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Large bronze provided the finest canvas for ancient master celators to illustrate their artistry. Superb sestertius and medallions often obtain higher prices than even rare gold coins.
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.
Nero considered himself an artist, perhaps he was and took an interest in his coinage - the sestertii of Nero are considered by many to be the finest numismatic art of the Roman Empire.RB84073. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC I 443 (S), Mac Dowall WCN 428, Giard Lyon 119, BnF II 83, Cohen I 262, BMCRE I -, Hunter I -, SGCV I -, VF, finestyle, excellent portrait, attractive brown toning, obverse slightly off center, some light corrosion, weight 25.990 g, maximum diameter 35.0 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum mint, 65 A.D.; obverseNEROCLAVDCAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate head left, globe at point of neck; reverseRoma seated left on cuirass and shields, wearing helmet and military garb, Victory in offering wreath in her right hand, her left hand resting on parazonium at side, right foot drawn back and resting on helmet, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field at center, ROMA in exergue; $1450.00 SALE PRICE $1305.00
Macrinus, 11 April 217 - 8 June 218 A.D.
Macrinus was Praetorian Prefect for Caracalla but arranged Caracalla's assassination and seized power. He and his son were accepted by the senate. The Syrian legions, inspired by Julia Maesa, Caracalla's aunt, revolted after he concluded an unfavorable peace with the Persians. He was defeated and executed.SL84525. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC IV 139 (S), BMCRE V 120 var. (also draped, noted), Cohen IV 66 71, SRCV II 7386, Hunter III -, Ch VF, strike 5/5, surface 5/5 (4373010-005), lovely mahogany tone with lighter tones on the high points, weight 20.5 g, maximum diameter 31 mm, die axis 15o, Rome mint, 11 Apr 217 - 31 Dec 217 A.D.; obverseIMP CAES M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassedbust right, from the front; reversePONTIF MAX TR P COS P P (high priest, tribune of the people, consul, father of the country), Felicitas standing facing, head left, long caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, drapery over left arm, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; NGC Certified, ex Stacks-Bowers; $990.00 SALE PRICE $891.00
Galba, 3 April 68 - 15 January 69 A.D.
The pileus liberatis was a soft felt cap worn by liberated slaves of Troy and Asia Minor. In late Republican Rome, the pileus was symbolically given to slaves upon manumission, granting them not only their personal liberty, but also freedom as citizens with the right to vote (if male). Following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., Brutus and his co-conspirators used the pileus to signify the end of Caesar's dictatorship and a return to a Republican system of government. The pileus was adopted as a popular symbol of freedom during the French Revolution and was also depicted on some early U.S. coins.SH84074. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC I 388 (S), BMCRE I 70, Cohen I 112, Cayon I 54, SRCV I 2118 var. (laureate head right), Hunter I 23 var. (same), aVF, excellent portrait, attractive dark sea-green patina, shallow old cuts on the reverse, areas of corrosion, weight 23.372 g, maximum diameter 35.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. Oct 68 A.D; obverse SER GALBA IMP CAESARAVG TR P, laureate and draped bust right; reverseLIBERTAS PVBLICA (freedom of the people), Liberty standing half left, pileus liberatis in right hand, rod in left hand and cradled in left arm, S - C (Senatus Consulto) flanking across field at center; scarce; $640.00 SALE PRICE $576.00
Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.
