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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive EmperorsView Options:  |  |  |   

Roman Coins of the Adoptive Emperors

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

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Marcus Ulpius Traianus, a brilliant general and administrator, was adopted and proclaimed emperor by the aging Nerva in 98 A.D. Regarded as one of Rome's greatest emperors, Trajan was responsible for the annexation of Dacia, the invasion of Arabia and an extensive and lavish building program across the empire. Under Trajan, Rome reached its greatest extent. Shortly after the annexation of Mesopotamia and Armenia, Trajan was forced to withdraw from most of the new Arabian provinces. While returning to Rome to direct operations against the new threats, Trajan died at Selinus in Cilicia.
RB88224. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 240q (same dies), BnF IV 512 (same dies), BMC III 771, Banti 117, Strack 398, RIC II 478 var. (bust), Cohen 367 var. (same), VF, well centered, rough, weight 21.340 g, maximum diameter 34.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 106 - 107 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate heroic bust left, full chest exposed, drapery on left shoulder; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Ceres standing half left, head left, holding grain over modius in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, S C (senatus consulto) divided across field; extremely rare with this bust, struck with a superb obverse die!; $1030.00 (875.50)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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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 (552.50)


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

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In 116, Trajan completed his invasion of Parthia by capturing the cities of Seleucia, Babylon, Ctesiphon and Susa. This was the high-water mark of the Roman Empire's eastern expansion.
RX87338. Bronze drachm, BMC Alexandria p. 48, 402; Geissen 702; Emmett 611.19; Dattari 1072; Kampmann-Ganschow 27.662; SNG Milan -, Choice VF, well centered, attractive brown patina, a little flatly struck on highest points, weight 18.113 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 115 - 28 Aug 116 A.D.; obverse AVT TPAI-AN API CEB Γ-EPM ∆AKIK ΠAP, laureate bust right, aegis on far shoulder; reverse Zeus enthroned left, long scepter vertical in right hand, thunderbolt at side in left hand, eagle at feet standing left looking back, L I-Θ (year 19) across field; ex CNG, auction 78 (14 May 2008), lot 1508 ($650 plus fees); ex Empire Coins, auction 8 (7 Dec 1987), lot 429; $520.00 (442.00)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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Hadrian traveled to nearly every province of the Empire and spent more than half his reign outside Italy. Nero had been criticized as self-indulgent for his trip to Greece, but Hadrian proudly advertised his travels with his "Adventus" coinage series. Unlike Nero, the pleasure-seeking tourist, Hadrian inspected and corrected the legions and made grants for the construction of new public buildings, projects, and settlements. Hadrian travels were intended to transform conquered lands into a unified Roman Empire.
RB87800. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 938f (S), BMCRE III 1782, Hunter II 636, Cohen II 1218, SRCV II 3627, gVF, superb portrait, attractive green patina, well centered and struck, light marks, light corrosion, light earthen deposits, weight 25.249 g, maximum diameter 32.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 131 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse RESTITVTORI ACHAIAE, Hadrian standing left, togate, holding roll in left hand, with right hand raising Achaea, draped, kneeling right and resting left hand on knee; urn containing palm between them, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; rare; $450.00 (382.50)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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In 146, Marcus Aurelius received the imperium proconsular and Faustina the Younger was given the title Augusta.
SH73156. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE IV 1669, RIC III 767a, Strack III 974, Cohen II 320, Hill UCR 709, SRCV II 4168, VF, nice green patina, nice portrait, light scratches, tight flan, weight 22.051 g, maximum diameter 31.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 146 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG - PIVS P P TR P, laureate head right; reverse Antoninus in slow quadriga left, eagle-tipped scepter in left, reins in right, COS IIII / S C in two lines in exergue; $380.00 (323.00)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RB82751. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 771(f), BMCRE III 1534, Cohen II 1035, SRCV II 3616 var. (laureate head), Hunter II 547 (draped, head bare), VF, well centered on a tight flan, dark green patina, some light corrosion, weight 25.535 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 134 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse PIETAS AVG (piety of the Emperor), Pietas standing slightly left, head left, praying with hands upraised, altar to left; stork to right, S - C (senatus consulto) across fields; $370.00 (314.50)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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Hadrian was born in Hispania. The origin of the name Hispania is much disputed and the evidence for the various speculations is very weak. Two theories hold it to be of Punic derivation, from the Phoenician language of colonizing Carthage. In Hebrew, "i-shfania" means "island of the rabbit." Punic-Phoenician and Hebrew are both Canaanite languages and therefore closely related to each other. The name Hispania may be derived from an ancient Punic name identifying the place as a land of rabbits. Another theory holds the name is derived the word from the Phoenician word "span," meaning hidden, indicating a hidden, that is, a remote, or far-distant land. The rabbit on this coin type has been used as evidence to support the first theory.
RS87611. Silver denarius, RSC II 834, RIC II 306, Strack II 304, BMCRE III 849 note, Hunter II 287 var. (head left), SRCV II -, Choice VF, centered, uneven toning, light marks, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.824 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 134 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, bare head right; reverse HISPANIA, Hispania reclining left on rock, olive branch in right hand, rabbit behind below left arm; $350.00 (297.50)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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In 139, Marcus Aurelius was named Caesar and married Faustina the Younger, daughter of Antoninus Pius.
RB88321. Bronze as, RIC III 862a, BMCRE IV 1840, Hunter II 278, Cohen II 565, SRCV II 4308, aVF, dark green patina, weight 11.468 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 148 - 149 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TRP XIII, laureate head right; reverse MVNIFICENTIA AVG, elephant advancing right, COS IIII / S C in two lines in exergue; ex CNG e-auction 233 (26 May 2010), lot 341; $240.00 (204.00)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

