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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive Emperors ▸ CommodusView Options:  |  |  |   

Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

L Aelius Aurelius Commodus was the son of emperor Marcus Aurelius and empress Faustina II. Caesar in 177 A.D., Commodus succeeded his father as Augustus in 180. His rule of twelve years quickly degenerated into debauchery, paranoia, and insanity. He actually believed he was Hercules reincarnated and even participated in gladiatorial contests. The empire was directed by his unscrupulous favorites while the emperor amused himself in whatever decadent way he saw fit. His assassination in 192 A.D. was viewed as a blessing by most Romans of the day.


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

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The reverse depicts a Commodus' forth liberalitas, a gift distribution of money to the people of Rome. A citizen is using his drapery to catch coins thrown from above - the coins are depicted by four pellets. Liberalitas holds a counting board, a money shovel with shallow holes in it, used to quickly distribute a specific number of coins to each recipient.
RB82726. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 310(b) (S), BMCRE IV 455, Cohen III 310 var. (no drapery), Hunter II 82 var. (same), SRCV II -, F/aF, dark brown patina, well centered, areas of corrosion, weight 25.932 g, maximum diameter 32.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 181 - 182 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate bust right, drapery on left shoulder; reverse TR P VI IMP IIII COS III P P, Commodus seated left on platform; behind him, officer standing facing with head to left; in front of him, Liberalitas standing front, head to left, holding counting-board in her right hand and cornucopia in her left; below on steps, citizen standing right, holding up fold of toga catching coins, S - C flanking platform, LIB AVG IIII in exergue; scarce; $220.00 (187.00)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

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RS85051. Silver denarius, RSC II 472, RIC III 101 var. (thunderbolt vice Victory), BMCRE IV 151 var. (same), SRCV II 5676 var. (same), Hunter II -, aVF, attractive toning, bumps and marks, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 2.603 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec 184 - Dec 185 A.D.; obverse COMM ANT AVG P BRIT, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P X IMP VII COS IIII P P, Jupiter seated left on throne with low back, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, right leg drawn back, Victory on globe in extended right hand (dividing legend), inverted spear behind in left hand; extremely rare variant with Jupiter holding Victory and a spear instead of the normal thunderbolt and a long scepter, missing from most references and collections, only one sale in the last two decades on Coin Archives, and only three specimens in Reka Devnia hoard; $200.00 (170.00)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

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This is an extremely rare coin, missing from most references and collections. RSC II and BMCRE IV both reference only the one single specimen in the Reka-Devnia Hoard. There are no sales of the type in the last two decades recorded on Coin Archives, but we do know of several additional examples.
RS85053. Silver denarius, Reka-Devnia p. 91, pl. III, 40 (1 spec.!); RSC II 854b; Szaivert MIR 559-4/30; BMCRE IV p. 705, †; RIC III -; Cohen III -; Hunter -; SRCV II -, F, nice portrait, well centered obverse, reverse a little off center, light bumps and marks, edge cracks, weight 2.525 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, early 183 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse TR P VIII IMP V COS IIII P P, Roma seated left, helmeted and draped, Victory in right hand, spear vertical behind in left hand, shield on near side of seat; extremely rare; $200.00 (170.00)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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An excellent gift for a veterinarian! The 18th-century French numismatist Belley, cited in BMC Mysia p. 105, suggested that the SVB in the reverse legend should be expanded to "subvenienti," giving the meaning "To Aesculapius, the god who helps." This extraordinary depiction of Aesculapius is the only ancient coin reverse type referring to veterinary medicine.
RP85221. Bronze AE 24, RPC online IV temp 624 (5 spec.); SNGvA 1337; Weber 5152; BMC Mysia p. 105, 104 var. (obv. leg.); SNG Cop 290 var. (same); cf. SNG BnF 1484 (obscure), F, well centered, light scratches, some legend weak, areas of corrosion, centration dimples, weight 8.321 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 195o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, Mar/Apr 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.; obverse IMP CAI(sic) Λ AV - COMODVS, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse DEO AESC SVB (Deo Aesculapius subvenienti - to Aesculapius, the god who helps), Asclepius seated right on throne, treating an injured bull standing left before him, with his right hand holding the bull's raised right foreleg, C G H I P (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) in exergue; rare; $135.00 (114.75)


