COL DED PR (Q. Lucretius [and] L. Pontius, duoviri colonia deducta primis), prow of war galley right; Coin Archives records only four sales of this type (two with this countermark) in the last two decades; very rare; $500.00 (€410.00)
 


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; $400.00 (€328.00)
 


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)|NEW
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; $380.00 (€311.60)
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Apollonia Salbace, Caria

|Other| |Caria|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Apollonia| |Salbace,| |Caria||AE| |30|
This coin is an obverse die match to a coin struck by the neighboring city, Alabanda, Caria, SNG München 464, RPC Online VI T5384. Dies shared by more than one city in the region were first discovered by Konrad Kraft in 1972. Groups of smaller cities in Anatolia shared traveling mints, which would sometimes use the same obverse dies for more than one city.
RP92646. Bronze AE 30, Apparently unpublished; RPC Online -, SNG BnF -, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, BMC Caria -, F, porous, turquoise and earthen adhesions, reverse flatly struck, weight 11.787 g, maximum diameter 29.7 mm, die axis 180o, Apollonia Salbace (Edremit, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse AYT K M AYP CEY AΛEΞAN∆PO-C, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse CTPA AΓAΘEINOY TOY IH AΠOΛΛΩNIATΩN (strategos Agathinos, son of Hie.(?), Apollonia), Zeus standing slightly left, head left, wearing himation and chlamys, eagle in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; from the Errett Bishop Collection; extremely rare, this is the only specimen of the type known to FORVM; $280.00 (€229.60)
 


Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D.

|Lucius| |Verus|, |Lucius| |Verus,| |7| |March| |161| |-| |February| |169| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
In 165, the Parthians sued for peace after the Roman captured Artaxata, Seleucia on the Tigris, and Ctesiphon. The Parthians left Armenia and eastern Mesopotamia, which both became Roman protectorates. Unfortunately the Antonine plague (perhaps smallpox) came from the East with the returning soldiers. It spread throughout the Empire, lasted for roughly twenty years, and killed about 5 million people, probably including Lucius Verus.
RS97929. Silver denarius, Hunter II 25 (same dies), RIC III 548 var., RSC II 286 var., BMCRE IV 413 var., SRCV II 5358 var. (all var. laureate head right), aVF, well centered, flow lines, toned, holed with closed crack to edge, small punch above head, marks, small edge cracks, weight 2.996 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec 165 - Dec 166 A.D.; obverse L VERVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX, laureate and cuirassed bust left; reverse TR P VI IMP III COS II, Parthian captive seated right on ground, wearing pointed cap, tunic, and breeches to ankles, hands bound behind back, quiver, bow, and shield at his feet; zero sales of this left facing bust variety listed on Coin Archives in the last two decades; extremely rare bust; $200.00 (€164.00)
 


Diadumenian, Mid May - 8 June 218 A.D., Laodicea ad Mar, Seleucia and Pieria, Syria

|Roman| |Syria|, |Diadumenian,| |Mid| |May| |-| |8| |June| |218| |A.D.,| |Laodicea| |ad| |Mar,| |Seleucia| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria||AE| |31|
Laodicea ad Mar (Latakia, Syria) has been inhabited since the second millennium B.C. It was on the Via Maris, a coastal road that ran south from Antioch to Damascus and Beirut. The city was renamed by Seleucus I Nicator in honor of his mother, Laodice and was a major port for the Seleukid Kingdom. Laodicea flourished under Rome and was second only to Antioch in the region. Herod the Great, king of Judaea, furnished Laodicea with an aqueduct, the remains of which stand to the east of the town. The Legio VI Ferrata was probably based in Laodicea.
JD97397. Bronze AE 31, Lindgren-Kovacs 2099, BMC Galatia -, SNG Cop -, SNG Munchen -, SNG Righetti -, aF, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, porosity/corrosion, edge split, weight 13.695 g, maximum diameter 31.4 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, as caesar, 11 Apr 217 - mid May 218 A.D.; obverse IM M OP ANTONINOS NOB CAES, bare headed, draped and cuirassed bust right seen from the front; reverse ROMAE FEL, she-wolf right suckling Romulus and Remus; ex CGB Numismatique Paris; very rare; $140.00 (€114.80)
 


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.

|Marcus| |Aurelius|, |Marcus| |Aurelius,| |7| |March| |161| |-| |17| |March| |180| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
Although Ares was viewed by the Greeks primarily as destructive and destabilizing, worthy of contempt and revulsion, for the Romans, Mars was a father (pater) of the Roman people. He was the father of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. In early Rome, he was second in importance only to Jupiter, and the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began and ended the season for military campaigning and farming.
RS97939. Silver denarius, RSC II 292c, BMCRE IV 568, RIC III 276 var. (laur. head), Hunter II -, SRCV II -, F, well centered, flow lines, rough areas, scratches, edge cracks, weight 3.195 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 172 - Dec 173 A.D.; obverse M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXVII, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse IMP VI COS III, Mars standing half right, head right, wearing crested helmet and wearing military garb, inverted spear vertical behind in right hand, resting left hand on grounded oval shield; rare bust from front; $130.00 (€106.60) ON RESERVE


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Ephesos, Ionia

|Ephesos|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.,| |Ephesos,| |Ionia||AE| |25|
Agonistic "urns" or "crowns" were awarded to winners at ancient Greek games, similar to modern trophies. They are called "crowns" because they may have been placed on the head of the victor.
RP95365. Bronze AE 25, Karwiese 1131(a1) (O13/R95); SNG Munchen 260; SNG Hunterian XII 1749; SNG Cop 519; SNGvA 7889; SNG Tub -; BMC Ionia -, gVF, well centered on a broad flan, obverse die wear and minor die breaks, weight 6.759 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, Aug 253 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse AYT K ΠO ΛIKI ΓAΛΛIHNOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse EΦECIΩN A D• NE•Ω•KOPΩN, agonistic urn (prize crown) containing palm fronds, band across the crown is marked EΦECIAI; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00 ON RESERVE




  



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REFERENCES|

Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l?Empire Romain. (Paris, 1880 - 1892).
Estiot, S. "L'Or romain entre crise et restitution (270-276 apr. J.-C.). I. Aurélien" in Journal des Savants 1 (1999), pp. 51-148.
Giard, J., P. Besombes & S. Estiot. Monnaies de l'Empire romain. Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998 - ).
Göbl, 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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