Virtus is the personification of valor and courage. Valor was, of course, essential for the success of a Roman emperor and Virtus was one of the embodiments of virtues that were part of the Imperial cult. During his joint reign with his father, Gallienus proved his courage in battle; but his failure to liberate his father from Persian captivity was perceived as cowardice and a disgrace to the Emperor and Empire. It was not, however, actually fear that prevented a rescue. While others mourned Valerian's fate, Gallienus rejoiced in his new sovereignty.RB76153. Orichalcumsestertius, GŲbl MIR 38dd, RIC V 248, Cohen V 1293, Hunter IV 33, SRCV III 10495, Nice gVF, excellent portrait, green patina, tight flan cutting off much legend, weight 10.962 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 253 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS AVG, laureate and cuirassedbust right; reverseVIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), Virtus standing left, wearing crested helmet and military garb, right resting hand on grounded shield, inverted spear vertical behind in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $630.00 SALE PRICE $567.00
Sabina, Augusta 128 - c. 136 A.D., Wife of Hadrian
Pudicitia, modesty and chastity, was for Romans the highest regarded female virtue. For an unmarried girl, pudicitia meant virginity. For a wife, it meant faithfulness and devotion to her husband. Romans loved the story of Arria, an ultimate example of Roman pudicitia. When the emperor Claudius ordered her husband Paetus to end his own life, he hesitated. Arria took his dagger and stabbed herself to set an example, saying, "Paetus, it doesn't hurt."SH73695. Bronze sestertius, RIC IIHadrian 1032(c) (S), Hunter II 32, Cohen II 61, BMCRE IIIHadrian 1877 var. (diadem vice wreath), SRCV II 3937, aVF, excellent portrait, well centered, green patina, marks and scratches, some corrosion, weight 23.691 g, maximum diameter 33.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 135 A.D.; obverseSABINAAVGVSTA HADRIANI AVG P P, draped bust right, wearing wreath of grain, hair in long plait falling down back of neck and roll above wreath in front; reversePVDICITIA, Pudicitia seated left on high-backed throne, veiled and draped, feet on footstool, right hand on breast (raising to lips), left hand in lap, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; old anonymous dealer or collector tag in Italian; scarce; $600.00 SALE PRICE $540.00
Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - April or August 253 A.D.
This scarcetype commemorates Trebonianus Gallus' decennalian vows, prayers and sacrifices he made to the gods that they might help him successfully achieve his tenth anniversary of rule. In a religious context, votum, plural vota, is a vow or promise made to a deity. The word comes from the past participle of voveo, vovere; as the result of the verbal action, a vow, or promise. It may refer also to the fulfillment of this vow, that is, the thing promised. The votum is thus an aspect of the contractual nature of Roman religion and sacrifice, a bargaining expressed by "do ut des" (I give that you might give).RB76162. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC 127a (R), Cohen V 137 (10 fr.), Hunter III 29, Banti 38, SRCV III 9683, VF, nice portrait, nice patina, well centered on a crowded flan, weight 17.910 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, special emission, August - October 251 A.D.; obverseIMP CAES C VIBIVS TREBONIANVS GALLVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverseVOTIS / DECENNA / LIBVS / S C in four lines within laurel wreath tied at the bottom and closed with a jewel at the top; rarities; $600.00 SALE PRICE $540.00
Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.
In late summer or fall of 161, Vologases IV of Parthia captured the Roman client Kingdom of Armenia, expelled its king and installed his own; Pacorus, an Arsacid like himself. In 162, Lucius Verus began the war to recover Armenia and exact vengence. Rome recovered the Armenian capital Artaxata in 163. At the end of 163, Verus took the title Armeniacus, despite having never personally seen combat. Marcus Aurelius initially declined to accept the title, but accepted it in 164. Unfortunately the victorious army returned bringing a pandemic known as the Antonine Plague, which significantly depopulated and greatly weakened the Roman Empire.RB83578. Orichalcumsestertius, BMCRE IV 1092; RIC III 890 corr. (standard & shieldrev. r.), Cohen III 984 corr. (same), MIR 18 95, Cayon III 464, SRCV II 5013, Hunter II -, VF, well centered on a tight flan, green patina, light scrape on obverse high point, some corrosion, weight 23.68 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 164 - Aug 165 A.D.; obverse M AVREL ANTONINVS AVG ARMENIACVS P M, laureate head right; reverseVICT AVG TR P XVIII IMP IICOS III, Victory standing half right, trophy transverse upward to right in both hands, mourning Armenian captive at feet on right, captive seated right with head propped on right hand and left hand on ground, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; $580.00 SALE PRICE $522.00
Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon, 344 - 336 B.C.
