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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Astronomy||View Options:  |  |  | 

Astronomy on Ancient Coins
Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria, 128 - 129 A.D.

|Antioch|, |Antioch,| |Seleukis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria,| |128| |-| |129| |A.D.||trichalkon|
Michael Molnar, an astronomer, believes this coin depicts Jupiter's occultation of Aries in 6 B.C., the most probable "Star of Bethlehem." We think it is unlikely; nevertheless, the type is very popular and somewhat expensive.
GB90244. Bronze trichalkon, RPC Online III 3729, Butcher CRS 266, McAlee 125(d), SNG Hunterian II 2950, F, dark near black patina, highlighting red earthen deposits, weight 5.145 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, reign of Hadrian, 128 - 129 A.D.; obverse ANTIOXEΩN THC MHTPOΠOΛEWC, veiled and turreted head of Tyche right, weak countermark at chin; reverse ram leaping right, looking back, star within crescent above, ET ZOP (year 177 of the Caesarean Era) below; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


Pontos (Uncertain City), c. 119 - 100 B.C.

|Pontic| |Kingdom|, |Pontos| |(Uncertain| |City),| |c.| |119| |-| |100| |B.C.||AE| |11|
The comets depicted are almost certainly the comets described in Justin's epitome of the Historiae Philippicae of the Augustan historian Pompeius Trogus (Justin 37.2.1-2): "The future greatness of this man [Mithridates Eupator] had been foretold by heavenly portents. For both in the year in which he was born [134/133 B.C.] and in the year in which he first began to rule [120/119 B.C.], a comet gleamed so brightly for 70 days throughout each period that the whole sky seemed to be on fire. In its extent, each of these comets filled one quarter of the sky and surpassed the sun in brilliance. They took four hours to rise and four hours to set."
GB99175. Bronze AE 11, SNG BM 984, SNG Stancomb 653, Lindgren III 154, HGC 7 317, VF, area of corrosion, light scratches, weight 1.110 g, maximum diameter 10.9 mm, die axis 180o, Pontos, uncertain mint, c. 119 - 100 B.C.; obverse horse-head right, with comet/star of eight points and central pellet on neck; reverse comet star of seven points, central pellet, and horse/comet tail to right; rare; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

|Augustus|, |Augustus,| |16| |January| |27| |B.C.| |-| |19| |August| |14| |A.D.||denarius|
"The Julian Star" appeared in the sky during the funeral games for Julius Caesar in July 44 B.C. It was a comet and the Romans believed it was a divine manifestation of the apotheosis of Julius Caesar.
SH84740. Silver denarius, RIC I 37a (S), BMCRE I 323, RSC I 98, BnF I 1293, Hunter I 139, SRCV I 1607 var. (head left), Choice near Mint State, mint luster, well centered, excellent portrait, slightest die wear, some legend a little weak, weight 3.723 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, probably Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza, Spain) mint, 19 - 18 B.C.; obverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS, head of Augustus left, wearing oak wreath (corona civitas); reverse comet of eight rays, a central dot and flaming tail upwards, DIVVS - IVLIVS horizontal divided flanking across the field at center; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; scarce; SOLD


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

|Augustus|, |Augustus,| |16| |January| |27| |B.C.| |-| |19| |August| |14| |A.D.||denarius|
"The Julian Star" appeared in the sky during the funeral games for Julius Caesar in July 44 B.C. It was a comet and the Romans believed it was a divine manifestation of the apotheosis of Julius Caesar.
SH26033. Silver denarius, RIC I 37a, BMCRE I 323, RSC I 98, aVF, banker's marks, graffiti, weight 3.520 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 180o, Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza, Spain) mint, 19 - 18 B.C.; obverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS, head of Augustus left, wearing oak wreath (corona civitas); reverse comet of eight rays, a central dot and flaming tail upwards, DIVVS - IVLIVS horizontal divided flanking across the field at center; ex CNG; SOLD