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Felicitas was the goddess or personification of happiness, good fortune, and success. She played an important role in Rome's state religion during the empire and was frequently portrayed on coins. She became a prominent symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the Roman Empire.
RS83948. Silver denarius, RSC II 805a, BMCRE IV 62, RIC III 15, Hunter II -, SRCV II -, gVF, centered on a tight flan, radiating flow lines, die wear, small edge cracks, weight 2.588 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 10 Dec 180 - 10 Dec 181 A.D.; obverse M ANTONINVS COMMODVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse TR P VI IMP IIII COS III P P, Felicitas standing facing, head left, raising caduceus in right hand, long grounded scepter near vertical in left hand; Numismatik Naumann, auction 62, lot 1105 (part of); $130.00 (110.50)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

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The elaborate Annona reverse composition reflects the special care Commodus took in supplying the much needed African grain to Rome (in fear of mob uprisings).
RS85777. Silver denarius, RSC II 467, Hunter II 24, RIC III 94, BMCRE IV 143 var. (obv. leg.), SRCV II -, VF, well centered, light toning, light marks and scratches, edge cracks, weight 3.376 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 184 A.D.; obverse M COMM ANTON AVG PIVS BRIT, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P VIIII IMP VII COS IIII P P, modius with six heads of barley, four upward in center and one hanging down on each side; ; $125.00 (106.25)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Caesarea, Cappadocia

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Mount Erciyes (Argaios to the Greeks, Argaeus to the Romans) is a massive stratovolcano located 25 km to the south of Kayseri (ancient Caesarea) in Turkey. The highest mountain in central Anatolia, with its summit reaching 3,916 meters (12,848 ft). It may have erupted as recently as 253 B.C., as may be depicted on Roman era coins. Strabo wrote that the summit was never free from snow and that those few who ascended it reported seeing both the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south in days with a clear sky.
RP87685. Silver didrachm, cf. RPC IV Online 10073; Metcalf Cappadocia 146a; SNGvA 6441; SNG Cop 250 var. (legends); Sydenham Cappadocia Supp. 370a var. (same); BMC Galatia -, aVF, frosty porous surfaces, bumps and marks, tine edge split, reverse legend ending in exergue is obscure, weight 3.343 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 0o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, COS III, 181 - 182 A.D.; obverse AYT M AYPH KOMO - ANTΩNINOC C, laureate head right; reverse UΠATOC Γ - ΠAT ΠA-[TP...(?)], Mount Argaios with rocks and trees, surmounted by Helios standing left on summit, globe in his right hand, long scepter in left hand; $120.00 (102.00)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Amphipolis, Macedonia

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Amphipolis was on the Via Egnatia, the principal Roman road crossing the southern Balkans. In 50, the apostle Paul visited Amphipolis on his way to Thessaloniki. Many Christian churches were built indicating prosperity, but the region grew increasingly dangerous. In the 6th century, the population had declined considerably and the old perimeter was no longer defensible against Slavic invasions. The lower city was plundered for materials to fortify the Acropolis. In the 7th century, a new wall was built, right through the bath and basilica, dividing the Acropolis. The remaining artisans moved to houses and workshops built in the unused cisterns of the upper city. In the 8th century, the last inhabitants probably abandoned the city and moved to nearby Chrysopolis (formerly Eion, once the port of Amphipolis).
RP83483. Bronze AE 24, RPC online IV 7653 (5 spec.), SNG Cop 109, SNG Evelpidis 1186, Varbanov III 3244 (R4) var. (obv. leg.), BMC Macedonia p. 57, 116 var. (same), aVF, well centered, bumps, areas of light corrosion, flan flaw (pit) obverse center, weight 8.624 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 180o, Amphipolis mint, c. 188 - 190 A.D.; obverse AVTOK M AVP KOMM ANTΩNEINON, laureate head right; reverse AMΦIΠOΛEITWN, Tyche seated left on high-backed throne, wearing crown of city walls, right leg drawn back, patera in extended right hand, left elbow on back of throne; $100.00 (85.00)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

