Caligula down! Now just two left to finish the Twelve Caesars!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by lordmarcovan, May 11, 2024.

  1. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    I was after Caligula for my Twelve Caesars collection.

    I did battle over some nice ones at auction, but lost badly (the ones I bid on went for crazy prices!) So I dialed back my expectations a little bit, and ended up buying one at fixed price, from Zuzim on VCoins.

    Now I have ten of the Twelve Caesars (83% complete) as of this post, and lack only Julius Caesar and Vitellius!

    This Caligula is no showboat, but rather just a middle-of-the-road example with decent-looking surfaces and lightly contrasting patina. Zuzim described it as "VF", but I'm more of the opinion that it will go Fine when I send it off to NGC (we'll see). I'd be OK with that- as long as it achieves that grade with no problem notations. (Fine is my self-imposed minimum grade for my collections.)

    Zuzim's description:


    RIC 38, RSC 27, Very Fine, 27.5mm, 11.22 grams, Struck Circa. 37/38 C.E.

    Obverse: C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT around bare head of Caligula to left

    Reverse: Vesta seated to left on ornamental throne, holding patera and scepter, VESTA above

    An above average, problem free example of this popular type with nice eye appeal!

    Ex: VJM Collection, NJ Purchased from Tom Cederlind, 1982".
    Having a piece pedigreed to the late Tom Cederlind is kind of nice.

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  3. Mr.MonkeySwag96

    Mr.MonkeySwag96 Well-Known Member

    I'm currently at 11 of the 12 Caesars. I'm only missing Otho. Here is my comparatively humble Caligula:

  4. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Otho is always a toughie. I made a point of getting him out of the way earlier in the game, this time around. The first time I completed a Twelve Caesars set, back in 2013, Otho was the last coin I got, as I recall.

    Here's the Caligula from my old set:

    And the one for my current set, shown above:

    Here's the Otho from my old set:

    And the Otho from my current set:
  5. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    It's a lovely example. Lets hope there isn't any hidden surprises, like the last few of his, you've owned, got. Zuzim is a great dealer.

    Caligula4Caesarea0341_(1).jpg Caligula (37-41 A.D.)
    AR Drachm
    CAPPADOCIA, Caesarea
    O: C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS Bare head of Caligula to right.
    R: IMPERATOR PONT MAX AVG TR POT Simpulum and lituus.
    BMC 102. RIC 63 Sear 1798

    cali.jpg Caligula (37 - 41 A.D.)
    Æ30 AS
    O: C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS IMP, laureate head left.
    R: SEGO BRIGA in wreath.
    Segobriga Mint
    Burgos 1724
  6. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    @Mat here is referring to two unfortunate incidents I've had with bronze disease. In 48 years of collecting, I've only had two ancient coins of mine ever catch the dreaded bronze disease, and as luck would have it, they were both relatively expensive Caligulas, not some cheap late-Roman AE4s! I called it "The Curse of Caligula"!

    But I think that's behind me, now. This piece looks like it has pretty good metal, no pitting, etc. So I'm optimistic.
    sand likes this.
  7. JayAg47

    JayAg47 Well-Known Member

    That's a nice looking portrait of Caligula.
    I didn't have any plans to get a coin of him, but happened to come across my sestertius for a good price last year. It's celebrates the completion of the temple of Augustus, whereby Caligula sacrifices a bull over an altar. Looks much better in hand than in a photo!
    caligula (1).jpg
  8. The Meat man

    The Meat man Well-Known Member

    Ha! I had that one on my watch list and in my cart. Couldn't decide whether or not to spring for it. As the dealer noted, it's a nice problem-free example - though I agree with you about the grade, I'd say gF or maybe about VF. Still, a very nice coin!

    Incidentally, the dealer's attribution is slightly's not RIC I 38 but rather RIC I 54: a scarcer variant with a different obverse legend.

    Congrats on the acquisition! It'll fit well with your collection.
    Bing, sand and lordmarcovan like this.
  9. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Good to hear. Thanks.

    I too might have been more hesitant on the purchase, but just after failing twice at auction to nab one, I made up my mind and pulled the trigger on it.

    Just in the past few days:

    I bid €500 on this, but it closed for €550


    Also, I bid $675 on this and was going to go back and bid higher, but it took off to a ridiculous degree. It closed for $3,120 USD, which is, in my opinion, completely insane. It’s a nice coin, but not $3K+ nice! They wanted it way more than I did! (The one I bought ended up costing only one-sixth as much.)

    So yeah, I got tired of auctions, and was happy to find one at fixed price that wasn’t ridiculously overpriced.
  10. The Meat man

    The Meat man Well-Known Member

    I think you did well. I might have tried offering less but IMO the asking price wasn't outrageous by any means.

