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

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

L Aelius Aurelius Commodus was the son of emperor Marcus Aurelius and empress Faustina II. Caesar in 177 A.D., Commodus succeeded his father as Augustus in 180. His rule of twelve years quickly degenerated into debauchery, paranoia, and insanity. He actually believed he was Hercules reincarnated and even participated in gladiatorial contests. The empire was directed by his unscrupulous favorites while the emperor amused himself in whatever decadent way he saw fit. His assassination in 192 A.D. was viewed as a blessing by most Romans of the day.


Commodus and Crispina, 177 - 192 A.D.

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SH34908. Bronze medallion, Gnecchi II, p. 72, 2 and Pl 91, 9 (same dies); Gbl MIR 1078; Cohen III 3, Fine/Fair, weight 41.742 g, maximum diameter 35.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 177 A.D.; obverse IMP COMMODVS AVG GERM SARM CRISPINA AVG, draped bust of Crispina right facing laureate and draped bust of young Commodus left; reverse VOTA PVBLICA, Commodus (on left) and Crispina (on right, veiled) standing confronted, clasping hands, Concordia stands behind them in the center with her arms around their shoulders; ex Spink; very rare; SOLD


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This coin refers to Commodus' belief that he was Hercules reincarnated. According to the historian Herodian, "he issued orders that he was to be called not Commodus, son of Marcus, but Hercules, son of Jupiter. Abandoning the Roman and imperial mode of dress, he donned the lion-skin, and carried the club of Hercules."
SH27024. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 639, RSC II 199, SRCV II 5753, VF, weight 24.362 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 192 A.D.; obverse L AEL AVREL COMM AVG P FEL, Commodus as Hercules, head right wearing lion-skin; reverse HERCVL ROMANO AVGV S C, bow, club and quiver with arrows; nice green patina; scarce; SOLD


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Slightly better centering and we would grade this FDC.
SH77012. Silver denarius, RIC III MA617, BMCRE IV MA651, RSC II 609a, MIR 18 342, SRCV II 5547, Hunter II -, Choice aMS, superb portrait, excellent strike with attractive dies, light tone on full luster, weight 3.261 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, Apr/May 175 - Oct/Nov 176 A.D.; obverse COMMODO CAES AVG FIL GERM SARM, draped bust right from behind; reverse PRINC IVVENT (Prince of Youth), Commodus standing facing, head left, branch downward in right, reversed spear in left, trophy with shield and arms at base right; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Barry Murphy; rare; SOLD


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

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An interesting reverse depicting a mythological scene: Leto and her children Artemis and Apollo. The two were fathered by Zeus, arousing Hera's jealousy. Leto was banned from giving birth on earth or sea, but found the island of Delos, which supposedly was not connected to either.
SH37276. Bronze medallion, BMC Lydia -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, Imhoof-Blumer LS -, VF, weight 24.976 g, maximum diameter 36.4 mm, die axis 180o, Hierocaesarea (near Sazoba, Turkey) mint, Mar/Apr 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.; obverse AVT KAI Λ AVPH KOMMO∆O, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse EΠI[...]OY[...] APTEMI∆OPOY APX[...] IEPOKAICAPEΩN, Artemis standing half-right wearing chiton; Leto standing half-left holding patera; Apollo standing half-left, naked, resting left hand on lyre; nice armored bust, HUGE 36 mm coin!; extremely rare; SOLD


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The only other example of this type known to Forum is the referenced British Museum specimen, a P. Tinchang Gift, 1930. We were unable to find any examples in recent sales or online.
RB68906. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE IV 514, RIC III 372 var. (obv leg ends AVG PIVS), Cayon 376 var. (same), Cohen -, SRCV II -, www -, VF, nice patina, minor scratches and corrosion, weight 23.458 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Jan - 9 Dec 183 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse TR P VIII IMP VI COS IIII P P, Fortuna standing facing, head left, rudder on globe in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; perhaps only the 2nd known; extremely rare; SOLD


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

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Doug Smith notes, "Only recently have rare coins of this mint for Commodus been recognized." All examples share the same reverse spelling errors. Click here to read more about |Alexandria denarii| on |Doug |Smith's website.
SH14688. Silver denarius, unpublished, RIC III -, SRCV II -, Cohen -, RSC II -, BMCRE IV -, Choice VF, weight 2.844 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 192 A.D.; obverse M COMM ANTO-N AVG PIVS BRIT, laureate head right; reverse LIR AVG R M TR P XVII COS VII PP, Libertas standing right holding pileus and scepter, star in left field; very rare; SOLD


