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The name Ostia was derived from the Latin "ostium" - river mouth. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Construction of the port facilities began under Claudius and was likely completed just before this sestertius was struck in 64 A.D. Trajan and Hadrian expanded the facilities. The port was abandoned due to silting and now lies 3 km from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics. SH86120. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC I 178, BMCRE I 131, Cohen I 37, Mac Dowall WCN 120, BnF I -, VF, well centered, nice portrait, near black patina, scratches on obverse lower right field, some porosity and tiny pitting, weight 26.031 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverseNEROCLAVDCAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVGVSTI above, S - C divided by POR OST below, bird's-eye view Ostia harbor: pharos lighthouse with Neptune statue on top at far side center; crescent-shaped pier with building and figure sacrificing at far end, crescent-shaped row of breakwaters or slips on right with figure seated on rock at far end, 7 ships within port; river god Tiber reclining left holding rudder and dolphin below; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 195 (7 Mar 2011), lot 405; $5200.00 (€4420.00)
Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D.
This is the rarest Othodenariustype and one of the rarest 1st century Roman denarii. Only two museums, Paris and ANS, hold examples. A further specimen was found in archeological context in Denmark in 1990s. Besides these, four additional specimens are known. This coin has the best portrait and is clearly the most attractive of the seven known. Jyrki Muona obtained it in 2002 at the NYINC from Glenn Woods.
Otho minted three separate issues. The first and second issues followed Galba's standard of 90% silver. Otho's third issue was debased to 80% silver. All coins of the third issue share the reverselegendPONT MAX, perhaps to make it easy to distinguish the debased coins. One might think our rare coin is a reverselegend error for Otho's third issue, PONT MAXCerestype. However, as Butcheret al. have shown, this is not the case. If CERES AVG was a simple reverselegend error, the flan would be 80% silver. This CERES AVGtype was struck in a second issue of 90% silver flans, probably during planning for the third issue, and perhaps only for testing. The type was apparently not distributed, and was withdrawn, and melted when it was decided to debase the coinage and use the PONT MAXlegend. It appears a small number were released, most likely by mistake.RS85563. Silver denarius, Muona Otho 10b; Butcher-Ponting-Muona 6; ANSCD 1958.217.1; BnF III 1; RIC I 1 (R3, 7 spec. known, all minted with the same die-pair), Nice VF, the best portrait and most attractive of the seven known specimens, light rose toning, a few light marks and spots of porosity, weight 3.272 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 9 Mar - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse IMP OTHOCAESAR AVG TRP, bare head right; reverseCERES AVG, Ceres standing left, grain-ears raised in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; rarest Othodenariustype; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Glenn Woods (NYINC, 2002); $5000.00 (€4250.00)
Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Philippopolis, Thrace
Nomos described this coin as, "An extraordinary piece, especially with remains of its original silver plating. Some marks from cleaning, otherwise, about extremely fine."SH85458. Silveredmedallion, okatassarion or quinarius; SNG Cop 784; Varbanov III 1721 (R8); Mionnet I, p. 419, 358 (R6); Mouchmov 5428 (all same dies), aEF, cleaning marks, areas of light corrosion, weight 38.718 g, maximum diameter 40.8 mm, die axis 15o, Philippopolis mint, 218 - 222 A.D.; obverse AYT K M AYPΛ ANTΩNEINOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed three-quarter length bust of Elagabalus left; reverse MHTPOΠOΛEΩC ΦIΛIΠΠOΠOΛEΩC NEΩ KOPOY, youthful Herakles standing left, nude but for lion's skin draped around his left forearm, resting his right hand on the handle of a club set on the ground and holding an apple in his left hand; big 40.8mm bronze!, ex Nomos AG, auction 10 (18 May 2015), lot 115 (realized approximately $4686 including buyers fee); extremely rare; $3400.00 (€2890.00)
Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D.
The wreath on the reverse is the corona civica, the oak wreath awarded to Roman citizens ex senatus consulto (by special decree of the Senate) for saving the life of another citizen by slaying an enemy in battle. It became a prerogative for Roman emperors to be awarded the Civic Crown, originating with Augustus, who was awarded it in 27 B.C. for saving the lives of citizens by ending the series of civil wars. SH86121. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC I 37, BMCRE I 38, Cohen I 24, BnF II 50, Hunter I 15, SRCV I -, Choice VF, Tiberpatina, centered and struck, attractive young portrait, some marks and corrosion, weight 26.709 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVSPON MTR POT, laureate head left; reverseS P Q R / P P / OB CIVES / SERVATOS in four lines within Corona Civica oak wreath; rare; $2400.00 (€2040.00)
Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria
Gaius Licinius Mucianus (named on this coin) was governor of Syria. When he failed to put down the Jewish revolt, Vespasian was sent to replace him. After the death of Galba, Mucianus and Vespasian both swore allegiance to Otho. Mucianus persuaded Vespasian to take up arms against Vitellius, who had seized the throne. They agreed Vespasian would settle affairs in the East, while Mucianus made would attack Vitellius. On his way to Rome, Mucianus defeated a Dacian invasion of Moesia. Mucianus reached Rome the day after Vitellius' death. Mucianus never wavered in his allegiance to Vespasian and was appointed consul for the third time in 72. As no mention is made of Mucianus during the reigns of Titus or Domitian, he probably died during the reign of Vespasian.RP85562. Bronze AE 28, McAlee 319 (ex. rare, same dies), cf. RPC 4316 (not specifying obverselegend direction), aVF, nice portrait, dark patina with buff earthen highlighting, spots of light corrosion, obverselegend mostly weak or off flan, weight 11.757 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse [IMP M OT]-HO - [CAE AVG] (counterclockwise from upper left), head laureate right, dot in field behind; reverse EΠI / MOYKIA/NOY AN/TIOXEΩ/N ET ZIP (legate Mucianus, of Antioch, year 117) in five lines within a linear circle in a laurel wreath; this variant with a counterclockwise obverselegend is extremely rare; ex Gemini auction XIII (6 Apr 2017), lot 158, ex Jyrki Muona Collection; $2250.00 (€1912.50)
Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.
