Caracalla, first year of a new denomination

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Valentinian, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    We had a good thread on Caracalla a while back:
    The thrust of this thread is different -- first-year coins.

    Until 215 under Caracalla the denarius was the silver denomination. (There were extremely few silver quinarius pieces which hardly count.) In 215 the "antoninianus" (which is our name for it. It is not know what the ancients called it) was introduced. It weighs about 1 1/2 times the weight of a denarius, but scholars now think it was tariffed at two denarii, making it overvalued relative to the denarius. Two denarii had more silver than one two-denarius piece. Here is one from the first year of issue:


    22 mm. 4.90 grams.
    ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM (He called himself "Antoninus Pius" but we call him Caracalla.)
    Radiate bust of Caracalla right, cuirassed and seen patly from behind. The radiate crown distinguishes the denomination.
    Jupiter standing right, head right, holding thunderbolt (which tells us it is Jupiter) and a long staff.
    TRP XVIII was 215 and dates the coin. There are no antoniniani dated earlier.
    There is something to like about first-year-of-issue coins. This one is from the first year of a common denomination which changed greatly over the course of the third century.
    I like portrait pieces from the first (and last) year of an emperor's reign. How young did he look at the beginning? How much did the emperor's portrait change over his reign?

    Show us a first-year coin type or portrait, maybe with a last-year for comparison. Or, show us another Caracalla.
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Very appealing coin and an interesting idea for a thread.

    You show the first issue of an Antoninianus; I shall show the last for nearly a generation. This was issued in AD 219 by Elagabalus, Caracalla's cousin-once-removed.

    After Elagabalus, the denomination was no longer minted until the "year of the six emperors," AD 238, when it was reintroduced by Balbinus.

    Elagabalus Fortuna Antoninianus.jpg
    Elagabalus, AD 218-222.
    Roman AR Antoninianus, 5.17 g, 21.3 mm.
    Rome, AD 219.
    Obv: IMP ANTONINVS AVG, radiate and draped bust, right.
    Rev: P M TR PII COSII P P, Fortuna enthroned left, holding rudder on globe and cornucopiae; wheel below seat.
    Refs: RIC 18; BMCRE 94; Cohen 148; RCV 7495.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
  4. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    That’s a beautiful antoninianus! I’ve wanted one of these Year 1 ants ever since I started collecting. I’m still looking.

    Here’s an early Caracalla as Caesar denarius. The DESTINATO IMPERAT legend on the reverse was unique to this issue.

  5. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    That's a great ant Warren, especially the portrait.
  6. Pellinore

    Pellinore Well-Known Member

    Very nice. Was the coin introduced massively and with several reverses? Is there anything known about the mints?
  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    All Caracalla sole reign Imperials are Rome mint. There are several reverses for Caracalla and fewer for Julia Domna.
    rm6750bb0104.jpg rm6760bb0196.jpg rm6780bb0184.jpg
  8. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Great ant. @Valentinian

    One year later (216 CE)

    Caracalla, Antoninianus Rome mint, AD 216
    ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust of Caracalla right, seen from behind
    VENVS VICTRIX, Victory standing left, holding helmet and sceptre, resting on shield set on a captive, another captive at her feet
    4.87 gr
    Ref : RCV # 6785, RIC # 312c, RSC # 612b

  9. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Some beautiful coins in this thread!
  10. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    A couple first-year issues:
    First is a denarius of Geta from 198-200 A.D. Why, exactly, Septimius Severus wanted to advertise that his Caesar was a nine-year-old boy is beyond me, although I am reminded of one of Kinky Friedman's ads when he ran for governor of Texas ("How hard can it be?"). Plus, Geta at the time was probably better qualified for office than Caligula's horse, (although Incitatus was appointed a mere Senator, not Caesar) . . . um, what was I talking about? Oh yeah! the Geta denarius:
    Silver Denarius
    Rome mint, A.D. 198-200
    Rev: SPES PVBLICA - Spes, advancing left, holding flower and raising skirt
    RIC 4
    18mm, 3.4g.

    And a Gordian III first-year antoninianus. Notice the huge difference in the quality of the obverse and reverse strikes, hard to believe they are the same coin:
    Silver Double Denarius
    Rome mint, A.D. 238-239
    Rev: VICTORIA AVG - Victory, advancing left, holding wreath and palm branch.
    RIC 5
    23mm, 3.6g.
  11. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I have only one Imperial Caracalla, a denarius, and it was from a large mixed lot purchased in 2013. The attribution was copied from a similar coin found in archives and I'd never gone back to study it or think about how the date was derived but it was struck in 215, the same year Caracalla changed the monetary system.

