Augustus “the cracked” Standing Bull Type RIC 475

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Steelers72, Apr 9, 2021.

  1. Steelers72

    Steelers72 Well-Known Member

    I have been studying the denarii of Augustus and in particular I found an attraction to the standing bull type (RIC475, been meaning to find the RSC number but it appears my edition of the book does not reference the type. I’ve seen it referenced as RSC28 in online listings but, at least in my book, that would be the capricorn type).

    In my opinion, these coins were minted by a master engraver who made a very artistic set of dies of great style. For the reason below, I’d call the dies artistic but fragile. From my research, the mint this coin was produced was located at Pergamum, an ancient Greek city in Mysia (modern day northwest Turkey). 2927BF3E-706A-4C32-B219-93C85906D4F5.jpeg 672463B7-919E-4118-BA3A-135B62AF3E8C.jpeg

    Most of the denarii of this type have what appears to be a prominent fissure or hairline crack on the flan. Sometimes, deep enough to be seen on obverse and reverse. Nearly all examples have this crack in varying degrees - some extreme and some that are barely visible to the naked eye. However, maybe the first batch of coins minted are free of this “flaw” if you so choose to describe it as one. I do believe the dies were the culprit, rather than the quality of the metal used; a topic of debate.

    Most examples of the type I have seen have bulls with “cut off” snouts. It is particularly uncommon to find one where the bull’s facial features are well struck.

    If anyone has more reference material on who the engraver(s) might have been, or more background knowledge on this type please do share. I’ve compiled a bunch of examples obtained online for the purpose of studying the type below. If you have an example of this type, please do share!

    AUGUSTUS, 27 B.C.- A.D. 14. AR Denarius, Pergamum Mint, RIC-475. Bare head right; Reverse: Bull standing right.

    B0E5C7FC-CCBC-4354-9A2F-98E81E5DADBF.jpeg F91E408A-79BE-4F40-9029-EA8FD1386CEC.jpeg 4DF388FE-A245-42DB-8898-CE7AFAFD1B7B.jpeg 979858CC-F569-4310-BCE4-047075BD1410.jpeg BB2592F9-98BF-4B82-B3A5-3C69263C9CDA.jpeg 339F59D5-06F0-4283-80FE-06A4506D8822.jpeg E8496FA9-2B82-4545-BF52-F392608A4ECF.jpeg 4BA00722-CDCD-4A2B-9257-169E314F4BA9.jpeg

    (all images sourced online via Google or wikipedia for reference only; I do not claim ownership)
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2021
    eparch, Limes, Shea19 and 13 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Steelers72

    Steelers72 Well-Known Member

    More examples below
    15FAAB7E-5348-4C74-8ACB-F25717EF11B6.jpeg CE00F87D-1DFB-47B4-81FA-01161C8EF7E6.jpeg
  4. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Beautiful type, one out of many dreamcoins of mine. I sadly only have the bull butting type :

    Augustus, Denarius - Lyon mint c.12 BC
    AUGUSTUS DIVI F, Bare head of Augustus right
    IMP X, Bull butting right
    3.77 gr
    Ref : RCV #1610, Cohen #137

  5. Mammothtooth

    Mammothtooth Stand up Philosopher, Vodka Taster

    What would one of those set you back?
  6. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Quite a few bucks I'm afraid :(

  7. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Here's a bronze coin of Augustus with reverse showing a bull butting left. Struck at Sidon_ Phoenicia, the coin represents Zeus disguised in the shape of a bull to kidnap Europa, sister of Kadmus. She's seen here on the back of the bull. RPC 41009.

    EurAugustus  RPC41009.JPG EuropaAug R  Sidon.JPG
  8. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    @Cucumbor if you ever want to add a nice bull's marble head to accompany your denarius, there's one for sale by Christie's in their next auction: circa 1st-2nd century AD, 9 inch high, estimated between 40,000-60,000 USD...


  9. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Augustus 11.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: AVGVSTUS DIVI F, bare head right
    REVERSE: Bull butting right
    IMP X in exergue
    Lugdunum 15-13 BC
    3.7g, 18mm
    RIC I 167a, BMC 451. C 137, CBN 1382
    galba68, ambr0zie, Cucumbor and 9 others like this.
  10. Romancollector

    Romancollector Well-Known Member

    Here is my bull, though it is not of the Pergamene variety.
    Photo is CNG's
    Augustus bull CNG photo.jpeg
    galba68, Cucumbor, Limes and 7 others like this.
  11. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    Funnily, I had this described as a bull too, but in RSC it's described as a heifer and anatomically, that seems to be correct, so I changed my description :D
    For what it's worth, it's RSC 28 on page 133 of my copy of RSC - third edition, reprinted in 2006 (I believe there were no changes since the 1978 original printing of the third edition). The RIC numbers referenced refer to the "old" RIC volume I, where it was RIC 59.

    Mine has a crack and a corroded obverse, but the beast herself is OK:


    Here's a real bull on RIC 187a:


  12. Steelers72

    Steelers72 Well-Known Member

    Super interesting, I did not know it is considered a heifer and not a bull! I had always assumed it was a bull (lack of utters? Lol) and it seems most dealers/auctions attribute it as a bull. It does look less masculine than the bull on RIC187a so it does make sense. Thank you for your expertise! RSC28 it is!
  13. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    Yeah - I actually see that CNG have described it variously as a heifer and a bull.
    RIC refers to a "Young bull", but BMC calls it a heifer. Looks like a heifer to me now, but it's been a couple of decades since my family had any cattle and I was never much of a cowboy even then :D

    7Calbrey and Steelers72 like this.
  14. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    Here is mine


    Like the others, the depiction of the head is poor, and there is
    an indentation on the animal's flank which one would normally expect to be smooth - I have no idea why.

    When I bought it , the mint was given as Samos, as per RIC 1.
    Why has this changed to Pergamum ? Hoard evidence ?
  15. Steelers72

    Steelers72 Well-Known Member

    Nice example! I am not entirely sure why the mint location changed. Some references say Pergamum OR Samos. I too wonder why
    eparch likes this.
  16. Steelers72

    Steelers72 Well-Known Member

    Did some more research through archives.

    From what I compiled, Somos or Samos (ancient Greece) is a small island off the cost of modern day Turkey 2EE361C9-1EB5-411D-B856-4F28844CC54C.gif

    The bull depicted on the Augustus denarius is signficant because the island of Somos had a center of practice for the Poseidon cult - believed to be the Temple of Hera 9F36FFA7-931B-4AB3-B734-6E126F0B2891.jpeg

    “TAU′REUS (Taureos), a surname of Poseidon, given to him either because bulls were sacrificed to him, or because he was the divinity that gave greet pasture to bulls on the sea-coast. (Hes. Seut. Herc. 104; Hom. Od. iii. 6; Schol. ad Pind. Nem. vi. 69.).
    Poseidon was himself responsible for another terrible creature - the Minotaur. Minos' failure to sacrifice the bull given as a gift by the god resulted in Poseidon bewitching Minos' wife Pasiphae into falling in love with the bull; and the fruit of their amorous relationship was the half-man, half-bull creature which inhabited the labyrinth of Knossos.”

    Coins minted in this region, both Roman and Greek, tend to depict a bull paying homage to the region’s ancient Greek culture. I wonder if Augustus was told the bull was added for other reasons, such as his empire’s virility and strength by the Somos minter

    Interesting enough, a popular hotel on the island is named after Poseidon.
    eparch likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page