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193 A.D. - The Year of Five Emperors. On 1 January, the Senate selected Pertinax, against his will, to succeed the late Commodus as Emperor. The Praetorian Guard assassinated him on 28 March and auctioned the throne to the highest bidder, Didius Julianus, who offered 300 million sesterces. Outraged by the Praetorians, legions in Illyricum select Septimius Severus as emperor; in Britannia the legions select their governor Clodius Albinus, and in Syria the legions select their governor Pescennius Niger. On 1 June Septimius Severus entered the capital, put Julianus put to death and replaced the Praetorian Guard with his own troops. Clodius Albinus allied with Severus and accepted the title of Caesar. Pescennius Niger was defeated, killed and his head displayed in RomeSH89752. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 14a; Woodward, Didius, p. 79 (dies 11/E); Banti 1, Nice F, excellent portrait, attractive dark brown patina, typical tight flan, weight 18.230 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 28 Mar - 2 Jun 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M DID SEVER IVLIAN AVG, laureate head right; reverse CONCORD MILIT (harmony with the soldiers), Concordia Militum standing half left, head left, legionary aquila (eagle) standard in right hand, signum standard in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; ex CNG e-auction 276 (21 Mar 2012), lot 420 (sold for $2520 including buyer's fees); rare; $2200.00 (€1936.00)
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.
Following tradition, when young Nero was elevated to princeps juventutis (prince of youth) in 51 A.D., the equestrian order (Roman knights) gave him a silver buckler (a small round shield) and lances. Coins depicting these traditional gifts were issued for Caius and Lucius, when they were designated princeps juventutis in the time of Augustus. Aurei and denarii with the same types were struck for Nero at Rome. Due to the rarity of the type and the lack of S C on the reverse, it was long believed this type was funded by the knights for distribution as gifts to attendees at the event where Nero was given his buckler and lances. In SNR 63 (1984), von Kaenel re-attributed this type to a Thracian mint. A few dozen examples are know and some, according to RPC I, were found in Thrace.RB88176. Orichalcum sestertius, von Kaenel Thrakien, type A (unlisted dies); RIC I Claudius 108 (R4); BMCRE p. 195 note, pl. 37, 4; BnF II Claudius 288; Cohen I 99; see RPC I p. 311, aVF, dark brown near black patina, minor roughness, weight 26.001 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Balkan or Thracian mint, as caesar, 51 - 54 A.D.; obverse NERONI CLAVDIO DRVSO GERMANICO COS DESIG, bare headed and draped bust right; reverse EQVESTER / OR-DO / PRINCIPI / IVVENT in four lines on a buckler (small round shield), lance vertical behind; ex CNG e-sale 424 (11 Jul 2018), lot 434; ex CNG e-sale 174 (10 Oct 2007), lot 204; ex CNG auction 67 (22 Sep 2004), lot 1316; ex Michael Weller Collection; very rare; $1620.00 (€1425.60)
Revolt Against Nero, Gaius Iulius Vindex, Governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, c. Late 67 - May 68 A.D.
Struck by Gaius Iulius Vindex, the Roman governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, who rebelled against Nero's tax policy and declared allegiance to Galba, the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, as the new emperor. Vindex was defeated and killed in battle near Vesontio (modern Besancon), but the military continued to support Galba. On 9 June 68, deserted by the Praetorian Guard, Nero stabbed himself in the throat.RS88405. Silver denarius, Unpublished, civil war restitution of Augustus, only three examples known to Forum, all share the same obverse die, two reverse dies known, VF, rainbow toning, lamination defects, porosity, scratches, edge split, weight 3.280 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain (Lugdunum?) mint, c. late 67 - May 68 A.D.; obverse [CAESAR], bare head of Augustus right; reverse AVGVSTVS, young bull walking right, head turned facing; found in Spain; $1350.00 (€1188.00)
Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C., L. Aemilus Buca
"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 (€1188.00)
Roman Civil War, Vitellius, c. 69 A.D.
