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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Adoptive Emperors| ▸ |Marcus Aurelius||View Options:  |  |  |   

Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.

Marcus Aurelius was recognized by Hadrian as a fine and capable youth and betrothed to the daughter of Aelius. Antoninus Pius adopted him and in 145 A.D. he married Antoninus' daughter, Faustina II. In 161 A.D., he succeeded Antoninus as Augustus, immediately proclaiming Lucius Verus his co-emperor. Although known for his adherence to the philosophy of Stoicism and as a naturally peaceful man, Marcus' reign was disturbed by war with Parthia, plague and then a long, hard war along the Danube frontier. He died on March 17th, 180 A.D. and was deified by the senate soon after.


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D., Edessa(?), Mesopotamia

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This coin is from of a series of rare drachms with portraits of Marcus Aurelius, Faustina II, Lucius Verus, and Lucilla, along with a small bronze of Commodus, struck in Mesopotamia, c. 165 A.D. The series commemorated the Roman victory, as this coin does with the reverse legend VΠEP NIKHC RΩMAIΩN. All have Roma reverse types, but for many, like this coin, the goddess intended and her attributes are uncertain. They were most likely struck at Edessa, but Carrhae or another mint is possible. All the types are very rare. This is the only example of this variety known to FORVM and the only coin known to Forum from this series with obverse legend ending in APM (Armeniacus - victor over the Armenians).
RS94121. Silver drachm, unpublished variety, cf. BMC Arabia p. 137, 3 and pl. XIX, 7 (AVT K M AV...NTΩNIN...), RPC online IV.3 T10747 (...ANTΩNINOC CEB), aF, toned, slightly off center, legend not fully struck, scratches, edge split, weight 2.561 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 0o, Mesopotamia, Edessa(?) mint, c. 165 A.D.; obverse AVTO K M AVPHΛ ANTΩNINOC APM, bare-headed, bearded bust right, drapery on shoulder; reverse VΠEP NIKHC RΩMAIΩN (for the victory of the Romans), goddess standing facing, head left, wearing tunic and mantle, globe or apple in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; extremely rare and possibly unique - the only specimen with this obverse legend known to FORVM; $240.00 SALE |PRICE| $216.00
 


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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, Hellenized image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.
RB91587. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE IV 1417, SRCV II 4976, RIC III 1033 var. (no drapery), Cohen III 281 var. (same), Hunter II 163 var. (same), MIR 18 232-6/30 var. (same), VF, nice portrait, green patina, tight flan, light marks, slight porosity, weight 23.418 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 171 - Dec 172 A.D.; obverse M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXVI, laureate head right, slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse IMP VI COS III (imperator 6 times, consul 3 times), Roma seated left on low seat, helmeted and draped, Victory in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, oval shield at side ornamented with head of Medusa, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field at center; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $219.00 SALE |PRICE| $197.00
 


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D., Koinon of Macedonia

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The Macedonian Koinon (community) was the political organization governing the autonomous Roman province of Macedonia and responsible for issuing coinage. Member cities sent representatives to participate in the popular assembly. The Koinon held celebrations and games annually at Beroea (modern Verria) in honor of Alexander the Great and the Roman emperor.
RP94131. Bronze AE 21, RPC Online IV.1 T4272 (5 spec.), AMNG III 267, BMC Macedonia -, SNG Cop -, VF, black patina, centered, tight flan cutting off tops of some letters, scattered light corrosion, central depression on reverse, weight 6.120 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonica(?) mint, as caesar, 147 - 161 A.D.; obverse KAICAP AVPHΛIOC, bare-headed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse KOINΩN MAKE∆ONΩN, Macedonian shield; zero sales of this type recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; very rare; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00 ON RESERVE


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There are no clear breaks to the copper core but the lamination defects are typical of a plated fouree.
RS89769. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. RIC III 424a, RSC II 451, BMCRE IV (A. Pius) 277, Hunter II 4, SRCV II 4786 (official, silver, Rome mint), VF, well centered, light toning, nice portrait of slightly unusual style, double strike, light marks, lamination defects, edge cracks, weight 2.982 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, as caesar, c. 140 - 144 A.D.; obverse AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG PII F COS, bare head right; reverse PIETAS AVG (to the piety of the Emperor), implements of the augurate and pontificate: secespita (knife), aspergillum (sprinkler), ewer (jug), lituus (augural staff), and simpulum (ladle); $135.00 SALE |PRICE| $122.00
 


