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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Denominations| ▸ |Big Bronze||View Options:  |  |  |   

Big Bronze

Large bronze provided the finest canvas for ancient master celators to illustrate their artistry. Superb sestertius and medallions often obtain higher prices than even rare gold coins.


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

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In 97 A.D., the future emperor Trajan was made governor in Germania and adopted as "Caesar" or heir by Nerva.
SH46865. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 98, BMCRE III 134; BnF III 119, Cohen II 72, SRCV II 3045, gVF, nice portrait, areas of light corrosion, weight 20.781 g, maximum diameter 32.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 18 Sep - Dec 97 A.D.; obverse IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P II COS III P P, laureate head right; reverse FORTVNA AVGVST (good fortune of the Emperor), Fortuna standing left, rudder in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) across field; SOLD


Pertinax, 31 December 192 - 28 March 193 A.D.

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Pertinax was the son of a humble charcoal-burner. After a successful career in the military, as a senator and then as praefect of the city of Rome, he reluctantly accepted the throne offered by the murderers of Commodus. After a reign of only 86 day he was murdered by mutinous guards.
SH08958. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 24, Cohen 58, VF, weight 25.04 g, maximum diameter 32.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 31 Dec 192 - 28 Mar 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES P HELV PERTINAX AVG, laureate head right; reverse VOTA DECEN TR P COS II S C, Pertinax, veiled, standing left, sacrificing out of patera over tripod; ex John Aiello; ex Edgar L. Owen; ex NFA Feb 27 - 28, 1979, lot 745; very rare (R2); SOLD


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

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The first Rome mint portrait sestertius type, and a highly sought after reverse type.
SH38172. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 33; BMCRE p. 152, 36; BnF II 47; Cohen I 4; SRCV I 1800, NGC VF, Strike 5, Surface 2, weight 26.340 g, maximum diameter 34.5 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT, laureate head left; reverse AGRIPPINA DRVSILLA IVLIA, the three sisters of Caligula standing, in the guises of Securitas, Concordia, and Fortuna, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; NGC certified, excellent centering and strike, attractive portrait, patina worn on high spots; rare; SOLD


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

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The first Rome mint portrait sestertius, and a highly sought after reverse type.
RB37601. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 33; BMCRE p. 152, 36; BnF II 47; Cohen I 4; SRCV I 1800, VF, red-brown patina, weight 25.168 g, maximum diameter 34.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT, laureate head left; reverse AGRIPPINA DRVSILLA IVLIA S C, the three sisters of Caligula standing, in the guises of Securitas, Concordia and Fortuna; ex B.V., Mailbid Sale 5 (1973) #71 (sold for 2400 DM plus fees); rare; SOLD


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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The name Ostia was derived from the Latin "ostium" - river mouth. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Construction of the port facilities began under Claudius and was likely completed just before this sestertius was struck in 64 A.D. Trajan and Hadrian expanded the facilities. The port was abandoned due to silting and now lies 3 km from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics.
SH86120. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 178, BMCRE I 131, Cohen I 37, Mac Dowall WCN 120, BnF I -, VF, well centered, nice portrait, near black patina, scratches on obverse lower right field, some porosity and tiny pitting, weight 26.031 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVGVSTI above, S - C divided by POR OST below, bird's-eye view Ostia harbor: pharos lighthouse with Neptune statue on top at far side center; crescent-shaped pier with building and figure sacrificing at far end, crescent-shaped row of breakwaters or slips on right with figure seated on rock at far end, 7 ships within port; river god Tiber reclining left holding rudder and dolphin below; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 195 (7 Mar 2011), lot 405; an attractive example of a highly desired type!; SOLD


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

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This is an extremely rare heroic bust variety of a scarce type. There is only one auction record on Coin Archives for this variety: NAC Auction 59 (4 Apr 2011), lot 968 (a beautiful near EF example). It sold for $48,717 including fees.
SH73454. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 203q+2 (same obv die), RIC II 535 (S, no belt), BMCRE III 838 var. (no belt), BnF IV 565 var. (no belt), VF, well centered, high relief bust, Tiber patina, porous, areas of corrosion, weight 25.631 g, maximum diameter 34.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 104 - 107 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate bust left, full chest exposed, with drapery on left shoulder, military belt (balteus) across chest; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Trajan in military dress on horseback right, thrusting spear at Dacian warrior trampled and falling under fore-hooves, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; extremely rare variety; SOLD


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

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"The Roman Emperor Trajan, being of an impetuous and active temperament, seemed to be filled with resentment that his realm was not unlimited, but was bounded by the Ister River [Danube]. So he was eager to span it with a bridge that he might be able to cross it and that there might be no obstacle to his going against the barbarians beyond it.." Procopius of Caesarea, Buildings (IV.6.12).