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|
"The coin that killed Caesar." The Romans believed that only kings put their portraits on coins. Caesar ignored this tradition and struck coins with his portrait and an obverse legend declaring his position as "Dictator for Life." 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 Theatre 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." For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his senator allies. Only weeks after this coin was issued, on the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 63 conspirators.
RS73140. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/14; RSC I 39/40, BMCRR 4175, Sydenham 1074a, Sear Imperator 107e, SRCV I -, F, excellent portrait, attractive toning, uneven strike with unstruck areas, banker's mark, slightly irregular flan, weight 3.437 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, moneyer P. Sepullius Macer, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, laureate and veiled head of Caesar right; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus Victrix standing left, head lowered, Victory in right hand, long scepter with star at bottom vertical behind in left hand; ex Roma Numismatics e-auction 13 (29 Nov 2014), lot 361; ex Andrew McCabe Collection; ex Roma Numismatics e-auction 4 (28 Dec 2013), lot 543; rare; SOLD


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

|Septimius| |Severus|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.||denarius|
Emesa frequently copied old coin reverse types. Sometimes they even copied old inscriptions listing honors that applied, not to the current emperor, but to the long dead emperor who issued the copied type. The normal Severan crescent and seven stars reverse has the legend SAECVL FELICIT (era of happy good fortune). Only a few Severan examples are known with this AETERNITAS AVS legend, copied from Pescennius Niger. We know of one example for Julia Domna, two for Severus with a COS obverse legend, and this coin with a COS II obverse. This coin is unpublished and, to the best of our knowledge, unique
SH59264. Silver denarius, Unpublished and likely unique; RIC IV -, RSC III -, BMCRE V -, Mazzini -; Hunter -, aVF/VF, light toning, weight 2.648 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Emesa (Homs, Syria) mint, 194 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II, laureate head right; reverse AETERNITAS AVS , crescent and seven stars; extremely rare; SOLD


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt, Zodiac Type - Jupiter in Sagittarius

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Antoninus| |Pius,| |August| |138| |-| |7| |March| |161| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt,| |Zodiac| |Type| |-| |Jupiter| |in| |Sagittarius||drachm|
This coin is from the Zodiac series issued during year eight of the reign of Antoninus Pius, described by Emmett as "one of the more remarkable iconographic programs in the entire scope of Greek or Roman coinage. Jupiter is associated with luck and good fortune. According to alwaysastrology.com, those born with Jupiter in Sagittarius attract good luck as long as they are generous, tolerant and practice what they preach. If you would like to see if you were born with Jupiter in Sagittarius (or another sign), click here to visit alwaysastrology.com.
RP72129. Bronze drachm, cf. RPC Online IV 14873; Dattari 2972; Dattari-Savio Suppl. pl. 19, 148; Geissen 1502; Milne 1822; BMC Alexandria p. 128, 1087; Emmett 1692/8, aF, nice reverse, obverse rough, weight 20.668 g, maximum diameter 33.5 mm, die axis 315o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 144 - 28 Aug 145 A.D.; obverse AUT K T AIΛ A∆P ANTWNEINOC CEB EVC, laureate (and draped?) bust right; reverse Zodiac type - Jupiter in Sagittarius: laureate bust of Zeus (Jupiter) right above a centaur (Sagittarius) leaping right and drawing bow, a star above centaur's head, L H (year 8) below; last sale for this type on Coin Archives was in 2010; very rare; SOLD


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

|Augustus|, |Augustus,| |16| |January| |27| |B.C.| |-| |19| |August| |14| |A.D.||denarius|
"The Julian Star" appeared in the sky during the funeral games for Julius Caesar in July 44 B.C. It was a comet and the Romans believed it was a divine manifestation of the apotheosis of Julius Caesar.
SH48877. Silver denarius, RIC I 37b, RSC I 97, BMCRE I 326, SRCV I 1607, aVF, banker's marks, toned, weight 3.562 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 180o, Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza, Spain) mint, 19 - 18 B.C.; obverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS, head of Augustus right, wearing oak wreath (Corona Civitas); reverse comet of eight rays, a central dot and flaming tail upwards, DIVVS - IVLIVS horizontal divided flanking across the field at center; SOLD







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