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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The ImperatorsView Options:  |  |  |   

Coins of the Roman Imperators

Mark Antony and Octavia, 39 B.C., Ephesos, Ionia

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The obverse legend abbreviates Consul Designatus, Iterum et Tertium, meaning Consul Elect for the second and third time. The reverse legend abbreviates Triumvir Reipublicae Constituendae, the title adopted in November of 43 B.C. by the three Caesarian leaders (Mark Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus) when they formed the Second Triumvirate to oppose the tyrannicides Brutus and Cassius.
SH86609. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, RPC I 2202, Sydenham 1198, Crawford 263, RSC Octavia and M. Antony 3, Sear CRI 263, BMCRR East 135, SRCV I 1513, Choice gVF, toned, well centered, some die wear and rust, scratches, weight 11.723 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, summer - autumn 39 B.C.; obverse M ANTONIVS IMP COS DESIG ITER ET TERT (Consul Elect for the 2nd and 3rd time), conjoined head of Antony and bust of Octavia right, Antony nearer and wreathed in ivy, Octavia draped; reverse Dionysus standing half left on cista mystica, in his right hand, thyrsus in his left hand, flanked by two interlaced snakes with heads erect, III VIR (triumvir) downward on left, R P C (Reipublicae Constituendae) upward on right; $2700.00 (2295.00)


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C., L. Aemilus Buca

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"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. 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 Theater 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." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH89754. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/7b, Sydenham 1062, Sear CRI 104a, RSC I Julius Caesar 24, Russo RBW 1682, BMCRR I Rome 4155, SRCV I 1410, aEF, toned, light marks, off center, irregular flan with edge splits , weight 3.780 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, struck by L. Aemilus Buca, Rome mint, lifetime issue, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse Venus seated left, Victory in extended right, long transverse scepter in left hand, L:BVCA downward behind; ex CNG e-auction 353 (17 Jun 2015), lot 409; rare; $1350.00 (1147.50)


Roman Republic, Julius Caesar, Posthumous, 42 B.C., Moneyer L. Livineius Regulus

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L. Livineius Regulus had served with Caesar in North Africa.
SH87936. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1425, Crawford 494/24, Sear CRI 115, Sydenham 1106, RSC I 27, BMCRR Rome 4274, F, iridescent rainbow toning, well centered, banker's mark, weight 3.462 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, 42 B.C.; obverse wreathed head of Julius Caesar right, laurel branch behind, winged caduceus before; reverse L LIVINEIVS / REGVLVS, bull charging right; rare; $610.00 (518.50)


Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, 161 - 169 A.D., Mark Antony Restitution

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"Restitution" issue by Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus commemorating the famous legionary denarii of Marc Antony. The legion VI Ferrata, the "Ironclad", was an old legion of Caesar's that fought for Antony. It must have been chosen for the restitution for its presumably key-role during Verus' successful Parthian campaign.
RS89768. Silver denarius, BMCRE IV p. 456, 500; RIC III p. 248, 443; MIR 18 120-4; RSC I Antony 83; Cohen I Antony 83; SRCV II p. 341, 5236, choice gVF, excellent centering, toning, flow lines, some die wear, small coppery spots, weight 3.031 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 165 - 166 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVGVR III VIR R P C, war galley, five oarsman visible, rowing left over waves, helmsman and rudder in stern; reverse ANTONINVS ET VERVS AVG REST, aquila (legionary eagle) in center, eagle turned right, between two legionary standards, standard on right surmounted by Victory standing left and extending wreath, LEG - VI across center divided by aquila; rare; $450.00 (382.50)


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

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This coin declares Caesar as dictator for the second time, consul for the third time, augur and pontifex maximus. The head of Ceres refers to the grain producing wealth delivered to Rome by his victory in Africa. The D (and on similar coins an M) indicates this type was struck to be distributed as a donativum (largess) or munus (gift) to his legions. Some may have been distributed at Caesar's quadruple triumph celebrated in 46 B.C. when celebrations included public banquets, plays, and gladiatorial games, lasting forty days. Vercingetorix was paraded and executed. Also in 46 B.C., Caesar made his nephew Octavian his heir. Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt, Caesar's mistress, and Caesarion, his bastard son by her, moved into one of his residences on the Tiber. They would remain in Rome as Caesar's guests until his assassination on 15 March 44 B.C.
SH89771. Silver denarius, Crawford 467/1b, Sear CRI 57a, Sydenham 1024, RSC I 4, Russo RBW 1638, BMCRR Africa 23, SRCV I 1403, Choice F, well centered, light toning, banker's marks, weight 3.783 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 105o, African, Utica(?) mint, Jan - Apr 46 B.C.; obverse DICT ITER - COS TERT (counterclockwise from lower right, dictator for the 2nd time, consul for the third time), head of Ceres right, wreathed with grain; reverse implements of the augurate and pontificate: simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), capis (jug), and lituus (wand), AVGVR (augur) above, below M (munus = gift) to right, PONT MAX (pontifex maximus) below; $450.00 (382.50)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C.

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Sol's radiate crown has been inexplicably erased by gouging and scratching. It is difficult to fathom why. Was some Roman angry because Sol failed to answer his prayer? Was it a devote of Apollo who felt that Sol was a false sun god? Did a devote of Sol take his wife as a lover? Who knows?
SH89840. Silver denarius, BMCRR II East 89 (also beardless, smaller head), RSC I 70a, Crawford 496/3, Sear CRI 129, Sydenham 1169 (very scarce), SRCV I 1468, aVF, the radiate crown of Sol has been inexplicably erased by gouging and scratching, edge cracks, weight 3.673 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, Autumn 42 B.C.; obverse bare head of Mark Antony right, beardless, small head, IMP upward over lituus behind; reverse M ANTONIVS III VIR R P C (clockwise from upper right), radiate head of Sol right; military mint traveling with Antony in Greece and Asia; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73 (6 Jan 2019), lot 443; this is the first example of this smaller head variety handled by Forum; very rare; $440.00 (374.00)


Roman Republic, L. Sulla and L. Manlius Torquatus, 82 B.C.