The bridge, depicted on Trajan's Column, was constructed by the master-builder, Apollodorus of Damascus, with wooden arches set on twenty masonry pillars, about 1135 meters long where the river about 800 meters wide. Each gateway was protected by a castrum. Procopius tells us that during construction the river was diverted and about half of the pillars were built on dry land. Cassius Dio tells us that Hadrian removed the wooden arches to protect Moesia from northern invasions. Since Dacia continued to be a province for about the next 150 years, the bridge must have been rebuilt. Aurelian likely demolished it when he abandoned Dacia. In 1856, when the Danube was at a record low, all twenty pillars were seen out of the water. In 1906 two were demolished to ease navigation. In 1982 archaeologists could only find the remains of twelve pillars. Both end pillars are still standing on the Serbian and Romanian shores.
SH32823. Orichalcum sestertius, SRCV II 3207, RIC II 569, Cohen II 542, Choice VF, weight 25.790 g, maximum diameter 35.3 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 105 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate bust right, from behind, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI, arched single-span bridge over river, covered walkway separated by vertical bars and middle curved line, each gateway surmounted by statuary, right one with flight of steps; boat over S C (senatus consulto) below; SOLD


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

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Scarce issue from the final year of his reign, with a more mature portrait, and stern gaze. Seneca (3.19.1) characterized Caligula's gaze as a form of torture -- "He had tortured them by means of all the grimmest devices that nature provides - by the string, by the robe, by the rack, by fire, and by his own gaze."
SH47806. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 53, Cohen I 26, BnF II 116, Choice VF, weight 27.960 g, maximum diameter 35.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 40 - 41 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR DIVI AVG PRON AVG P M TR P IIII P P, Laureate head left; reverse S P Q R P P OB CIVES SERVATOR, legend inside oak wreath (Corona Civica); attractive mahogany red-brown patina, ex CNG; SOLD


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

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The obverse bust is in sculptural relief, quite different than a regular Trajan sestertius. Bernard Woytek's recent study of the coinage of Hadrian cites only five specimens. He includes a note reiterating Toynbee's classification of them as "medallic coins" that seem to employ medallion dies (although this obverse die is apparently unknown for a medallion), or at the very least were intended as to give the coins a medallic look.
SH63645. Orichalcum medallic sestertius, Toynbee pl. 20, 10; Woytek 338u; BMCRE III 811A; RIC II 519; Cohen II 459; SRCV II 3200; Cayon -, VF, obverse die of particularly fine style, weight 21.846 g, maximum diameter 33.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 109 - 110 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate and draped half-bust right, wearing aegis; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Spes advancing left, raising flower in right hand, raising drapery with left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; very rare; SOLD


Galba, 3 April 68 - 15 January 69 A.D.

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The pileus liberatis was a soft felt cap worn by liberated slaves of Troy and Asia Minor. In late Republican Rome, the pileus was symbolically given to slaves upon manumission, granting them not only their personal liberty, but also freedom as citizens with the right to vote (if male). Following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., Brutus and his co-conspirators used the pileus to signify the end of Caesar's dictatorship and a return to a Republican system of government. The pileus was adopted as a popular symbol of freedom during the French Revolution and was also depicted on some early U.S. coins.
SH30337. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 387, Cohen I 108, Choice VF, weight 24.415 g, maximum diameter 34.9 mm, die axis 195o, Rome mint, c. Oct 68 A.D; obverse SER GALBA IMP CAESAR AVG TR P, laureate draped bust right; reverse LIBERTAS PVBLICA (freedom of the people), Liberty standing half left, pileus in right, rod in left, S - C (Senatus Consulto) across fields; "Tiber" patina, nice round flan, some smoothing; SOLD




  




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Catalog current as of Friday, December 6, 2019.
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Big Bronze