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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Roman RaritiesView Options:  |  |  |   

Rare Roman Coins

Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D.

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This is the rarest Otho denarius type and one of the rarest 1st century Roman denarii. Only two museums, Paris and ANS, hold examples. A further specimen was found in archeological context in Denmark in 1990s. Besides these, four additional specimens are known. This coin has the best portrait and is clearly the most attractive of the seven known. Jyrki Muona obtained it in 2002 at the NYINC from Glenn Woods.

Otho minted three separate issues. The first and second issues followed Galba's standard of 90% silver. Otho's third issue was debased to 80% silver. All coins of the third issue share the reverse legend PONT MAX, perhaps to make it easy to distinguish the debased coins. One might think our rare coin is a reverse legend error for Otho's third issue, PONT MAX Ceres type. However, as Butcher et al. have shown, this is not the case. If CERES AVG was a simple reverse legend error, the flan would be 80% silver. This CERES AVG type was struck in a second issue of 90% silver flans, probably during planning for the third issue, and perhaps only for testing. The type was apparently not distributed, and was withdrawn, and melted when it was decided to debase the coinage and use the PONT MAX legend. It appears a small number were released, most likely by mistake.
RS85563. Silver denarius, Muona Otho 10b; Butcher-Ponting-Muona 6; ANSCD 1958.217.1; BnF III 1; RIC I 1 (R3, 7 spec. known, all minted with the same die-pair), Nice VF, the best portrait and most attractive of the seven known specimens, light rose toning, a few light marks and spots of porosity, weight 3.272 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 9 Mar - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TRP, bare head right; reverse CERES AVG, Ceres standing left, grain-ears raised in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; rarest Otho denarius type; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Glenn Woods (NYINC, 2002); $5000.00 SALE PRICE $4500.00


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Philippopolis, Thrace

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Nomos described this coin as, "An extraordinary piece, especially with remains of its original silver plating. Some marks from cleaning, otherwise, about extremely fine."
SH85458. Silvered medallion, okatassarion or quinarius; SNG Cop 784; Varbanov III 1721 (R8); Mionnet I, p. 419, 358 (R6); Mouchmov 5428 (all same dies), aEF, cleaning marks, areas of light corrosion, weight 38.718 g, maximum diameter 40.8 mm, die axis 15o, Philippopolis mint, 218 - 222 A.D.; obverse AYT K M AYPΛ ANTΩNEINOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed three-quarter length bust of Elagabalus left; reverse MHTPOΠOΛEΩC ΦIΛIΠΠOΠOΛEΩC NEΩ KOPOY, youthful Herakles standing left, nude but for lion's skin draped around his left forearm, resting his right hand on the handle of a club set on the ground and holding an apple in his left hand; ex Nomos AG, auction 10 (18 May 2015), lot 115 (realized approximately $4686 including buyers fee); extremely rare; $3400.00 SALE PRICE $3060.00


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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Gaius Licinius Mucianus (named on this coin) was governor of Syria. When he failed to put down the Jewish revolt, Vespasian was sent to replace him. After the death of Galba, Mucianus and Vespasian both swore allegiance to Otho. Mucianus persuaded Vespasian to take up arms against Vitellius, who had seized the throne. They agreed Vespasian would settle affairs in the East, while Mucianus made would attack Vitellius. On his way to Rome, Mucianus defeated a Dacian invasion of Moesia. Mucianus reached Rome the day after Vitellius' death. Mucianus never wavered in his allegiance to Vespasian and was appointed consul for the third time in 72. As no mention is made of Mucianus during the reigns of Titus or Domitian, he probably died during the reign of Vespasian.
RP85562. Bronze AE 28, McAlee 319 (ex. rare, same dies), cf. RPC 4316 (not specifying obverse legend direction), aVF, nice portrait, dark patina with buff earthen highlighting, spots of light corrosion, obverse legend mostly weak or off flan, weight 11.757 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse [IMP M OT]-HO - [CAE AVG] (counterclockwise from upper left), head laureate right, dot in field behind; reverse EΠI / MOYKIA/NOY AN/TIOXEΩ/N ET ZIP (legate Mucianus, of Antioch, year 117) in five lines within a linear circle in a laurel wreath; this variant with a counterclockwise obverse legend is extremely rare; ex Gemini auction XIII (6 Apr 2017), lot 158, ex Jyrki Muona Collection; $2250.00 SALE PRICE $2025.00


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Otho ruled for just a few months. The mint of Alexandria struck coins with his name, though the portrait bears little resemblance to those of the other mints. It is possible that Alexandria produced coins without having an image of the new emperor.
RP84745. Bronze hemidrachm, RPC I 5364 (3 spec.); Geissen 257; Dattari 336; BMC Alexandria 26, 217; Milne 376; SNG BnF 710; Kampmann-Ganschow 18.13; Emmett 189 (R4); SNG Milan -, F, attractive brown tone, flan crack, light scratches, smoothing, weight 16.768 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 69 A.D.; obverse AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, beveled edge; reverse bust of Nilus right, wearing papyrus diadem, cornucopia behind right shoulder, date LA (year 1) before; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $1300.00 SALE PRICE $1170.00


Roman Republic, Aes Formatum, 4th Century B.C.