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

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Immediately after Hadrian's death, Antoninus requested Marcus annul his betrothal to Ceionia Fabia to marry his daughter, Faustina. Marcus consented. Faustina's betrothal to Ceionia's brother Lucius Commodus was also annulled.
RB89982. Bronze sestertius, BMCRE IV 1208, Cohen II 28, RIC III 1212 (S) var. (Aurelius draped), Hunter II 19 var. (same), SRCV II 4526 var. (same), VF/F, well centered, light marks, porosity, reverse rough with porosity, weight 29.178 g, maximum diameter 33.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 140 - 144 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P COS III, laureate head of Antoninus Pius right; reverse AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG P II F COS, bare head of Marcus Aurelius Caesar right, S•C (senatus consulto) below; big 34mm sestertius; scarce; $125.00 SALE |PRICE| $113.00
 


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On June 11, 173, during the Marcomannic Wars (166–180), the Roman army in Moravia was outnumbered and surrounded by the Quadi, suffering from the extreme heat, out of water, and on the verge of defeat. Dio writes, "many clouds gathered and a mighty rain, not without divine interposition, burst upon them...when the rain poured down, at first all turned their faces upwards and received the water in their mouths; then some held out their shields and some their helmets to catch it, and they not only took deep draughts themselves but also gave their horses to drink...while those on the one side were being drenched and drinking, the others [Quadi] were being consumed by fire [lightning] and dying." The Romans were soon victorious. Marcus was saluted imperator for the seventh time and the "miracle of the rain" was memorialized on Marcus Aurelius' column. In 174, Marcus Aurelius officially conferred the title Fulminata (Thundering) to the Legio XII Fulminata.Miracle_in_the_Rain

RS94127. Silver denarius, RIC III 273, RSC II 261, BMCRE IV 571, SRCV II 4906, Hunter II -, aVF, centered, toned, flow lines, etched porous surfaces, edge cracks, weight 2.831 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec 172 - Dec 173 A.D.; obverse M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXVII, laureate head right; reverse IMP VI COS III, Victory walking right, raising wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand over left shoulder; $110.00 SALE |PRICE| $99.00
 


Antiocheia, Pisidia, 138 - 161 A.D.

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Paul of Tarsus gave his first sermon to the Gentiles (Acts 13:13-52) at Antiochia in Pisidia, and visited the city once on each of his missionary journeys, helping to make Antioch a center of early Christianity in Anatolia. Antioch in Pisidia is also known as Antiochia Caesareia and Antiochia in Phrygia.
RP89331. Bronze AE 14, RPC Online IV.3 T7350 (10 spec.); Krzyzanowska pl. IV, table 8, VII/- (cf. 7-9); BMC Lycia p. 176, 1; SNGvA 4916, VF, green patina, earthen deposits, cleaning scratches. , weight 1.401 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch in Pisidia (Yalvac, Turkey) mint, c. 138 - 161 A.D.; obverse ANTIO-C-H, bare-headed, draped bust of Hermes (resemble young Marcus Aurelius as caesar) left, caduceus behind; reverse CO-LONI, cock walking right; ex CNG e-auction 400 (28 Jun 17), lot 528; $100.00 SALE |PRICE| $90.00
 


Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius

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Although many coin references classify Fecunditas as a personification of fertility rather than as an actual deity, Fecunditas was recognized as a Roman divinity by Nero, who erected a statue to her. Tacitus notes that upon the birth of Claudia Neronis, the senate decreed the construction of a temple of Fertility to be built at Antium. Fecunditas is always portrayed as a female figure holding a child, or children and often a scepter, cornucopia, palm branch or caduceus. Sometimes the children are depicted standing at her feet. Coins portraying her usually advertise the fertility of the imperial family.
RS91448. Silver denarius, RIC III MA676, RSC II 95, BMCRE IV MA89, Szaivert MIR 18 10, SRCV II 5251, Choice F, excellent centering, good portrait, old collection toning, light marks, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.219 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under Marcus Aurelius, 161 - 175 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse FECVND AVGVSTAE, Fecunditas standing facing, head left, cradling an infant in each arm, flanked by two children standing at feet; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $95.00 SALE |PRICE| $85.50
 