    That Heritage Caligula, on the other hand, is completely insane! I would expect that coin to retail for $500-$600. $3k is utterly absurd. I notice that whoever bought it is taking offers of $3,900 or more. :rolleyes:
    sand and lordmarcovan like this.
  11. KSorbo

    KSorbo Well-Known Member

    That’s a nice pickup! Well centered strike with attractive surfaces and color. That’s much more important than the technical grade IMO.
    lordmarcovan, sand and The Meat man like this.
  12. The Meat man

    The Meat man Well-Known Member

    I agree!
    KSorbo, lordmarcovan and sand like this.
  13. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    As do I. As long as this one I bought goes Fine at NGC with reasonable strike/surface ratings and no problem notations, I’ll be content. I hope for Ch F. I think VF (as the dealer said) is a bit too optimistic.

    For me, especially with Ancients, it’s more about eye appeal for the grade rather than the technical grade itself.

    Though, as mentioned, I do strive to stay with Fine and up for aesthetic reasons. I might relax that minimum standard for something truly rare that I want, however. For example, if I ever buy a 1793 US Chain cent for my primary collection, G4 would be the ultimate best I could aspire to on my budget… if even that. (There probably isn’t a Chain cent in my future.)
    KSorbo, The Meat man and tibor like this.
  14. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    The one you bought is better than my. If it were not for the Caligula AS coins, we would all have holes in our collections.

    Caligula AS Me All.jpg

    I have had the chance to buy a couple Caligula denarii, but at $5 to $6 thousand a piece for coins that had obviously been worked on, it was a pass.

    Getting a Julius Caesar portrait piece that was issued during his lifetime is tough and expensive. If you think he looked like an elephant, these are easy, but expensive.

    Julius Caesar Ele All.jpg

    The biggest problem I had with Vitiallius was finding a piece that had his entire name on it. Early in my search, I found found one that was beautifully preserved expect for the fact that it had a wonderful portrait, but no name at all.
  15. KSorbo

    KSorbo Well-Known Member

    I only have 2 of the 12 Caesars, a Tiberius denarius and this Caligula quadrans. It has no portrait but I bought it on impulse as I was enamored by its level of preservation. If I was seriously pursuing a 12 Caesars set the OP coin would be a much better fit. At this point I’m just dabbling in ancients and am attracted to anything that looks nice and is from second century AD or before.

    IMG_3162.jpeg IMG_3096.jpeg IMG_3097.jpeg
  16. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    I suppose there is no rule carved in stone that says a Twelve Caesars collection must be all portrait coins, though most people interpret it that way.

    That is indeed a very sharp little quadrans.

    If one did not focus exclusively on portrait coins, then Julius Caesar would be far easier to do- one could just grab one of those “elephant” denarii, like @johnmilton mentioned. They’re pretty neat. So are the ones with Venus heads, which are actually more attractive than Caesar himself. But in my case, limiting myself to a portrait coin of Caesar struck in his lifetime, preferably in 44 BC, and preferably Fine or better, is going to cost me…
    johnmilton and KSorbo like this.
  17. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Yes, Caesar portrait coins are expensive. I bid $11,000 for a decent one, which would have cost me $13,200 with the buyers’ fee, and I still didn’t get it. Problem pieces ran $2 to $3 thousand the last time I looked a few years ago.
    Cheech9712 likes this.
  18. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    This is the Julius Caesar coin from my first Twelve Caesars collection, completed a decade ago. It was a bit of an ugly duckling- VG with banker’s marks- but it was a lifetime portrait coin, from around the Ides of March in that historic year of 44 BC. Caesar’s image was reasonably clear on the coin, and most of his name readable. And it cost me slightly less than 500 bucks. That would be quite difficult to do nowadays.

    Getting another, in 2024, and upgrading to at least a Fine, is going to be expensive, no doubt.

  19. edteach

    edteach Well-Known Member

    Good score. I am down to JC. I am going to wait a bit. If the economy crashes, prices may come down a bit. Here is my Caligula. My Caligula AS bought from a forum member. Caligula.png.4046821f9c4dc37cfe31fd4002025ebf.png.3e56894180fe1589674c2550031af6ef.png
  20. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Looks very familiar. ;)

    So that’s the one I bought but opted not to keep, due to rim damage (the one heavy hit at 6:00.)

    You can see how much sharper that coin (now yours) is, in terms of details. Quite the nice portrait. It also goes to show you how much I sacrificed in technical grade to let go of the one you just posted and go for the one in the OP instead.

    All because I was too picky to accept that rim hit on the one that is now yours.

    I wonder what would happen if we put it to a poll in another thread- which coin would more folks pick? I honestly don’t know. Want to try that, just to see what happens?

    IMG_8405.png IMG_8406.png
  21. edteach

    edteach Well-Known Member

    No, I am not into mine is better than yours. I just love the coins. That these have survived in such conditions is just amazing to me. I thank you again for the purchase. If you ever have a JC you can not live with please let me know. I would be very interested.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
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