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This is an extremely rare coin, missing from most references and collections. RSC II and BMCRE IV both reference only the one single specimen in the Reka-Devnia Hoard. There are no sales of the type in the last two decades recorded on Coin Archives, but we do know of several additional examples.
RS85053. Silver denarius, Reka-Devnia p. 91, pl. III, 40 (1 spec.!); RSC II 854b; Szaivert MIR 559-4/30; BMCRE IV p. 705, †; RIC III -; Cohen III -; Hunter -; SRCV II -, F, nice portrait, well centered obverse, reverse a little off center, light bumps and marks, edge cracks, weight 2.525 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, early 183 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse TR P VIII IMP V COS IIII P P, Roma seated left, helmeted and draped, Victory in right hand, spear vertical behind in left hand, shield on near side of seat; extremely rare; $200.00 (170.00)


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

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RPC III notes Abdera issued this denomination in two variants, one with laureate heads right and this type with laureate, draped and cuirassed busts right, seen from behind. The laureate head type reverse portrait is older and has been identified as possibly as the deified Nerva or Trajan Pater. The portrait on this type is younger and also appears on coinage of Hadrian. RPC III notes that long ago Pellerin (Mlanges II, Paris, 1756, p. 85) proposed identification of the portrait as Timesios of Clazomenae, the founder of Abdera.
RP89295. Bronze AE 19, RPC III 673 (9 spec.), SNG Cop 387, AMNG II 249, Chryssanthaki-Nagle 897 - 900, VF, dark green, slightly porous patina, weight 6.306 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Abdera mint, 25 Jan 98 - 8/9 Aug 117 A.D.; obverse AYTO TPAIANW KAICAPI CEBACTW, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Trajan right, seen from behind; reverse ΓEP ∆AKI AB∆HPEITAI, Laureate, draped and cuirassed male bust (Timesios of Clazomenae, the founder of Abdera?) right, seen from behind; ex Numismatik Naumann Auction 35 (6 Sep 2015), lot 368; very rare; $180.00 (153.00)




  







Catalog current as of Wednesday, April 24, 2019.
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Adoptive Emperors