Threatened by Carthage and dominated by Hiketas, the tyrant of Leontini, Syracusans sent an appeal for help to their mother city, Corinth. By a unanimous vote Corinth selected Timoleon to set sail for Sicily with a few leading citizens of Corinth and a small troop of Greek mercenaries. After defeating Hiketas, Timoleon put order to Syracuse' affairs and established a democratic government. He repelled Carthage in several wars, ending with a treaty which divided the island. Timoleon then retired without any title or office, though he remained practically supreme. He became blind before his death, but when important issues were under discussion he was carried to the assembly to give his opinion, which was usually accepted. When he died the citizens of Syracuse erected a monument to his memory, afterward surrounded with porticoes, and a gymnasium called Timoleonteum.GI83514. Bronze hemidrachm, Calciati II p. 168, 72 st3/7; SNG ANS 477 ff.; SNG Cop 727; HGC 2 1440 (S), VF, green patina, edges earthen encrusted, reverse double struck, weight 15.872 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, c. 342 - 338 B.C.; obverse ZEYΣ EΛEYΘEPTOΣ, laureate head of Zeus Eleutherios right; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, thunderbolt, eagle on right standing right with wings closed; $500.00 SALE PRICE $450.00
Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius
Venus (Aphrodite) can be faulted for the Trojan War. Upset that she was not invited to a wedding, she went anyway and maliciously left a golden apple inscribed "For the fairest" on the banquet table. The goddesses, as Aphrodite expected, argued who was the rightful possessor of this prize. It was determined the most handsome mortal in the world, a noble Trojan youth named Paris, would decide. Each of the three finalists offered Paris a bribe. Hera promised he would rule the world. Athena said she would make him victorious in battle. Aphrodite guaranteed the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. This was Helen, who was married to the king of Sparta. Paris awarded the golden apple to Aphrodite. Aphrodite enabled Paris to elope with Helen, Helen of Troy. Helen's husband raised a Greek army to retrieve his wife, starting the Trojan War.SH73705. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC III AP1388b; BMCRE IV AP2147; Hunter II p. 300, 30; Cohen III 268; SRCV II 4720, VF, nice style, well centered, flan crack, weight 24.039 g, maximum diameter 35.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under Antoninus Pius, 148 - 152 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINAE AVG PII AVG FIL, draped bust right with head bare, hair waived and coiled chignon tied with double band of pearls on back of head; reverseVENVS, Venus standing half left, apple in right hand, grounded rudder in left hand, dolphin coiled around rudder, S - C low across field; $490.00 SALE PRICE $441.00
Roman Republic, Anonymous, c. 230 B.C.
In 230 B.C., Rome sent envoys to the Illyrian Queen Teuta to obtain her aid in ending attacks and murders of Roman merchants by Illyrian pirates. After the Roman ambassador Lucius Coruncanius and the Issaean ambassador Cleemporus offended Queen Teuta, the were murdered at sea by her soldiers. In response, Roman forces occupied the island of Corcyra with the aim of humbling Teuta.SH77477. Aes grave (cast) triens, Libral standard; Vecchi ICC 68; HN Italy 328; Crawford 24/5; Thurlow-Vecchi 33; Haeberlin pp. 60-61, 1-76 pl. 25, 8-11, gF, nice green patina, pitting, marks, weight 58.717 g, maximum diameter 40.2 mm, Rome mint, c. 230 B.C.; obverse horse prancing left, two pellets above and two pellets bellow (mark of value); reverse wheel of six spokes, four pellets (mark of value) between spokes; From the Andrew McCabe Collection; very rare; $480.00 SALE PRICE $432.00