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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive Emperors ▸ Marcus AureliusView 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 and Lucius Verus, 161 - 169 A.D., Mark Antony Restitution

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"Restitution" issue by Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus commemorating the famous legionary denarii of Marc Antony. The legion VI Ferrata, the "Ironclad", was an old legion of Caesar's that fought for Antony. It must have been chosen for the restitution for its presumably key-role during Verus' successful Parthian campaign.
RS89768. Silver denarius, BMCRE IV p. 456, 500; RIC III p. 248, 443; MIR 18 120-4; RSC I Antony 83; Cohen I Antony 83; SRCV II p. 341, 5236, choice gVF, excellent centering, toning, flow lines, some die wear, small coppery spots, weight 3.031 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 165 - 166 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVGVR III VIR R P C, war galley, five oarsman visible, rowing left over waves, helmsman and rudder in stern; reverse ANTONINVS ET VERVS AVG REST, aquila (legionary eagle) in center, eagle turned right, between two legionary standards, standard on right surmounted by Victory standing left and extending wreath, LEG - VI across center divided by aquila; rare; $450.00 (€382.50)
 


Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D.

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The crematorium depicted is probably that of Antoninus Pius but it may be the one built by Marcus Aurelius. Both were located in Rome's Campus Martius.
RS89843. Silver denarius, RIC III 596b (S), RSC II 58, BMCRE IV 505, Szaivert MIR 18 187, SRCV II 5206, Choice VF, well centered, nice portrait, light toning, flow lines, edge crack, weight 3.240 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, posthumous, struck by Marcus Aurelius, 169 A.D.; obverse DIVVS VERVS, bare head right; reverse CONSECRATIO, pyramidal crematorium of four stories, bottom floor garlanded, door on the second floor, statue of emperor in facing quadriga on top; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 72 (2 Dec 2018), lot 520; scarce; $250.00 (€212.50)
 


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

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Hilaritas, the personification of rejoicing, is usually depicted as a matron, standing with a cornucopia in her left hand and a long palm frond on the ground in her right. Green branches were a sign of gladness and for special occasions, both public and private, it was the custom in ancient times to ornament streets, temples, gates, houses, and even entire cities, with branches and leaves of trees. This tradition carries on today in the form of wreaths and Christmas trees.
RS89844. Silver denarius, RIC III MA686, RSC II 111, BMCRE IV MA100, Hunter II 6, SRCV II 5254, Choice EF, well centered, nice portrait, flow lines, struck with a worn reverse die, small edge cracks, weight 3.138 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under Marcus Aurelius, 161 - 175 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair waived and drawn back into a coil a the back of neck; reverse HILARITAS, Hilaritas standing slightly left, head left, long grounded palm frond in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $250.00 (€212.50)
 


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Primi Decennales - The first period of ten years. This epigraph (with COS. III. in a crown of oak) appears for the first time, either abridged or at full length, on coins, in all three metals, of Antoninus Pius, and afterward on those of his immediate successors, M. Aurelius and Commodus. These Decennales (says Eckhel) like the vota, whether suscepta or soluta, were doubtless celebrated for the health and safety of the reigning emperor. Recorded in the first instance during the reign of the Antonines, they afterward became a constantly recurring subject of numismatic inscription, and especially in the age of the Constantines. -- Dictionary of Roman Coins
RB89762. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 1006 (S), MIR 18 219-6/30, Cohen III 497, BMCRE IV 1398, Hunter II 151, SRCV II 4992 var. (obv leg), VF, tight flan, scratches, corrosion, weight 18.586 g, maximum diameter 29.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec 170 - Dec 171 A.D.; obverse IMP M ANTONINVS - AVG TR P XXV, laureate head right; reverse PRIMI / DECEN/NALES / COS III / S C, legend in five lines within oak wreath; scarce; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Arados, Phoenicia

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Ancient Arados, surrounded by massive walls on an island about 800 m long by 500 m wide, about 50 km north of Tripolis, was an important trading city with an artificial harbor on the east side toward the mainland. A walled island provides great security, but the lack of water on Arados was a serious challenge. Strabo recounts that Phoenicians collected rainwater and channeled it into cisterns, and that they shipped containers of fresh water from the mainland. Perhaps the most resourceful solution came from the fortuitous discovery—probably by sponge and coral divers—of an undersea freshwater spring, not far from the island in the channel between Arwad and the mainland. This spring, says Strabo, was exploited as a last resort when war or other crises interrupted water supplies from the mainland: "...into this spring the people let down from the water-fetching boat an inverted, wide-mouthed funnel made of lead, the upper part of which contracts into a stem with a moderate-sized hole through it; and round this stem they fasten a leathern tube (unless I should call it bellows), which receives the water that is forced up from the spring through the funnel. Now the first water that is forced up is sea-water, but the boatmen wait for the flow of pure and potable water and catch all that is needed in vessels prepared for the purpose and carry it to the city."Arados

RP89763. Bronze AE 24, RPC IV online T6746 (16 spec.); SNG Hunterian II 3258; BMC Phoenicia p. 48, 379; Rouvier III p. 257, 410, VF, struck on a thick, heavy flan, minor edge porosity , weight 11.959 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 180o, Arados (Arwad, Syria) mint, 162 - 163 A.D.; obverse ANTWNOC KAI OYHPOC CEBACTOI, confronted, laureate, draped, and bearded busts of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus; reverse AKY E APA∆IWN, humped bull charging left, head turned facing, AKY (year 421 of the local era) above, E in right field, APA∆IΩN below; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 1 (25 Jun 2017), lot 830; ex European Collection formed before 2005; very rare; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, 161 - 169 A.D., Mark Antony Restitution

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"Restitution" issue by Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus commemorating the famous legionary denarii of Marc Antony. The legion VI Ferrata, the "Ironclad", was an old legion of Caesar's that fought for Antony. It must have been chosen for the restitution for its presumably key-role during Verus' successful Parthian campaign.
RS89767. Silver denarius, BMCRE IV p. 456, 501; RIC III p. 248, 443; MIR 18 120-4; RSC I Antony 83; Cohen I Antony 83; SRCV II p. 341, 5236, VF, toned, some shallow scratches, small edge split, weight 3.329 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 165 - 166 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVGVR III VIR R P C, war galley, four oarsman visible, rowing left over waves; reverse ANTONINVS ET VERVS AVG REST, aquila (legionary eagle) in center, eagle turned left, between two legionary standards, LEG - VI in center above exergue line divided by aquila; e CNG e-auction 401 (12 Jul 2017), lot 539; ex collection of a Texas Wine Doctor; rare; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


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; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


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For coins of this period, it is difficult to distinguish the dupondius from the ass. When unpatinated the color of the dupondius tends to be yellow or yellow brown and the as tends to be reddish but exceptions are frequent. Zinc is now present in the as and reduced in quantity in both the sestertius and dupondius. There is no reliable significant difference in the composition of the three denominations.
RB88863. Bronze dupondius (or as), RIC III AP1232 (S), Cohen III 393, BMCRE IV MA1407, Hunter II 39 var. (slight drapery), SRCV II 4831, F, brown patina, scratch, porosity, reverse off center, weight 11.393 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 140 - 144 A.D.; obverse AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG PII F COS, bare head right; reverse IVVENTAS (youth), Juventas standing slightly left, head left, draped, dropping incense with left hand onto candelabrum on left, patera downward in right hand, S - C (senatus consulto) across field; scarce; $80.00 (€68.00)
 







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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 Wednesday, May 22, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Marcus Aurelius