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

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Two days before his death, Antoninus was at his ancestral estate at Lorium, in Etruria, about twelve miles (19 km) from Rome. He ate Alpine cheese at dinner quite greedily. In the night he vomited; he had a fever the next day. The day after that, 7 March 161, he summoned the imperial council, and passed the state and his daughter to Marcus. The emperor gave the keynote to his life in the last word that he uttered when the tribune of the night-watch came to ask the password - "aequanimitas" (equanimity). He then turned over, as if going to sleep, and died. His death closed out the longest reign since Augustus (surpassing Tiberius by a couple of months).
RS91219. Silver denarius, RIC III MA431; RSC II 156; Szaivert MIR 18 24-4/10; BMCRE IV p. 393, 48; Hunter II 4; SRCV II 5192, aVF/F, well centered, light toning, flow lines, reverse die wear, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.395 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, 161 A.D.; obverse DIVVS ANTONINVS, bare head right; reverse CONSECRATIO, eagle standing right on garlanded altar, wings open, head turned back left; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 76 (7 Apr 2019), part of lot 942; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00
 


Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Laodicea ad Mare, Seleucia & Pieria, Syria

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Laodicea ad Mar was founded by Seleukos Nikator. The determined after an eagle snatched a piece of flesh from an altar where Seleukos was sacrificing. The exact site was indicated when he slew a boar following the eagle's flight.
RP85966. Bronze AE 25, RPC online IV 9261 (10 spec.), SNG Hunterian II 3206, SNG Fitzwilliam 5956, SNG Righetti 2108, Lindgren 2084, SNG Cop -, BMC Galatia -, aF, brown patina, tight flan, marks and scratches, porous, weight 10.679 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 161 - 169 A.D.; obverse AYTOKPATWP KAICAP ANTWNINOC, laureate head of Marcus Aurelius right, IOY low in right field; reverse AYOKPATΩP KAICAP OYHPOC, laureate of head of Lucius Verus right, ΛA low in right field; ex Alex G. Malloy; scarce; $70.00 SALE |PRICE| $63.00
 




  



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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

ANTONINVSAVG
ANTONINVSAVGARMENIACVS
AVRELIVSCAESANTONAVGPIIF
AVRELIVSCAESARANTONINIAVGPIIFIL
AVRELIVSCAESARAVGPIIF
AVRELIVSCAESARAVGPIIFCOS
AVRELIVSCAESARAVGPIIFIL
AVRELIVSCAESARAVGPIIFCOS
AVRELIVSCAESAVGPIIF
AVRELIVSCAESAVGPIIFCOS
AVRELIVSCAESAVGPIIFCOSDES
DIVOMARCO
DIVOMARCOANTONINO
DIVVSMANTONINVSPIVS
IMPCAESMAVRELANTONINVSAVG
IMPCAESMAVRELANTONINVSAVGPM
IMPMANTONINVSAVG
IMPMANTONINVSAVGTRPXXV
IMPMAVRELANTONINVSAVG
MANTONINVSAVG
MANTONINVSAVGARMENIACVS
MANTONINVSAVGARMENPM
MANTONINVSAVGARMPARTHMAX
MANTONINVSAVGGERMSARM
MANTONINVSAVGGERMSARMATICVS
MANTONINVSAVGGERMSARMMAX
MANTONINVSAVGGERMSARMTRPXXXI
MANTONINVSAVGGERMSARMTRPXXXPP
MANTONINVSAVGGERMTRPXXIX
MANTONINVSAVGIMPII
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXX
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXXIII
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXXIIII
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXXV
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXXVI
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXXVII
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXXVIII
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXXIX
MAVRELANTONINVSAVG
MAVRELANTONINVSAVGARMENIACVSPM
MAVRELANTONINVSAVGARMPARTHMAX
MAVRELANTONINVSAVGTRPXXXIII
MAVRELIVSCAESARANTONINIAVGPIIF
MAVRELIVSCAESARAVGPIIF


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. III: De Marco Aurelio a Caracalla (Del 161 d.C. al 217 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 3: Marcus Aurelius to Clodius Albinus. (Paris, 1883).
Mattingly, H. & E. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. III: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. (London, 1930).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 4: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. (London, 1940).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Szaivert, W. Die Münzprägung der Kaiser Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus un Commodus (161-192). (Wien, 1984).
Seaby, H. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. 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. Untersuchungen zur römischen Reichsprägung des zweiten Jahrhunderts, Teil III: Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit Antoninus Pius. (Stuttgart, 1937).
Toynbee, J. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, January 28, 2020.
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Roman Coins of Marcus Aurelius