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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive Emperors ▸ HadrianView Options:  |  |  |   

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

Hadrian, one of the "Five Good Emperors," abandoned the expansionist policy of Trajan and established a policy of defense and consolidation during which Hadrian's Wall in Britain was constructed. He traveled to nearly every province of the Empire, more than any other emperor, often ordering grandiose building programs to improve infrastructure and the quality of life in those regions. An ardent admirer of Greece, he sought to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire and ordered the construction of many opulent temples in the city. He spent much of his time with the military; usually wore military attire and even dined and slept amongst the soldiers. He ordered military training and drilling to be more rigorous and made use of false reports of attack to keep the army alert. He suppressed the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judaea, renaming the province Syria Palaestina.Roman Empire 125 AD


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

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In 134, Rome retook Jerusalem, the capital of the Bar Kokhba revolt. The following year, the largely destroyed city was renamed Aelia Capitolina. The Jewish diaspora began when Hadrian barred Jews from the city and dispersed survivors of the massacre across the Empire. Legio VI Ferrata rebuilt the legionary fortress in Jerusalem and constructed a Roman temple at Golgotha. An altar to Jupiter was erected on the site of the Jerusalem Temple. In 136, the Jews were chased from Galilee and Roman Iudaea plus Galilee became Syria Palaestina, the first use of the name Palestine as a designation for Judea.
SH82767. Orichalcum dupondius (or as), RIC II 910 (R2), Cohen II 238, BMCRE II p. 497, ‡ (refs. Cohen); Hunter II - (p. lxvii), SRCV II -, aVF, near black patina, scratches, some porosity, weight 14.285 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 134 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, laureate head right; reverse Hadrian, standing right on platform, Praetorian Prefect behind him, addressing officer (centurion?) who stands right and four soldiers, the officer and first two soldiers hold oblong shields, the first soldier holds a vexillum, the following two hold standards, the final soldier unclear, COH PRAETOR S C in exergue; only two sales of the type recorded on Coin Archives, the last in January 2013; very rare; $900.00 (€765.00)
 


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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)
 


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; $420.00 (€357.00)
 


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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)
 


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

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Most references list this type as a quadrans but examples without a thick patina, including this coin, appear to be orichalcum (brass) vice copper. Yellow brass indicates the type is a semis.
RB85750. Orichalcum semis, RIC II 625 (S), BMCRE III 1279, Cohen II 1167 (5 fr.), SRCV II 3704, Strack II 579, Hunter II 380 var. (standing left, head right), VF, Tiber patina, tight flan, corrosion, weight 2.104 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 120 - 123 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG, eagle standing half right, head turned left, wings open but not spread; reverse P M TR P COS III, horizontal winged thunderbolt, S C (senatus consulto) below; scarce; $135.00 (€114.75)
 


Hadrian, 117 - 138 A.D., Perga, Pamphylia

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Artemis is depicted here in the same pose as The Diana of Versailles, a slightly over life-size Roman marble statue from the 1st or 2nd century A.D., copying a lost Greek bronze original attributed to Leochares, c. 325 B.C. The sculpture also has a stag at her side. The sculpture may have come from a sanctuary at Nemi or possibly from Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli. In 1556, it was given by Pope Paul IV to Henry II of France, a subtle allusion to the king's mistress, Diane de Poitiers. It is now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris.
RP86567. Bronze AE 21, SNG BnF 400, Waddington 3345, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Righetti -, gVF/aVF, nice green patina, attractive portrait, porous, areas of reverse slightly rough, weight 5.484 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Perga (15 km east of Antalya, Turkey) mint, 117 - 138 A.D.; obverse A∆PIANOC KAICAP, laureate draped cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse APTEMI∆OC ΠEPΓAIAC, Artemis standing right, bow in left hand, reaching with right hand for arrow in quiver on his shoulder, stag right on far side; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; rare; $135.00 (€114.75)
 


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

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A life-size, black basalt statue of the Apis Bull inscribed with a dedication of Hadrian was discovered in the underground vaults of the Serapeum. It is now in Room 6 of the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria. The Apis Bull statue appears on Alexandrian coins of Hadrian and other emperors. The custom of the Apis Bull had been reluctantly preserved by Augustus. He refused to "enter the presence of Apis . . . declaring that he was accustomed to worship gods, not cattle." Dio, 51.16:5. "In spite of this declaration, two stelai from the Bucheum at Hermonthis in Upper Egypt show Augustus" dressed as a Pharaoh sacrificing to bovine deities. Richard Ashton, The City of Roman and Byzantine Egypt, p. 198. Ptolemy III built the Serapeum, the largest and most magnificent of the temples of Alexandria, containing a giant statue by Briaxis. Almost 400 years later, Hadrian rebuilt the temple, which may have been among the temples of Alexandria damaged in 117 AD during the Kitos War by the Jewish forces under Lukuas. Eusebius of Caearea, "Historia Ecclesiastica, books iv & v, written in the 4th century AD." The Apis Bull depicted here may have been that bull, a replacement for an earlier similar statue.
RX86734. Bronze diobol, Geissen 1102, Dattari 2009, Milne 1436, SNG Cop 391, SNG Milan 1114, BMC Alexandria 811, Kampmann 32.610, Emmett 1114/18, F, well centered on a tight flan, some legend weak, scratches, edge cracks, weight 7.579 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 133 - 28 Aug 134 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC TPAIAN - A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate and draped bust right; reverse Apis bull standing right on ground line, altar to right, L IH (year 18) above; scarce; $135.00 (€114.75)
 


