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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Denominations ▸ Big BronzeView Options:  |  |  |   

Big Bronze

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.

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The name Ostia was derived from the Latin "ostium" - river mouth. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Construction of the port facilities began under Claudius and was likely completed just before this sestertius was struck in 64 A.D. Trajan and Hadrian expanded the facilities. The port was abandoned due to silting and now lies 3 km from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics.
SH86120. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 178, BMCRE I 131, Cohen I 37, Mac Dowall WCN 120, BnF I -, VF, well centered, nice portrait, near black patina, scratches on obverse lower right field, some porosity and tiny pitting, weight 26.031 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVGVSTI above, S - C divided by POR OST below, bird's-eye view Ostia harbor: pharos lighthouse with Neptune statue on top at far side center; crescent-shaped pier with building and figure sacrificing at far end, crescent-shaped row of breakwaters or slips on right with figure seated on rock at far end, 7 ships within port; river god Tiber reclining left holding rudder and dolphin below; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 195 (7 Mar 2011), lot 405; $4210.00 (3578.50)


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D.

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The wreath on the reverse is the corona civica, the oak wreath awarded to Roman citizens ex senatus consulto (by special decree of the Senate) for saving the life of another citizen by slaying an enemy in battle. It became a prerogative for Roman emperors to be awarded the Civic Crown, originating with Augustus, who was awarded it in 27 B.C. for saving the lives of citizens by ending the series of civil wars.
SH86121. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 37, BMCRE I 38, Cohen I 24, BnF II 50, Hunter I 15, SRCV I -, Choice VF, Tiber patina, centered and struck, attractive young portrait, some marks and corrosion, weight 26.709 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT, laureate head left; reverse S P Q R / P P / OB CIVES / SERVATOS in four lines within Corona Civica oak wreath; rare; $1740.00 (1479.00)


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. The earliest certain cult to dea Roma was established at Smyrna in 195 B.C., probably to mark the successful alliance against Antiochus III. In 30/29 B.C., the Koinon of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to honor Augustus as a living god. "Republican" Rome despised the worship of a living man, but an outright refusal might offend their loyal allies. A cautious formula was drawn up, non-Romans could only establish a cult for divus Augustus jointly with dea Roma. In the city of Rome itself, the earliest known state cult to dea Roma was combined with Venus at the Hadrianic Temple of Venus and Roma. This was the largest temple in the city, probably dedicated to inaugurate the reformed festival of Parilia, which was known thereafter as the Romaea after the Eastern festival in Roma's honor. The temple contained the seated, Hellenised image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.
SH82657. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 330, Cohen I 271, BnF I 417, Mac Dowall WCN 163, Hunter I 100, SRCV I -, BMCRE I , gVF, excellent portrait, fine style, dark green and brown patina, some corrosion, gently smoothed, weight 24.425 g, maximum diameter 34.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 66 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P P P, laureate head left with light beard; reverse Roma seated left on cuirass, one round and one oblong shield behind, wearing crested helmet, right foot drawn back and resting on helmet, Victory offering wreath in Roma's extended right hand, her left hand rests on parazonium, ROMA in exergue, S - C (senatus consulto) at sides; Numismatica Ars Classica, auction 94 (6 October 2016), lot 127; ex Classical Numismatic Group 783132 ($1750); $1570.00 (1334.50)


Trajan Decius, July 249 - First Half of June 251 A.D.

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The double sestertius, easily distinguished by its radiate crown, was also issued by Gallienus and especially by Postumus. This rare denomination, equal in value to the obsolete silver quinarius, was introduced with this issue. The c. 4g brass "semis" introduced at the same time, may well have been a "reduced as" half of the c. 8.5 gram dupondius, one quarter of the c. 17 g sestertius, and one eighth of this coin. Completing the sub-antoninianus denominations, a rare, small, silver coin of c. 1.6 g was a denarius.
SH82658. Orichalcum double sestertius, RIC IV 115c & pl. 12, 16 (R); Cohen V 40 (30 fr.); Hunter III 46 & pl. 78; SRCV III 9395, gVF, attractively centered on a full flan, green and brown surfaces, minor roughness, small areas of light smoothing , closed flan crack at obv. 7:00, weight 37.403 g, maximum diameter 37.0 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Rome mint, 3rd emission, 250 A.D.; obverse IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse FELICITAS SAECVLI (age of good fortune), Felicitas standing slightly left, head left, long caduceus grounded and vertical in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C flanking across field; ex CNG e-auction 410 (29 Nov 2017), lot 379; $1440.00 (1224.00)


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 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; $1050.00 (892.50)


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

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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 Rome
SH86628. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC VI 14 (R), BMCRE V 20, Hunter III 8, Cohen III 3, Cayon III 1, SRCV II 6075, nice F, attractive portrait for grade, legends not fully struck, encrustations on reverse, edge crack, weight 19.044 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 180o, 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; rare; $870.00 (739.50)


Roman Republic, Aes Formatum Large Domed Disc Ingot, 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, international shipping at the actual cost of postage will require additional charge; very rare; $720.00 (612.00)


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

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From 114 to 117 A.D. the Jews of Cyprus revolted and massacred gentiles in great numbers. After the uprising was put down, every known Jew in Cyprus was killed and a law was passed forbidding any Jew, even from a shipwreck, to set foot on the island. Nevertheless Jewish residents remained on the island and in 610 A.D. they were sufficiently numerous to participate in an insurrection against Heraclius. In 646, and again in 1154, Cyprus was devastated by Arabs.
RB86780. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 534v, RIC II 672, BMCRE III 1023, Hunter II 375, Cohen II 352, Banti 106, SRCV II 3192, BnF IV -, Choice VF, well centered and struck, nice portrait, brown tone, nice surfaces, minor bump on cheek, weight 24.276 g, maximum diameter 34.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, winter 114 - early 116 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS VI P P, laureate and draped bust right; reverse SENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS, Felicitas standing slightly left, head left, caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $700.00 (595.00)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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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. Orichalcum sestertius, Gbl MIR 38dd, RIC V-1 J248, 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 cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS 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; $450.00 (382.50)


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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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.
RI86762. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC II-1 539b; BMCRE II p. 150, 661; BnF III 652; Cohen I 151; Hunter I 128; SRCV I 2346 var. (COS V), Choice gVF, superb portrait, brown patina, well centered, weight 12.943 g, maximum diameter 28.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 73 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESP AVG P M T P COS IIII CENS, Radiate head left; reverse FELICITAS PVBLICA, Felicitas standing slightly left, head left, raising winged caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C flanking across field; Ex Tom Cederlind List 110 (1997); $450.00 (382.50)




  



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