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The head left is extremely rare on denarii of Commodus. This coin may be an ancient counterfeit rather than an official Rome mint issue. The elaborate Annona reverse composition reflects the special care Commodus took in supplying the much needed African grain to Rome (in fear of mob uprisings).
SH14699. Silver denarius, apparently unpublished, cf. RIC III 106 and BMCRE IV 157 (both bust right), aVF, weight 2.499 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome? mint, 184 - 185 A.D.; obverse COMM ANT AVG P BRIT, laureate head left; reverse ANN P M TR P X IMP VII COS IIII P P, Annona standing left, statuette of Concordia holding patera and scepter in right hand, scepter in left hand, at feet left modius, right two persons on ship; extremely rare; SOLD


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Doug Smith notes, "Only recently have rare coins of this mint for Commodus been recognized." All examples share the same reverse spelling errors. This specimen has an error on the obverse as well.Click here to read more about |Alexandria denarii| on |Doug |Smith's website.
SH33824. Silver denarius, unpublished, RIC III -, SRCV II -, Cohen III -, RSC II -, BMCRE IV -, VF, weight 1.796 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 192 A.D.; obverse M COMM ANTO-N AVG PIVS RBIT, laureate head right; reverse LIR AVG R M TR P XVII COS VII P P, Libertas standing right, pileus in right, long scepter in left hand, star in left field; very rare; SOLD


Divus Commodus, Commemorative Issued by Trajan Decius, 250 - 251 A.D.

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RIC notes that the commencement of the divi series of antoniniani may be attributed with certainty by their weight to Trajan Decius and issue may have continued into the reign of Trebonianus Gallus.
RS77211. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV TD93 (R); RSC II 1009; Hunter III p. 257, 27; SRCV III 9480, Choice VF, well centered, toned, some luster in recessed areas, weight 4.387 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 180o, Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) mint, struck under Traianus Decius, 250 - 251 A.D.; obverse DIVO COMMODO, radiate head right; reverse CONSECRATION, eagle standing slightly left, head turned back right, wings open; rare; SOLD


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

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The abbreviated obverse titles KAI CEB VIW, for Kαιcαρι Cεβαcτω Yιω, corresponds to the Latin "Caesar Augustus Filius" (prince, son of the emperor).
RP63453. Silver tridrachm, RPC Online 7058 (citing only 2 examples); Sydenham Caesarea 363; Metcalf 140; BMC Galatia p. 192, 344 (Antioch); SNG Cop -; Prieur -, F, nice portrait, right side of obverse legend weak, weight 10.31 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 180o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, 175 A.D.; obverse KOMMO∆W KAI CEB VIW, bare-headed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ΓEPMAN CAPMAT (Germanicus Sarmaticus), eagle standing facing on club left, wings open, head and tail right; ex Comptoir Gnral Financier mail bid sale 13 (2001), lot 351; extremely rare; SOLD




  




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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

COMMANTAVGPBRIT
COMMANTFELAVGPBRIT
COMMODOCAESAVGFILGERM
COMMODOCAESAVGFILGERMSARM
COMMODVSCAESAVGFILGERM
DIVOCOMMODO
IMPCAESLAVRELCOMMODVSAVGGERMSARM
IMPCAESLAVRELCOMMODVSGERMSARM
IMPLAVRELCOMMAVGGERMSARM
IMPLAVRELCOMMODVSAVGGERMSARM
LAELAVRCOMAVGPF
LAELAVRELCOMMAVGPFEL
LAVRECOMMODVSAVG
LAVRELCOMMODVSAVG
LAVRELCOMMODVSAVGGERMSARM
LAVRELCOMMODVSAVGTRPIII
LAVRELCOMMODVSAVGTRPIIII
LCOMMODVSAVG
MANTONINVSCOMMODVSAVG
MAVRELANCOMMAVGPFEL
MCOMMANTAVGPBRIT
MCOMMANTAVGPBRITFEL
MCOMMANTPFELAVGBRIT
MCOMMANTPFELAVGBRITPP
MCOMMANTOAVGPIVSFEL
MCOMMANTAVGBRIT
MCOMMANTONAVGPIVSBRIT
MCOMMANTONVSPIVSBRIT
MCOMMODANTPFELIXAVGBRITPP
MCOMMODVSANTONAVGPIVS
MCOMMODVSANTONINVSAVG
MCOMMODVSANTONINVSAVGPIVS
MCOMMODVSANTPFELIXAVGBRIT


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calic, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayn, 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 frappes 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).
Mouchmov, N. Le Tresor Numismatique De Reka-Devnia (Marcianopolis). (Sofia, 1934).
Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE) http://numismatics.org/ocre/
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Szaivert, W. Die Mnzprgung 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).
Toynbee, J. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Thursday, December 5, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Commodus