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L. Manlius Torquatus was proquaestor to Sulla during the Mithridatic war (he was later Consul - 65 B.C.); this issue was struck for the civil war in Italy 82 B.C.
RR89777. Silver denarius, Crawford 367/5; Sydenham 757; RSC I Manlia 4; BMCRR II p. 461, 5; Russo RBW 1386; SRCV I 286, VF, well centered, light toning, light marks, small edge cracks, weight 3.898 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 270o, military mint, 82 B.C.; obverse head of Roma right, PRO Q (proquaestor) downward behind, L MANLI upward before; reverse Sulla walking in a quadriga right, reins in right hand, caduceus in left hand, crowned by Victory flying left above, L SVLLA IM (imperator) in exergue; $320.00 (272.00)


Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, 161 - 169 A.D., Mark Antony Restitution

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"Restitution" issue by Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus commemorating the famous legionary denarii of Marc Antony. The legion VI Ferrata, the "Ironclad", was an old legion of Caesar's that fought for Antony. It must have been chosen for the restitution for its presumably key-role during Verus' successful Parthian campaign.
RS89767. Silver denarius, BMCRE IV p. 456, 501; RIC III p. 248, 443; MIR 18 120-4; RSC I Antony 83; Cohen I Antony 83; SRCV II p. 341, 5236, VF, toned, some shallow scratches, small edge split, weight 3.329 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 165 - 166 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVGVR III VIR R P C, war galley, four oarsman visible, rowing left over waves; reverse ANTONINVS ET VERVS AVG REST, aquila (legionary eagle) in center, eagle turned left, between two legionary standards, LEG - VI in center above exergue line divided by aquila; e CNG e-auction 401 (12 Jul 2017), lot 539; ex collection of a Texas Wine Doctor; rare; $200.00 (170.00)


Augustus, c. 27 B.C. - 14 A.D. (Possibly Later), Thessalonica, Macedonia, Julius Caesar Reverse

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RPC tentatively dates the type to the reign of Augustus but notes that Touratsoglou dates it to the reign of Domitian (13 Sep 81 - 18 Sep 96 A.D.) particularly based on the die axis and letter forms.
RP87199. Bronze AE 19, Touratsoglou Domitian 26 (V3/R17); RPC I 1555; BMC Macedonia p. 115, 60; SNG Cop 399, aF, green patina, square flan, bumps and scratches, weight 6.406 g, maximum diameter 21.74 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, c. 27 B.C. - 14 A.D. (Possibly later); obverse ΘEOC, bare head of Julius Caesar right; reverse ΘECCAΛONI KEΩN, bare head of Augustus right; $140.00 (119.00)


Gnaeus Pompey Junior, Imperator, 47 - 45 B.C., Son of Pompey the Great

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After the murder of his father, Gnaeus Pompey Magnus Junior and his brother Sextus joined the resistance against Caesar in Africa. Together with Metellus Scipio, Cato the Younger and other senators, they prepared to oppose Caesar and his army. Caesar defeated Metellus Scipio and Cato, who subsequently committed suicide, at the Battle of Thapsus in 46 B.C. Gnaeus escaped to the Balearic Islands, where he joined Sextus. Together with Titus Labienus, former general in Caesar's army, the Pompey brothers crossed over to the Hispania, where they raised yet another army. Caesar soon followed and, on 17 March 45 B.C., the armies met in the battle of Munda. Both armies were large and led by able generals. The battle was closely fought, but eventually a cavalry charge by Caesar turned events to his side. In the battle and the panicked escape that followed, Titus Labienus and an estimated 30,000 men of the Pompeian side died. Gnaeus and Sextus managed to escape once again. However, this time, supporters were difficult to find because it was now clear Caesar had won the civil war. Within a few weeks, Gnaeus Pompeius was caught and executed for treason.
RR88023. Leaded bronze as, Crawford 471/1, Sydenham 1040, RPC I 486, BMCRR Spain 84, RBW Collection, 1646, Sear CRI 53, Cohen I 16, SRCV I 1386, aF, tight irregular flan, porosity, scratches, earthen deposits, weight 23.139 g, maximum diameter 30.9 mm, die axis 90o, Hispania probably Tarraco (Tarragona, Spain) mint, 46 - 45 B.C.; obverse laureate and bearded head of Janus, I above; reverse prow of galley right, I right, CN MAG (MA ligate) above, IMP below; scarce; $60.00 (51.00)




  



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REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Carson, R. Principal Coins of the Romans, Vol. I: The Republic, c. 290-31 BC. (London, 1978).
Crawford, M. Roman Republican Coinage. (Cambridge, 1974).
Grueber, H.A. Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum. (London, 1910).
Rutter, N.K. ed. Historia Numorum. Italy. (London, 2001).
Seaby, H.A., D. Sear, & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Volume I, The Republic to Augustus. (London, 1989).
Sear, D. R. The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators 49 - 27 BC. (London, 1998).
Sear, D. R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sydenham, E. The Coinage of the Roman Republic. (London, 1952).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, May 22, 2019.
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The Imperators