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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Twelve Caesars| ▸ |Caligula||View Options:  |  |  |   

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

Caius Caesar was born in 12 A.D., the son of Germanicus and Agrippina Sr. He was nicknamed Caligula, meaning "little boots," by the legions because as a child his mother dressed him in military uniforms (including little boots). Initially, he was very popular, succeeding Tiberius in 37 A.D. and for a few brief months ruling very well. However, an unknown disease drove him mad and his reign soon degenerated into debauchery and murder. He was murdered by the Praetorian Guard in 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


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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


Click for a larger photo
The first Rome mint portrait sestertius type, and a highly sought after reverse type.
SH32176. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 33; BMCRE p. 152, 36; BnF II 47; Cohen I 4; SRCV I 1800, aVF, full circles strike, light corrosion, weight 24.043 g, maximum diameter 36.5 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, the three sisters of Caligula standing, in the guises of Securitas, Concordia, and Fortuna, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; ex CNG e-sale 11/07, lot 220; rare; 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


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

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Issued under Caligula in honor of his deceased father. Germanicus inflicted serious defeats on the barbarian tribes in Germania and recovered the legionary standards lost by Varus. He was to be Tiberius' successor but died of an unknown cause. His tremendous popularity helped his son Caligula obtain the throne after Tiberius died.
SH37588. Silver denarius, RIC I 18, BnF II 28, BMCRE I 19, RSC I 2, SRCV I 1813 var, gVF, surface roughness, weight 3.313 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, struck under Caligula, 37 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR POT, laureate head of Caligula right; reverse GERMANICVS CAES P C CAES AVG GERM, bare head of Germanicus right; SOLD


Click for a larger photo
Caius Caesar was born in 12 A.D., the son of Germanicus and Agrippina Sr. He was nicknamed Caligula, meaning "little boots," by the legions because as a child his mother dressed him in military uniforms (including little boots). Initially, he was very popular, succeeding Tiberius in 37 A.D. and for a few brief months ruling very well. However, an unknown disease drove him mad and his reign soon degenerated into debauchery and murder. He was murdered by the Praetorian Guard in 41 A.D.
SH76413. Silver denarius, RIC I 14 (Rome), RSC II Caligula and Agrippina 2; BMCRE I 15 (Rome), BnF II 24, Hunter I 7 (Rome), SRCV I 1825, VF, superb portraits, areas of corrosion, weight 13.775 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, end of 37 - early 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR POT (counterclockwise), laureate head of Gaius right; reverse AGRIPPINA MAT C CAES AVG GERM (counterclockwise), draped bust of Agrippina Senior (his mother), her hair in a queue behind, one curly lock falls loose on the side of her neck; from the Jeff Michniak Collection; rare; SOLD


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The wreath on the reverse is the corona civica, the oak wreath awarded to Roman citizens ex senatus consulto (by special decree of the Senate) for saving the life of another citizen by slaying an enemy in battle. It became a prerogative for Roman emperors to be awarded the Civic Crown, originating with Augustus, who was awarded it in 27 B.C. for saving the lives of citizens by ending the series of civil wars.
SH21438. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 53; BMCRE I p. 157, *, pl. 29, 13; Cohen I 26, Choice VF, weight 26.306 g, maximum diameter 36.1 mm, die axis 165o, Rome mint, 18 Mar 40 - 24 Jan 41; 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 / SERVATOS, inscription in four lines within Corona Civica oak wreath; nicely centered, a few trivial obverse pits, struck with good Metropolitan-style dies; rare (R2); SOLD


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It appears that, in accordance with his damnatio, the identity of Caligula was removed in the legend through the effacement of the first C and perhaps additional letters. To "improve" the coin, the letter was re-engraved in modern times (19th c.?).
SH65419. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 46, BMCRE I 58, Cohen I 25, SRCV I 1801, VF, smoothing, tooling of the beginning of the obv legend, mottled mahogany brown patina, fantastic portrait, weight 28.852 g, maximum diameter 35.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 39 - 40 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR DIVI AVG PRON AVG P M TR P III P P, laureate head left; reverse S P Q R / P P / OB CIVES / SERVATOS, inscription in four lines inside oak wreath (Corona Civica); ex Stack's Bowers and Ponterio, sale 173; rare; SOLD


Click for a larger photo
This type was the first portrait sestertius struck at the mint of Rome. The wreath on the reverse is the corona civica, the oak wreath awarded to Roman citizens ex senatus consulto (by special decree of the Senate) for saving the life of another citizen by slaying an enemy in battle. It became a prerogative for Roman emperors to be awarded the Civic Crown, originating with Augustus, who was awarded it in 27 B.C. for saving the lives of citizens by ending the series of civil wars.
SH82656. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 37, BMCRE I 38, Cohen I 24, BnF II 50, Hunter I 15, SRCV I -, nice VF, dark brown patina, minor roughness on reverse, weight 23.762 g, maximum diameter 34.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT, laureate head left; reverse S P Q R / P P / OB CIVES / SERVATOS in four lines within Corona Civica oak wreath; ex CNG mail bid sale 69 (8 Jun 2005), lot 1382; ex CNG 46, (24 Jun 1998), lot 1156; rare; SOLD


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

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Tiberius left his estate and the titles of the principate to Caligula and to Tiberius' own grandson, Gemellus, who were to serve as joint heirs. Although Tiberius was 78 and on his death bed, some ancient historians still conjecture that he was murdered. Tacitus writes that the Praetorian Prefect, Macro, smothered Tiberius with a pillow to hasten Caligula's accession, much to the joy of the Roman people. Suetonius writes that Caligula may have carried out the murder himself, though this is not recorded by any other ancient historian. Seneca the elder and Philo, as well as Josephus, record that Tiberius died a natural death. Caligula had Tiberius' will nullified with regards to Gemellus on grounds of insanity, but otherwise he carried out Tiberius' wishes.
SH77011. Silver denarius, RIC I 2, RSC I 11, Lyon 157, BnF II 3, BMCRE I 4, SRCV I 1808, aVF, excellent portraits, light marks, light corrosion, small edge crack, reverse slightly off-center, weight 3.196 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 120o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 37 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR POT COS, bare head of Caligula right; reverse radiate head of Divus Augustus right, flanked by two stars; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; ex Vecchi Nummorum Auctiones 9 (NYC, 4 Dec 1997), lot 166; rare; SOLD




  




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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

CCAESARAVGPONMTRPOTIII
CCAESARAVGGERMANICVS
CCAESARAVGGERMANICVSPONMTRPOT
CCAESARAVGGERMPMTRPOT
CCAESARDIVIAVGPRONAVGPMTRPIIII
CCAESARDIVIAVGPRONAVGSC
CCAESARAVGPONMTRPOTIIICOSIII
CCAESARAVGGERMPMTRPOT


REFERENCES|

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry & P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (London, 1992 & suppl.).
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. One: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. I: De Pompeyo Magno a Matidia (Del 81 a.C. al 117 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Giard, J-B. "Les emissions d'or et d'argent de Caligula dans l'atelier de Lyon" in RN 18 (1976), pp. 69-81.
Giard, J-B. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon, des origines au règne de Caligula (43 avant J.-C. - 41 après J.-C.). (Wetteren, 1983).
Giard, J-B. Monnaies de L'Empire Romain II: De Tebère à Néron. Catalogue Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1988).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol 1: Augustus to Vitellius. (London, 1923).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. I. Augustus to Nerva. (Oxford, 1962).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Vol. One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sutherland, C. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
Toynbee, J. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Saturday, August 17, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Caligula