Featured I, Claudius, bringing a project to completion and an identification to confusion, then; dies.

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by svessien, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    This is a rather long-winded article about buying a new coin. Hopefully it will be worth both writing and reading it. It is about:

    I, as in me, a coin collecting nuffsaid from Norway.

    Claudius, Emperor of Rome 41-54 AD.

    A collection of silver coins from the first 12 Caesars, which this coin from Claudius completes.

    Confusion over identifying the correct place where this coin was minted, and an examination of dies.

    This is the coin in question:


    The very reputable auction house described it as follows:

    Denarius 44, AR 19 mm, 3.74 g. [TI] CLAVD CAESAR AVG P M TR P [IIII] Laureate head r. Rev. PACI – [AVGVST]AE Pax-Nemesis, winged, advancing r., holding with l. hand winged caduceus pointing down at snake and holding out fold of drapery below chin with r. C 56. BMC 27. RIC 28. CBN 42.
    Old cabinet tone, a small scratch on obverse field, otherwise very fine

    Ex Künker 35, 1997, 296 and Hirsch Nachf. 197, 1997, 506 sales.

    Claudius is definitely my favorite emperor, and I have always loved this reverse. First of because as a man, you have to love the sight of a woman with a healthy musculus gluteus maximus. (You actually have to. It's genetic.)
    A more intellectual approach to it would be to wonder why Pax Nemesis makes her first occurance on a Roman coin at this point in time?

    ”After the assassination of Caligula on January 24, 41 AD, the Praetorian Guards needed an emperor to retain their jobs so they took Claudius to the Praetorian camp and put him under their protection. The goddess Pax-Nemesis represents subdued vengeance or the amnesty in prosecuting those who had participated in the assassination of his nephew. The Senate quickly met and began debating a change of government, yet it quickly devolved into an argument over which of them would be the new Princeps. When the Senate heard of the Praetorians’ claim, they demanded that Claudius be delivered to them for approval. Perhaps King Herod of Israel, Claudius’ boyhood friend, may have counseled Claudius.

    Whatever the source of the counsel, be it Herod or the guards, Claudius rightly refused as he sensed the danger.

    Eventually, the Senate was forced to give in and accepted Claudius as the new emperor, and in return, he pardoned nearly all the assassins. Thus, this coin was issued depicting “Pax” meaning peace and “Nemesis” meaning the inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall.”



    So, a coin with a good portrait, an attractive goddess and a good dose of history to boot, what’s not to like?

    The identification made by the auction house, I guess. That left something to be desired. In most cases I wouldn’t have noticed, because I have tended to trust the professionals, and at least this auction house. This time I started doing some research, because I wanted to see if I could identify die matches. (The denarii of Claudius are so scarce that this is quite possible.) I also questioned the dating; 44-45 AD. Looking at the obverse legend, I would have thought it was earlier.

    Let’s start there, with the dating. The legend on my coin is

    TI CLAVD CAESAR AVG P M TR P. According to Seaby, that’s 41-42 AD.

    If it was RIC 28, minted 44 AD, it would have been TI CLAVD CAESAR AVG P M TR P IIII

    The seller has concluded that the ”IIII” has landed outside the flan, like other parts of the legend. That can be defended, but you would expect to see small parts of the numerals along the rim, right?

    My suspicion that the dating was wrong was confirmed when I found a die match that was dated 41-42 AD:


    However, the coin on the right has a different reverse, adding to the confusion:


    Solidus Numismatik described it as:

    "CLAUDIUS (41 - 54 n. Chr.). Denar. 41 - 42 n. Chr. Lugdunum.
    Vs: TI CLAVD CAESAR AVG P M TR P. Kopf mit Eichenkranz rechts.
    Rs: [PRAETOR] - RECEPT. Claudius in Toga und Prätorianer mit Adlerstandarte stehen einander gegenüber und reichen sich die Hände.
    RIC 12. C. 78. BMC 9.
    Schlagspuren und Kratzer, sehr schön.
    Sehr selten.
    3,61 g 19 mm"

    So, Lugdunum, eh? At least we seem closer to knowing the date, but the price was that the mint now is in question. I guess it’s not very likely that the obverse dies were sent back and forth between Rome and Lyons for different reverses, so who is wrong?

    First task: Find the correct RIC number on the coin with Pax/Nemesis from 41/42 AD. That’s RIC 10. Great. What does RIC online say about the mint, I wonder?


    As you can see, not very much. According to RIC online, all the denarii from Claudius are minted in Rome.

    According to all acsearch results, RIC 12 was minted in Lugdunum.

    According to me (I told you this thread was about me too), RIC 10 and RIC 12 have to have the same mint, and this is why:


    Almost all the examples I was able to find have die matches across 10 and 12.

    It is possible, based on style, that the coins to the left have another mint: That RIC 10 and 12 were minted at the same time with the same obverse dies both in Rome and Lyons.

    However, I find it more likely that one mint operated with two different engravers.

