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Dates of operation: c. 289 - 40 B.C. and 20 B.C. - 476 A.D. Mintmarks: R, RM, ROM, ROMA, ROMOB, VRB ROM, SMR.
Didius Julianus, 28 March - 2 June 193 A.D.
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)
Balbinus, 22 April - 29 July 238 A.D.
Providentia is the personification of the ability to foresee and make provision. She was among the embodiments of virtues that were part of the Imperial cult of ancient Rome. Providentia apparently did not favor Balbinus. If he had a little foresight, he would have modified the chain of events that led to his murder after a reign of only 99 days. SH92614. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 19, BMCRE VI 34, Cohen V 24 (12 fr.), Hunter III 19, SRCV III 8499, Choice gVF, well centered, excellent portrait, squared flan as typical for the period, some light corrosion, tiny edge crack, weight 21.840 g, maximum diameter 31.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES D CAEL BALBINVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse PROVIDENTIA DEORVM (to the foresight of the gods), Providentia standing half left, head left, wand downward over globe at feet in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection, ex H. Donald Collection; scarce; $1200.00 (€1056.00)
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.
From the Maxwell Hunt Collection.
The abbreviated reverse legend translates, "the Roman people are at peace everywhere, the Temple of Janus doors are closed." On the rare occasions when Rome was not at war the doors of the 'Twin Janus' were ceremonially closed, an event Nero commemorated extensively on the coinage of 65 - 67 A.D. -- Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. 1 by David R. SearSH91554. Copper as, RIC I 349, Mac Dowall WCN 295, BMCRE I 230, Hunter I 104, BnF II -, Cohen I -, SRCV I -, VF, excellent portrait, well centered on a tight flan, weight 11.977 g, maximum diameter 28.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 66 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CAESAR AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse PACE P R VBIQ PARTA IANVM CLVSIT, view of the Temple of Janus from the front left corner, temple front on the right with garland over closed doors within arch, the left side of the temple to the left with long latticed window, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $800.00 (€704.00)
Balbinus, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.
Balbinus was elected along with Pupienus to end the reign of the brutal Maximinus. A military stalemate ensued, until Maximinus was murdered by his own troops. The population and the Praetorian guard held little respect for the two ex-senators, however, and they were murdered after a reign of only 99 days. RS92615. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 11; BMCRE VI 71; RSC III 6, Hunter III 5, SRCV III 8485, Choice VF, full boarder centering on a broad flan, excellent portrait, toned, flow lines, porous, edge a little ragged, weight 3.341 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES D CAEL BALBINVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FIDES MVTVA AVGG, clasped hands; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $800.00 (€704.00)
Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.
Of this type, the Dictionary of Roman Coins says, "This is a finely designed coin in first brass [a sestertius]. The equestrian group is in a spirited style of workmanship, both horse and man. The Augustus raises aloft his right hand, and with his left holds the bridle of his generous steed, as setting out on him on some journey, about that vague period, his third consulate."SH89464. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 645 (S), BMCRE III 1313, Hunter II 436, Cohen II 590 var. (bust), SRCV II 3594, Choice VF, mottled turquoise and brown patina, well centered, nice portrait, legends a little weak, edge crack, weight 24.967 g, maximum diameter 33.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 124 - 128 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate head right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS III, emperor on horseback prancing left, bare-headed, wearing military garb, cloak flying behind, raising right hand in salute, reins in left hand, S - C divided low across field, EXPED AVG in exergue; Numismatik Naumann auction 72 (2 Dec 2018), lot 458; scarce; $650.00 (€572.00)
Diadumenian, Mid May - 8 June 218 A.D.
In 217, the Colosseum was badly damaged by a fire started by lightning, which destroyed the wooden upper levels of the amphitheater. SH91315. Silver denarius, RIC IV 102.2a (S), BMCRE V 88, RSC III 3, SRCV II 7449, Hunter III 2 var. (also cuirassed), FDC, full boarders centering, bold strike, toned, flow lines, small closed edge crack, weight 3.149 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 11 Apr 217 - mid May 218 A.D.; obverse M OPEL ANT DIADVMENIAN CAES, bare-headed and draped right, from front; reverse PRINC IVVENTVTIS (Prince of Youth), Diadumenian standing facing, bare head right, wearing military garb, standard in right hand, short scepter in left hand, two grounded standards to right; scarce; $570.00 (€501.60)
Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.