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Called aes formatum by Haeberlin, this very rare bronze currency was a precursor to the issues of aes grave but later than aes rude. Presumably, molten bronze-iron alloy was poured into a shallow hole in the dirt. This left a disc-shaped metal mound with a flat reverse. Broken examples are much more common than complete ones like this.
RT11424. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, Haeberlin p. 4, pl. 2.7; 1.196kg, 137mm, Italian mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse convex obverse; reverse flat reverse; the denarius is included in the photograph to indicate the size, it is not included with the aes formatum; very rare; $900.00 SALE PRICE $810.00


Didius Julianus, 28 March - 2 June 193 A.D.

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Coins of Didius Julianus are rare due to his short reign. An average well preserved Didius Julianus denarius weighs 2.99 grams.
SH85589. Silver denarius, RIC IV 3 (R3), RSC III 15, BMCRE V 7, SRCV II 6074, Hunter III -, gF, nicely toned, centered on a tight flan, weight 3.056 g, maximum diameter 9.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 28 Mar - late May 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M DID IVLIAN AVG, laureate head right; reverse RECTOR ORBIS (Master of the World), Didius Julianus standing slightly left, head left, togate, globe in extended right hand, scroll in left hand at side; very rare; $900.00 SALE PRICE $810.00


Roman Republic, Aes Formatum, 4th Century B.C.

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Called aes formatum by Haeberlin, this very rare bronze currency was a precursor to the issues of aes grave but later than aes rude. Presumably, molten bronze-iron alloy was poured into a shallow hole in the dirt. This left a disc-shaped metal mound with a flat reverse. Broken examples are much more common than complete ones like this.
RT11873. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, Haeberlin p. 4, pl. 2.7; 1.273kg, 124mm, Italian mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse convex obverse; reverse flat reverse; the denarius is included in the photograph to indicate the size, it is not included with the aes formatum; very rare; $800.00 SALE PRICE $720.00


Antonia, Daughter of Mark Antony, Wife of Nero Drusus, Mother of Claudius, Grandmother of Caligula

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Antonia was the daughter of Marc Antony and Octavia, the wife of Nero Drusus, the mother of Claudius, and a grandmother of Caligula. Renowned for her beauty and virtue, Antonia was revered by the Roman people. She was probably poisoned by Caligula or committed suicide. She never loved her son Claudius, calling him a monster and a fool, but he posthumously made her Augusta in 41 A.D. and issued all her coinage.
SH68887. Silver denarius, RIC I Claudius 66, BMCRE I Claudius 111, Cohen 2, SRCV I 1900, F, toned, weight 3.717 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, struck under Claudius, c. 41 - 42 A.D.; obverse ANTONIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, wearing barley wreath; reverse CONSTANTIAE AVGVSTI (consistency of the emperor), Antonia standing facing, draped as Constantia, long torch in right, cornucopia in left; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; rare (R2); $790.00 SALE PRICE $711.00


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.

Ops, more properly Opis, (Latin: "Plenty") was a fertility deity and earth-goddess in Roman mythology of Sabine origin.
SH85565. Silver denarius, RIC IV 8a (R2); RSC III 33; BMCRE V p. 4, 19; Hunter III 6; SRCV II 6045, VF, excellent portrait, tight flan, light marks, corrosion, edge cracks, weight 3.100 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES P HELV PERTIN AVG, laureate head right; reverse OPI DIVIN TR P COS II, Ops (plenty) seated left on throne with ornamented back, two stalks of grain in right hand, leaning back on left hand resting on the edge of the seat behind; rare; $750.00 SALE PRICE $675.00


Thermae Himerenses, Sicily, c. Late 2nd - Early 1st Century B.C.

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The poet Tisias, better known as Stesichorus (meaning 'choral master'), lived in Himera. When the Carthaginians destroyed Himera in 409 B.C., most of the survivors settled seven miles away at Thermae Himerenses. Even after the change of location and into the Roman period they considered Tisias their most famous citizen (or perhaps second to Agathokles the tyrant of Syracusan who was born at Thermae).

Calciati notes this type is rare and especially rare in better condition because the type, along with many Sicilian issues of the Roman period, was struck with low quality metal highly susceptible to corrosion.
GB85695. Bronze AE 26, Calciati I p. 120, 18; BMC Sicily p. 84, 9; HGC 2 1616 (R2); SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -; SNG Munchen -; SNG Morcom -, VF, green patina, porosity, light corrosion, reverse a little off center, weight 12.564 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 90o, Thermai Himeraiai (Termini Imerese, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. late 2nd - early 1st Century B.C.; obverse turreted and veiled head of Tyche right, cornucopia behind; reverse ΘEPMITAN IMEPAIΩN, The poet Tisias (Stesichoros) standing right, long staff leaning against his right shoulder, with his right hand he is inscribing a poem on a wax tablet held in his left hand; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 2 (2 Nov 2013), lot 28; very rare; $550.00 (Ä467.50)




  



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Roman Rarities