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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., 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 -, 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; $500.00 (425.00)


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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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; $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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NEP RED on the reverse abbreviates Neptuno Redux, Neptune who brings back the Emperor in safety by sea. Hadrian toured Greece, 124 - 125, made a detour to Sicily, and returned to Italy in 126. This type honors Neptune for ensuring Hadrian's safety during his sea voyages.
RB88005. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 651, BMCRE III 1318, Cohen II 980, SRCV II 3612, Hunter II 438 var. (dolphin vice acrostolium), VF, well centered, nice style, Tiber patina, edge cracks, weight 22.893 g, maximum diameter 33.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 126 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate head right, drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS III, Neptune standing right, left knee bend and left foot on prow, nude but for cloak over left thigh, trident vertical with head down behind in right hand, acrostolium in left hand, NEP - RED / S - C in two divided lines across field; ex William Rosenblum, mailbid sale 38C (5 Jun 2008), lot 120; $280.00 (238.00)


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.

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"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
RB77285. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 203o, BnF IV 564, RIC II 535 (S), Strack 360, Banti 215, BMCRE III -, Cayn -, aF, well centered, corrosion, pitting, weight 21.572 g, maximum diameter 32.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 104 - 107 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate bust left; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Trajan on horseback galloping right, in military dress, brandishing spear at Dacian warrior who is falling on his left knee, looking back at Trajan, raising both hands, and being trampled by horse's fore-hooves, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Sebastian Sondermann (Sep 2008); very rare bust left; $180.00 (153.00)


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

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Eros was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"). According to Hesiod (c. 700 B.C.), one of the most ancient of all Greek sources, Eros was the fourth god to come into existence, coming after Chaos, Gaia (the Earth), and Tartarus (the Abyss or the Underworld). Parmenides (c. 400 B.C.), one of the pre-Socratic philosophers, makes Eros the first of all the gods to come into existence. In early Greek poetry and art, Eros was depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power. But in later sources, Eros is represented as the son of Aphrodite, whose mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals cause bonds of love to form, often illicitly. Ultimately, by the later satirical poets, he is represented as a child, the precursor to the chubby Renaissance Cupid.
RP88072. Bronze AE 24, RPC Online VI temp 10921 (1 spec., private collection, Charlottesville, VA), SNGvA 1338 var. (reverse legend), otherwise unpublished, F, brown tone with brassy metal showing through in areas, oval flan, reverse off center, struck with worn/damaged dies with a break below the bust, weight 4.849 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 180o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, c. 184 - 190 A.D.; obverse IMP CAI (sic) M AV - COMMODVS, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse DEO CVPIDINI - COLO IVL HAD PA (to the god Cupid, Colonia Gemella Julia Hadriana Pariana), Cupid standing slightly left, head right, nude but for drapery over left arm, right hand held over herm at feet on left; extremely rare; $150.00 (127.50)




  







Catalog current as of Tuesday, February 19, 2019.
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Adoptive Emperors