"Trajan, having crossed the Ister by means of the bridge, conducted the war with safe prudence rather than with haste, and eventually, after a hard struggle, vanquished the Dacians. In the course of the campaign he himself performed many deeds of good generalship and bravery, and his troops ran many risks and displayed great prowess on his behalf. It was here that a certain horseman, after being carried, badly wounded, from the battle in the hope that he could be healed, when he found that he could not recover, rushed from his tent (for his injury had not yet reached his heart) and, taking his place once more in the line, perished after displaying great feats of valor." -- Roman History by Cassius Dio SH92857. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 461b, BMCRE III 970, RIC II 598 (S), Cohen II 499, SRCV II -, Choice gF, excellent portrait, well centered, nice toned brass surfaces, legends and centers weak, closed crack, weight 25.570 g, maximum diameter 33.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 103 - 111 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS VI P P, laureate bust right, aegis on left shoulder; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Trajan on horseback left, spear vertical in right hand, reins and small Victory in left hand, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; scarce; $560.00 (€492.80)
Lucilla, Augusta c. 164 - 182 A.D., Wife of Lucius Verus
For Roman wives, piety often meant accepting neglect. It was not considered adultery for a Roman husband to have sex with slaves or unmarried women. The historian Spartianus wrote that after Lucilla complained, Lucius Verus reproached her: "Uxor enim dignitatis nomen est, non voluptatis" (Wife is the name of dignity, not bliss).RB92463. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 1756, BMCRE IV 1161, Cohen III 54, Hunter II 27, SRCV II 5505, VF, nice portrait, flow lines, well centered on a squared flan, light bumps and scratches, weight 26.206 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 330o, Rome mint, 164 - 166 A.D.; obverse LVCILLAE AVG ANTONINI AVG F, draped bust right, hair waived and knotted in chignon low at back; reverse PIETAS, Pietas standing left, veiled, right hand extended over flaming altar at feet on left, incense box in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $500.00 (€440.00)
Galerius, 1 March 305 - 5 May 311 A.D.
Galerius was Caesar and tetrarch under Maximianus. Although a talented general and administrator, Galerius is better known for his key role in the "Great Persecution" of Christians. He stopped the persecution under the condition the Christians pray for his return to health from a serious illness. Galerius died horribly shortly after. SH91317. Silver argenteus, RIC VI Rome 29b (R2), RSC V 219a, Hunter V 14, SRCV IV 14264, Choice VF, well centered, flow lines, nearly as struck but with die wear, weight 3.286 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 294 A.D.; obverse MAXIMIANVS CAES, laureate head right; reverse VIRTVS MILITVM (courage of the soldiers), the four tetrarchs sacrificing over tripod in front of gated enclosure with six turrets; rare; $480.00 (€422.40)
Pupienus, 22 April - 29 July 238 A.D.
A.D. 238 was the year of six emperors. Maximinus Thrax was killed (along with his son Maximus Caesar) when his soldiers mutinied. Gordian II was killed in battle. Gordian I hanged himself. Pupienus was lynched by his bodyguard. Balbinus was beaten and dragged naked through the streets of Rome before being killed by the Praetorians. Gordian III lived to become sole emperor.SH91233. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV-1 14 (S), Cohen V 15, BMCRE VI 10, Hunter III 16, SRCV III 8531, VF/F, black patina, scratches, reverse rough, weight 21.051 g, maximum diameter 30.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M CLOD PVPIENVS AVG, Laureate and draped bust right; reverse LIBERALITAS AVGVSTORVM (the generosity of the Emperor), Liberalitas standing half-left, coin counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C divided across lower half of the field; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 76 (7 Apr 2019), part of lot 942; scarce; $414.00 (€364.32) ON RESERVE