Strabo wrote, "The Romans possess Lugdunum, founded below a ridge at the confluence of the Arar and the Rhone. It is the most populous of all the other cities except Narbo; for it is a center of commerce, and the Roman emperors strike their silver and gold coinage there." (4.3.2) SH85701. Silver denarius, RIC I 167a, BMCRE I 451, RSC I 137, BnF I 1373, Hunter I 197, SRCV I 1610, Choice EF, superb portrait, well centered and struck, dark toning, light marks, slightest porosity, weight 3.630 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverseAVGVSTVS DIVI•F, bare head right, dot border; reverse bull butting right, left foreleg raised, lashing tail, IMP•X in exergue, linear border; $2000.00 (€1700.00)
Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D.
The wreath on the reverse is the corona civica, the oak wreath awarded to Roman citizens ex senatus consulto (by special decree of the Senate) for saving the life of another citizen by slaying an enemy in battle. It became a prerogative for Roman emperors to be awarded the Civic Crown, originating with Augustus, who was awarded it in 27 B.C. for saving the lives of citizens by ending the series of civil wars. RB86122. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC I 37, BMCRE I 38, Cohen I 24, BnF II 50, Hunter I 15, SRCV I -, VF, attractively centered on a broad flan, brass and tan contrasts, weight 27.910 g, maximum diameter 35.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVSPON MTR POT, laureate head left; reverseS P Q R / P P / OB CIVES / SERVATOS in four lines within Corona Civica oak wreath; rare; $1900.00 (€1615.00)
Roman Republic, Marcus Junius Brutus, Most Famous of Caesars Assassins, 44 - 42 B.C.
This type, traditionally attributed to an otherwise unknown Dacian or Sythian kingKoson, was struck by Brutus, c. 44 - 42 B.C., with gold supplied by the Senate to fund his legions in the Roman civil war against Mark Antony and Octavian. The obverse imitates a Roman denarius struck by Brutus in 54 B.C. depicting his ancestor L. Junius Brutus, the traditional founder of the Roman Republic. The reverse imitates a Roman denarius struck by Pomponius Rufus in 73 B.C. The meaning of the inscription "KOΣΩN" is uncertain. KOΣΩN may have been the name of a Dacian king who supplied mercenary forces to Brutus, or BR KOΣΩN may have been intended to mean "[of] the Consul Brutus."SH85674. Gold stater, BMCRR II p. 474, 48; RPC I 1701A (Thracian Kings); BMC Thrace p. 208, 1 (same); SNG Cop 123 (Scythian Dynasts), Choice gVF, full circles strike, mint luster, weight 8.378 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, military mint, 44 - 42 B.C.; obverse Roman consul L. Junius Brutus (traditional founder of the Republic) in center, accompanied by two lictors, KOΣΩN in exergue, BR (Brutus) monogram left; reverseeagle standing left on scepter, wings open, raising wreath in right talon; $1700.00 (€1445.00)
Julian II "the Apostate," February 360 - 26 June 363 A.D.
Although Eastern Solidi of Julian II seem fairly common, the Western issues are quite scarce and this type from Arles is very rare. Zeus' eagle in the right field has been interpreted to indicate pagan influence at the Arelatum mint. SH86350. Gold solidus, RIC VIIIArles 303 (R2), Depeyrot EMA 145/1, Cohen VIII 75, SRCV V 19097, Hunter V -, aVF, clipped flan, graffitiobverse right field, bumps and scratches, die break reverse lower left, weight 3.202 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Constantia-Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 360 - 363 A.D.; obverse FL CL IVLIANVS P P AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassedbust right, seen from the front; reverseVIRTVS EXERC GALL (the courage of the Roman army in Gaul), soldier (Julian?) advancing right, helmeted and wearing military garb, head left, right hand on the head of a bound captive on one knee, trophy of arms in left hand across left shoulder; eagle right in right field, looking left, wreath in beak; KONSTAN (TAN ligate) in exergue; ex iNumis auction 20 May 2010 (€1740 including fees); very rare; $1700.00 (€1445.00)
Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.
"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverselegend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar; but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."
Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.SH85584. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/16, Sydenham 1067, Sear CRI 111, RSC IJulius Caesar 9, BMCRR I Rome 4185, SRCV I 1415, aVF, toned, weight 3.464 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, moneyer C. Cossutius Maridianus, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverseCAESAR DICT PERPETVO, veiled and wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse C MARIDIANVS, Venus standing left, Victory in extended right hand, resting left arm on shield at side on right; $1500.00 (€1275.00)
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