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The Temple of Apollo Palatinus, on the Palatine Hill, was dedicated by Octavian on 9 October 28 B.C. in return for vows made for his victories over Sextus Pompeius at the Battle of Naulochus in 36 B.C. and over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium 31 B.C. It was built on a site where a lightning bolt had struck. Augustus' private house was directly connected to the terrace of the sanctuary. Ancient sources state the temple had ivory doors and held numerous works of sculpture. The remains were excavated in the 1960s.
RS85050. Silver denarius, Szaivert MIR 18 p.165, 805; BMCRE IV 271, pl. 97, 17 (aureus); RIC III 197 (S) var. (obv. leg.), RSC II 30 var. (same), Hunter II - (clv), F, dark deposits, rough, lamination defects, edge cracks, weight 2.082 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 189 A.D.; obverse M COMM ANT P FEL AVG BRIT P P, laureate head right; reverse APOLLINI PALATINO, Apollo Palatinus standing facing, head right, laureate and wearing long robe, plectrum in right hand, lyre resting on a column in left hand; there were only two specimens of this type in the Reka Devnia Hoard, and there are none on coin archives.; extremely rare; $100.00 (85.00)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Philadelphia, Decapolis, Syria

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In Greek mythology, Asteria (Greek: "Aστερια, "of the stars, starry one") is the Titan goddess of nocturnal oracles and falling stars. She is the daughter of the Titans Coeus (Polus) and Phoebe and the sister of Leto. Asteria is the mother of Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft and, in one account, the mother of Heracles. Asteria lived on Olympus, and like her sister Leto was beloved by Zeus. When Zeus pursued her in the form of an eagle, to escape his amorous advances, she transformed herself into a quail (ortux), flung herself into the Aegean Sea, and metamorphosed into the island Ortygia (quail island). In another version, after Asteria jumped into the sea, Poseidon pursued her. To escape him she transformed herself into the desert island of Delos.
RP86849. Bronze AE 19, RPC IV online 6648.3 (same dies, 6 spec.); SNG ANS 1395 (same dies); Sofaer 34 (same dies); Rosenberger IV 35; BMC Arabia, p. 40, 17; Spijkerman 32, VF, centered on a tight flan, a little rough, porous, edge cracks, weight 7.549 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Philadelphia (Amman, Jordan) mint, as caesar, c. 175 A.D.; obverse Λ AYP KOMMO∆OC KAIC, bare headed and draped bust right; reverse ΦIΛ K CY ΘEA ACTEPIA, draped and veiled bust of Asteria, star above; ; rare; $100.00 (85.00)




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

COMMANTAVGPBRIT
COMMANTFELAVGPBRIT
COMMODOCAESAVGFILGERM
COMMODOCAESAVGFILGERMSARM
COMMODVSCAESAVGFILGERM
DIVOCOMMODO
IMPCAESLAVRELCOMMODVSAVGGERMSARM
IMPCAESLAVRELCOMMODVSGERMSARM
IMPLAVRELCOMMAVGGERMSARM
IMPLAVRELCOMMODVSAVGGERMSARM
LAELAVRCOMAVGPF
LAELAVRELCOMMAVGPFEL
LAVRECOMMODVSAVG
LAVRELCOMMODVSAVG
LAVRELCOMMODVSAVGGERMSARM
LAVRELCOMMODVSAVGTRPIII
LAVRELCOMMODVSAVGTRPIIII
LCOMMODVSAVG
MANTONINVSCOMMODVSAVG
MAVRELANCOMMAVGPFEL
MCOMMANTAVGPBRIT
MCOMMANTAVGPBRITFEL
MCOMMANTPFELAVGBRIT
MCOMMANTPFELAVGBRITPP
MCOMMANTOAVGPIVSFEL
MCOMMANTAVGBRIT
MCOMMANTONAVGPIVSBRIT
MCOMMANTONVSPIVSBRIT
MCOMMODANTPFELIXAVGBRITPP
MCOMMODVSANTONAVGPIVS
MCOMMODVSANTONINVSAVG
MCOMMODVSANTONINVSAVGPIVS
MCOMMODVSANTPFELIXAVGBRIT


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calic, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayn, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. III: De Marco Aurelio a Caracalla (Del 161 d.C. al 217 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 3: Marcus Aurelius to Clodius Albinus. (Paris, 1883).
Mattingly, H. & E. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. III: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. (London, 1930).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 4: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. (London, 1940).
Mouchmov, N. Le Tresor Numismatique De Reka-Devnia (Marcianopolis). (Sofia, 1934).
Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE) http://numismatics.org/ocre/
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Szaivert, W. Die Mnzprgung der Kaiser Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus un Commodus (161-192). (Wien, 1984).
Seaby, H. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Toynbee, J. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, November 20, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Commodus