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Providentia is the personification of the ability to foresee and to make provision for the future. This ability was considered essential for the emperor and providentia was among the embodiments of virtues that were part of the imperial cult. Cicero said that providentia, memoria (memory) and intellegentia (understanding) are the three main components of prudentia, the knowledge what is good or bad or neither.
RB88078. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 589b (S), BMCRE III 1203, Hunter II 358, SRCV II 3625, Cohen II 1207 var. (no drapery), aF, turquoises patina, scratches, bumps, some corrosion, flan crack, weight 23.654 g, maximum diameter 34.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 119 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR TRAIANVS HADRIANVS AVG P M TR P COS III, laureate bust right, bare chest, drapery on left shoulder; reverse PROVIDENTIA DEORVM (to the foresight of the gods), Hadrian standing facing, togate, lituus (or scroll?) in left hand, head left looking at eagle flying right with scepter held in talons, extending right hand to receive scepter from eagle, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; scarce; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Cyrenaica and Crete(?)

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This type was certainly struck in the east. RPC Online III assigns it to the province of Cyrenaica and Crete; Mantis ANS to Caesarea in Cappadocia; Bostra is also a possibility.
RP85807. Bronze semis, RPC Online III 11, Mantis ANS 1944.100.62449, Sydenham Caesarea 288, Asolati 179 (Cyrene), RIC II p. 428 note, BMCRE III p. 440 note, VF, slightly rough, scratches, encrustations, edge cracks, weight 2.813 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain eastern (Caesarea?) mint, 11 Aug 117 - 10 Jul 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse COS III, bearded and horned head of Zeus Ammon right; scarce; $95.00 (€80.75)
 


Roman Empire, Anonymous, Domitian to Antoninus Pius, c. 81 - 161 A.D.

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Quadrantes, like quinarii, were issued only occasionally, perhaps exclusively for imperial distributions. Suetonius reported that, from the roof of the Basilica Julia "Caligula threw coins among the people." Perhaps this small coin was thrown to the crowd by the emperor himself at a similar event.
RB87147. Bronze quadrans, RIC II p. 218, 25; King Quadrantes p. 71, 7, VF, thin flan, some striking weakness, very light corrosion/deposits, weight 0.954 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 81 - 161 A.D.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Venus right, no legend; reverse dove standing left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 40 (28 Oct 2017), 558; $80.00 (€68.00)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

AVGVSTVSHADRIANVS
AVGVSTVSHADRIANVSPP
DIVVSHADRIANVSAVG
HADRIANVSAVGCOSIIIPP
HADRIANVSAVGVST
HADRIANVSAVGVSTVS
HADRIANVSAVGVSTVSPP
IMPCAEDITRAIANFDIVNERNEPTRAHADRIANOAVG
IMPCAEDIRAPARFDIVINERNEPTRAHADRIANOAVG
IMPCAESARTRAIAHADRIANVSAVG
IMPCAESARTRAIANHADRIANVSAVG
IMPCAESARTRAIANVSHADRIANVSAVG
IMPCAESARTRAIANVSHADRIANVSAVGPMTRPCOSIII
IMPCAESHADRIANDIVINERTRAIANOPTFIL
IMPCAESTRAHADRIANOAVGPP
IMPCAESTRAIANHADRIANOAVGDIVITRA
IMPCAESTRAIANHADRIANOAVGDIVITRAPARTHF
IMPCAESTRAIANHADRIANOPTAVGGERDAC
IMPCAESTRAIANHADRIANOOPTAVGGERDAC


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Blum, G. "Numismatique D'Antinoos" in JIAN 16. (Athens, 1914). pp. 33 - 70.
Calicó, E.X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 2: Nerva to Antoninus Pius. (Paris, 1883).
Hill, P.V. The Dating and Arrangement of the Undated Coins of Rome, A.D. 98-148. (London, 1970).
Mattingly H. & E. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. II: Vespasian to Hadrian. (London, 1926).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 3: Nerva to Hadrian. (London, 1936).
McAlee, R. The Coins of Roman Antioch. (Lancaster, PA, 2007).
Robinson, A.S. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Seaby, H.A. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Strack, P.L. Untersuchungen zur römischen Reichsprägung des zweiten Jahrhunderts, Teil II: Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit des Hadrian. (Stuttgart, 1933).
Toynbee, J.M.C. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, December 19, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Hadrian