This coin is M71 in Butcher, K. & M. Pointing, The Metallurgy of Roman Silver Coinage: From the Reform of Nero to the Reform of Trajan (Cambridge, 2015). There is a tiny drill hole on the edge where silver was extracted for testing. This was an important coin in the study, with test results indicating 93.9% silver bullion and Gallic isotope ratios strongly suggesting similarity with other Vitellius coins from Gallia, not coins minted for Galba.RS86684. Silver denarius, Butcher-Pointing M71 (this coin), RIC I Civil Wars 121, BMCRE I 65, RSC I Galba 363, BnF I 75, Martin 7, EF, toned, tight flan, light corrosion, test drill hole on edge, weight 3.127 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Southern Gaul(?) mint, c. 69 A.D.; obverse clasped hands, FIDES above, EXERCITVVM below; reverse clasped hands, FIDES above, PRAETORIANORVM curving along the edge below; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Helios, auction 4 (Munich, 14 Oct 2009), lot 270; ex Coll. A. Lynn collection; ex Classical Numismatic Group, auction 54 (14 June 2000), lot 1484; ex P. DeVicci collection; rare; $1300.00 (€1144.00)
Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D., Alexandria Troas, Troas
The representation of the decurions of Alexandria depicted on the reverse of this type is unique within the Roman provincial series. The decurions were members of municipal senates responsible for procuring funds for new public works, festivities and games, as well as for welfare networks. Their fiscal responsibilities also extended to the collecting of imperial taxes, for which they were expected to cover any shortfalls.RP87204. Bronze AE 22, RPC IX 432 (12 spec.); Bellinger A409; SNG Çanakkale 376; BMC Troas p. 27, 145; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, aVF, dark green patina, reverse slightly off center, tiny encrustations, some legend weak, edge cracks, weight 4.586 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria Troas (Eski Stambul, Turkey) mint, Jun/Jul 251 - Jul/Aug 253 A.D.; obverse IMP C VIBI TRIBO GALLVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse The curia decurionum of Alexandria in session: nine men wearing togas seated in a semicircle, two outer men seated on curule chairs, two in center holding short staffs, AVG above, two steps below, ALEXAND on upper step, decorative pattern on lower step, TROADA in exergue; ex Roma Numismatics, e-sale 40 (28 Oct 2017), lot 429; very rare; $1300.00 (€1144.00)
Britannicus, Son of Claudius and Messalina, b. 12 February 41 - d. 11 February 55 A.D., Alabanda, Caria
Of this type, RPC I notes, "Uncertain. This coin was published by Mi 3.307.22, and is known from a Mionnet cast. The coin [the Mionnet specimen] has been tooled ('médaille retourchée') but may perhaps represent a genuine denomination." Our coin allays the RPC I doubts. The denomination is 1/3 of 18.5g RPC I 2818.SH88430. Orichalcum AE 23, RPC I 2821 (= Mionnet III, p. 307, 22), F, porous, weight 6.496 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alabanda (near Doganyurt, Turkey) mint, 50 - 54 A.D.; obverse KΛAV∆IOC BPETANNIKOC KAIΣAP, bare-headed and draped bust right; reverse AΛABAN∆EΩN, Apollo Kissios standing left, nude, bow in right hand with raven on top, sheep standing left at feet on left ; ex FORVM (2013), ex J. S. Wagner Collection; of greatest rarity; $1100.00 (€968.00)
Constantine II, 22 May 337 - March or April 340 A.D.
All the references list this type with the reverse legend ending CAES, but our coin's reverse legend ends CAESAR. RIC lists only officina Z and Θ. Most of the officina number is off flan, but our coin does not appear to be either. There is possibly a pellet at the beginning of the mintmark, a possibility is not in the references. We are uncertain if the this is a variation of the referenced types or if the references are in error. We could not locate even one plate or online photo of another specimen of this type to compare. There are three auctions of this type on recorded on Coin Archives, but all of them are for this exact same coin.SH89742. Silver siliqua, RIC VII Constantinople 127 var. (CAES), RSC V 72 var. (same), SRCV V 17087 var. (same), Hunter V -, gVF, attractive youthful portrait with eyes to God, toned, light marks, weight 2.622 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, 9th Officina(?), Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 336 A.D.; obverse Constantine diademed right, looking up to God, no inscription; reverse CONSTANTINVS CAESAR, Victory walking left, wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand, CONS[...] in exergue; ex Heritage auction 271848 (2 Dec 2018), lot 36228; ex CNG sale 84 (5 May 2010), lot 1531; ex CNG Triton XIII (5 Jan 2010), lot 1523; ex White Mountain Collection; extremely rare; $1000.00 (€880.00)
Didius Julianus, 28 March - 2 June 193 A.D.
Didius Julianus was born in 133 A.D. and followed a military career. He rose to the rank of legion commander, then Consul and Proconsul of Africa. After Pertinax was murdered, the Praetorian Guard (the emperor's personal bodyguard force) advertised that they were offering the throne to the highest bidder. If not the richest, Didius Julianus was one the richest men in Rome and offered 25,000 sestertii for each man! The Roman people were incensed by the auction and several provincial governors rose up against him. As Septimius Severus approached Rome, only 66 days into his reign, Didius Julianus was betrayed and beheaded by the Praetorians. Coins of Didius Julianus are very rare due to his short reign.SH89750. Silver denarius, RIC IV 1 (R3), RSC III 2, BMCRE V 2, SRCV II 6072, Hunter III -, F, excellent portrait for the grade, nice toning, legible legends, small edge cracks, weight 2.859 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 28 Mar - late May 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M DID IVLIAN AVG, laureate head right; reverse CONCORD MILIT (harmony with the soldiers), Concordia standing half-left, legionary aquila (eagle) standard in right hand, signum standard in left hand; very rare; $850.00 (€748.00)
Pescennius Niger, April to 1 June 193 - March, April or May 194 A.D.
Fortuna (equivalent to the Greek goddess Tyche) goddess of fortune, was the personification of luck. Fortuna Redux brought one safely home, in this case the emperor. The Romans believed that Fortuna, after deserting the Persians and Assyrians, took flight over Macedonia and saw Alexander perish as she passed into Syria and Egypt. At last arriving on Mount Palatine, she threw aside her wings and casting away her wheel (the wheel of fortune), entered Rome where she took up her abode forever. SH89845. Silver denarius, cf. RIC IV 23 (R3), RIC III 23, BMCRE V 301, SRCV II 6107, Hunter III -, VF, some roughness, weight 2.668 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, Apr/1 Jun 193 - Mar/May 194 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES C PES[CE NIGER IVSTI A] (or similar), laureate head right; reverse FORTVNAE RED, Fortuna seated left on throne, kalathos on head, holding rudder by tiller in right hand, double cornucopia in left hand; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 72 (2 Dec 2018), lot 533; very rare; $850.00 (€748.00)