    @dougsmit has a page about Imperial abbreviations and using that, I can now understand how the specific date for this coin was determined. Thanks, Doug!

    Caracalla, CE 198-217
    Rome, struck CE 215
    AR denarius, 19 mm, 3.8 gm
    Obv: ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right (looks like GURM instead of GERM)
    Rev: PM TRP XVIII COS IIII PP; Fides standing left holding two standards
    Ref: RIC 266, RSC 315, BMC 143
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
  12. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Yes. In RIC volume IV, part I, on pages 248-252, there are 8 antoninianus types with the same explicit year-18 legend. Look for the TRP XVIII.

    It comes with Diana in a biga of bulls (Doug showed one), Jupiter standing left (Doug, again), Jupiter standing right (the OP coin), Pluto seated left and Cerebus (Doug), Serapis standing (below), Sol standing, Sol mounting quadriga, and lion radiate walking left (below).


  13. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Caracalla (198 - 217 A.D.)
    AR Antoninianus
    O: ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, , radiate and cuirassed bust right.
    R: P M TR P XVIII COS IIII P P, Pluto seated left, extending right hand, holding vertical scepter in left; at his feet to left, Cerberus seated left, turning his three heads right.
    RIC IV 261c; RSC III 299a; BMCRE V 124

    Julia Domna (194 - 217 A.D.)
    AR Antoninianus
    O: IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, Diademed and draped bust right, resting on crescent.
    R: VENVS GENETRIX, Venus seated left holding hand out, and scepter.
    RIC 388a, RSC 206a
  14. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Roman Coins and Their Values, by David Sear had, through the fourth single-volume edition, for each emperor a table of dates for all the TRP numbers, COS numbers, IMP numbers, and other titles. The new 5-volume edition is much more complete, but lacks those useful tables. I don't understand why the new edition does not have them given they were very useful and it can't be for lack of space. So, on my shelf I still have an old edition alongside the new volumes.
  15. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I really should buy that book...
    dougsmit likes this.
  16. Pellinore

    Pellinore Well-Known Member

    Thanks, this is very useful information for a coin show hunt, next month in Belgium I hope.
  17. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    There is an antoninianus with this reverse, but I only have denarius.
    Caracalla (197-217 AD). AR Denarius, Rome, 216 AD.
    Obv. ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right.
    Rev. VENVS VICTRIX, Venus standing left, leaning on shield left and holding Victory and sceptre.
    RIC 311b.
  18. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    They are a great type. I have always had a soft spot for them though never quite enough to want to focus on them.

  19. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    With regards to the first issue/last issue this is a very useful tool in creating a chronology on coins. The first issue coins of Probus from Lugdunum are said to resemble Florian. The first issue coins of Carus from Lugdunum are said to resemble Probus.

    Let's see what you make of them.

    Last of Florian - First of Probus

    Obv:– IMP C M AN FLORIANVS AVG, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right
    Rev:– VIRTVS AVGVSTI, Emperor advancing right, holding a shield and spear, treading down captive.
    Minted in Lugdunum (IIII in exe) Emission 3 Officina 4, from September to October A.D. 276
    Reference:– Cohen 107. Bastien 150. RIC 16 Bust type C
    Obv:– IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, Radiate cuirassed bust right
    Rev:– VIRTVS AVGVSTI, Emperor walking right, holding spear and shield, treading down captive
    Minted in Lugdunum (IIII in exe) Emission 1, Officina 4. October 276 A.D.
    Reference:– Cohen 869, Bastien 155. RIC 56 Bust type F

    Last of Probus - First of Carus

    Obv:– IMP C PROBVS • P • F • AVG, Radiate, cuirassed bust right
    Rev:– SPES AVG, Spes standing left, holding flower and raising robe
    Minted in Lugdunum (C, retrograde in left field) Emission 9, Officina 3. January to August A.D. 282
    Reference:– Cohen 700. Bastien 407. RIC 128 Bust type F
    Obv:– IMP C M AVR CARVS · P · F · AVG, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front
    Rev:– PAX AVG, Pax, advancing left holding olive-branch and sceptre
    Minted in Lugdunum (No marks) Emission 1. September A.D. 282
    Reference:– Cohen 47. Bastien 445. RIC 10 Bust type C

  20. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    make the point very well. They really do look alike, don't they!
    Cucumbor and TIF like this.
  21. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Just a guy making his way in the universe

    My Caracalla ant:

    I'd like to pick up an Elagabalus ant as well!!!
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