Featured Gavin's Twelve Caesars!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Gavin Richardson, Feb 3, 2020.

  1. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Consummatum Est.

    So about fifteen years after getting my first Twelve Caesars coin, I have finally finished my Twelve Caesars set to my satisfaction. I say “to my satisfaction” because it was technically complete after I bought Orfew’s Otho in AMCC 2. But my Titus was a slug, so I bought a better Titus a few weeks ago. It just came in today from the Great White North. Here’s a “virtual tray.” A group photo is at the end of this post.


    I subscribe to the school that says there are no rules for a Twelve Caesars set. But my arbitrary guidelines were 1) all imperial (no provincial); 2) all bronze. (I didn't care if the emperor was the Caesar or Augustus.) I soon found out that imperial bronze was impossible for Julius Caesar and Otho, so I had to go denarii there. I also recognized that sestertii would be out of my price range. I’m happy with the middle bronze (AE as) collection I assembled. My favorite might be humble Claudius, with its genuine and attractive desert patina. My least favorite? Let’s face it. That Vitellius is a pretty ugly coin. But Vitellius in bronze is precious regardless of condition.

    For anyone who is interested, here’s a chart with the acquisition year, the seller, and the price. Perhaps it’s a bit crass to list price, but I know that when I was thinking about making a serious run at a Twelve Caesars set, I was curious what it could be done for. Still, I had no real budget or timeline. I just bought the next coin that I could afford at the time. Predictably, the Julius Caesar denarius comes in at the most expensive, followed by the usual suspects Otho, Galba, and Vitellius. That Year of the Four Emperors is hard on the ol’ budget! The Augustus Altar of Lugdunum comes in at the cheapest. The Nero price is from 2005; that coin would probably cost me a lot more today.

    Screenshot 2020-02-03 22.15.34.png

    I got serious about making a run at a Twelve Caesars set in 2017 (note that almost half of the set was bought in 2018 alone). I really didn’t think I would land a Julius Caesar portrait denarius until maybe as a retirement gift to myself in the distant future. But a pleasing budget option happened to show up in VCoins just at a time when I had a little extra money, so I figured that was the universe telling me to go for it. I’m glad I did.

    It may be interesting that only two coins come from auction (one being an unsold lot). I’ve returned to serious collecting only in the past three years or so and am still an auction neophyte; my VCoins purchases show me hugging the shore.

    In the future, I would like to upgrade my Caligula. (I actually have two and would probably sell both and invest in a better grade.) I might also get provincial bronzes of Julius Caesar and Otho just to have an all-middle-bronze lineup too.

    Being on this board inspired me to complete this set, and I consulted some of you publicly and privately on some of my choices, so thank you. There certainly are nicer Twelve Caesars sets out there, but I love mine. As the great philosopher Bruce Springsteen says, “You ain’t a beauty, but hey, you’re alright.”


  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Congratulations! That's an accomplishment. Nice coins! I like the Nero the best.
    Gavin Richardson likes this.
  4. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter


    12 Caesars #3.jpg
  5. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Oooh. All silver. Maybe another mountain to climb. But I already have denarii of JC, Augustus, Tiberius, Otho, and Vespasian....
    Paul M. and Orfew like this.
  6. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Very nicely done @Gavin Richardson That is a lovely set. You are correct, there is no one right way to complete the set. The possible variety is just part of what makes assembling the set so much fun.

  7. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Congrats for your splendid and nice will in matter of coin collecting. I still need 5 coins to complete my collection of the 12 Caesars. They happen to be the most difficult and expensive ones. So That's normal. That's what I've noticed after reviewing your price list. Thus, needless to name those 5 Emperors. Only luck might lead me to acquire some or all of them.
  8. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Very nice Gavin
    I have 3 to go. Nero Titus and Vespasian are all Alexandria tets at this point, will finish up with galba otho and vitellius at some point this year. My main focus has been the adoptive emperor's and the third century. Which requires quintullus and Florian.
  9. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    Congrats! That's an attractive set, and I especially like the Galba. Thanks for providing the prices too. I know it is considered a crass by some, but I actually think that knowing the price someone paid for an item, especially a desirable one, can be really helpful to a less experienced collector like myself.
  10. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Very nice, @Gavin Richardson... Congrats! I'm no connoisseur, but it strikes me that you've made many excellent portrait choices with your set. I like them all, even the Vitellius... it has character!

    My 12 Caesars hodgepodge...

    12 Caesars 2.jpg
  11. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Great portrait detail in those denarii!
    Paul M. likes this.
  12. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    What a wonderful achievement! I appreciate that you listed prices and sellers - I find this information very helpful.. maybe someday I will get there.
    You've made some excellent choices along the way and must feel a high level of satisfaction.. it's an amazing set!
  13. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Wonderful set, congrats.

    I still need a portrait JC, but it will come with time.

  14. PlanoSteve

    PlanoSteve Supporter! Supporter

    Gavin, that is one delicious looking Caesar "salad"! And so fast,...& apparent economical cost. Great determination! Love it! :happy:;):singing:
    Paul M. and Gavin Richardson like this.
  15. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Great looking 12 Kaisers, @Gavin Richardson !

    The 12 Caesars and the Julius Caesar Vindex who ended the Julio-Claudians...Starts with an IVLIVS CAESAR and ends with an IVLIVS CAESAR. The irony of a man who kills off many of the Gauls, then a nobleman from the Gauls, with the same name starts the insurrection against the Julio-Claudians to end the dynasty!

    My set is more of a "Dog's Breakfast"

    Tets, Denarii, Quinarii, Dupondius, As, etc.

  16. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    That breakfast still looks pretty good. Interesting to throw Vindex in there. But that’s one more high dollar coin than I need! :greedy:
  17. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

  18. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    Wonderful 12 caesars set @Gavin Richardson!
    It is nice to see how different collectors put together a 12 caesars collection. Personally I like your way.
  19. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Thanks! Like Frank says, "I did it my way......"

    @Orfew has another lovely all-silver set. I was the beneficiary of his Otho upgrade.
    Justin Lee, Paul M. and Orfew like this.
  20. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

  21. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    It just struck me that I have never seen a 12 Caesars set selected for being all different rather than all the same. This would require some careful decision making not to fill easy denominations like denarius with easy to find ones and there should be an aureus (probably a Nero since he is represented no worn gold as often as any).

    I believe your set looks good together and better than if you had a mint state coin of the cheap emperors and a dog for the rare ones. I probably would prefer the replacement of the two silvers with provincial bronzes especially since you have that Augustus from Lugdunum which is kind of half way to Provincial. The only rules that matter are the ones you set for yourself. It is always interesting to see what people do to make up for Otho not having Imperial AE. I don't have a 12 Caesar's set but I do have a coin from each of the twelve. Only some people will understand that difference. Of the coins posted here, I give extra credit to Randy's for the use of the Caesar half of a 'dupondius'.
    randygeki, zumbly and Justin Lee like this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page