    It must be quite clear by now that I’m far into speculation about this, but I think this thread illustrates that I’m not the only one guilty of that. Look at the different auction descriptions here:


    I find it difficult to see a pattern here. One thing is for sure: RIC 10 is a rare coin. I have put the samples I have found together here:


    I’m sure there are more, but not many, many more. It’s a coin that is at least R6, perhaps R7. I have ended up describing it as a coin from the Lyons mint, as most of the examples from acsearch puts it at Lyons, and that most if not all RIC 12 samples are described as from Lyons. Looking at the style of these two types, I find them different than other Claudius silver coins from the same time.

    I’m still speculating, though. Please help me if you can. Or share a Claudius coin of your own, that would be nice too.

    And, by the way: The set is not complete. It won’t be in a million years. I will keep on honing the 12 Caesars. But it has reached a new level, and I’m really, really happy with the coin. :)

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I have an example of this coin I purchased years ago. Claudius 3a.jpg

    And I have it cataloged as having been struck at Rome 46/47 AD being RIC 39:

    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: TI CLAVD CAESAR AVG P M TR P VI IMP XI, laureate head right
    REVERSE: PACI AVGVSTAE, Pax-Nemesis advancing right, drawing out fold of robe at neck, holding caduceus above serpent preceding her
    Struck at Rome, 46/7AD
    3.6g, 19mm
    RIC39, BMC40

    Is my identification correct?
  4. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    I think so, Bing, but I can't confirm the mint, as RIC online identifies all the coins as Rome mint.
    Looking at the obverse legend, it seems like they started writing this the other way; counter-clockwise, from 46 AD:

    According to my old Seaby, RIC 39 is with the PRAETOR RECEPT reverse, but I guess your coin has the second edition ID.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
    Roman Collector likes this.
  5. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Amazing coin! Congratulations.
    I enjoyed following your investigation as well.
  6. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    Thank you, Claudius!
    I felt really, really lucky to get it. I blew the very rest of my coin funds on it too, but it sold just within what I was able to pay.
    Now: Back to bottom feeding where I belong. :)
    rrdenarius likes this.
  7. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    I am no help but it's a beautiful coin with the kind of toning I have paid extra for.

    My Claudius coins.

    Claudius (41 - 54 A.D.)
    AR Cistophoric Tetradrachm
    O: TI CLAVD CAES · AVG, bare head left.
    R: COM ASI across field, distyle temple of Roma and Augustus, enclosing standing facing figures of Claudius, holding scepter, being crowned by Fortuna, holding cornucopia; ROM ET AVG on entablature.
    Ephesus mint. Struck AD 41-42
    RIC I 120 (Pergamum); RPC I 2221; RSC 3; BMCRE 228; BN 304-6

    Claudius (41 - 54 A.D.)
    Egypt, Alexandria
    Billon Tetradrachm
    O: TI KLA[UDI KAIS SEBA GERMANI AUTOKR], laureate head of Claudius right; LB to right.
    R: ANTWNIA SEBASTH, draped bust of Antonia right, wearing hair in long plait.
    Dated RY 2 (41/2 AD)
    Dattari 114; Milne 61-64; Emmett 73.

    Nero (54 - 68 A.D.)
    Seleucis & Pieria, Antioch
    AR Tetradrachm 
O: NERO CLAVD DIVI CLAVD F CAESAR AVG GER, laureate head of Nero right; star behind.
R: [DIVOS] CLAVD AVG GERMANIC PATER AVG, laureate head of Claudius right.
    Syrian Mint - 63-68 AD
    Prieur 48; RPC I 4123; BMC 172; Sydenham 65 (Caesarea); RSC 2; McAlee 270.
  8. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    That's a solid Claudius collection, @Mat
    I have always wanted the Cistophoric Tetradrachm.
    The one with Claudius and Agrippina is great too, and you top it off with Nero and Claudius. Fits well with the Nemesis theme:)
  9. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Fun investigative work and a beautiful coin! Arguably my favorite denarius reverse design from the early empire.

    Claudius denarii are still a bit out of reach for me (I am still a $1k coin virgin) but I do have a bit of a Claudius collection

    AR Cistophorus, Ephesus? Mint
    Temple of Rome and Augustus
    Claudius Cistophoric tetradrachm ROM ET AVG COM ASI.jpg

    Alexandrian BI Tetradrachm
    "Poor man's Messalina" type
    Claudius Alexandria tet messalina.jpg

    Claudius AE As Libertas.jpg

    And while it clocks in at about a tenth of the price, I have always been fond of Hadrian's use of Pax-Nemesis almost a century later.
    Hadrian AR denarius victory pax-nemesis.jpg
  10. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    It should surprise no one that my coin is a fourree.
  11. Alegandron

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

    Claudius and Wife

    RProv Valeria Messalina m-Claudius 41-54 CE Alexandria BI Tet yr 42-43 13.1g 25mm RPC I 5131
    Broucheion, Limes, Parthicus and 8 others like this.
  12. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    You're still able to come up with a coin relevant to every thread on the board, and that's impressive.

    I really like your Cistophoric Tetradrachm, @Finn235.
    Although you're still a 1k virgin, that can't have been too cheap. Very nice coin.
  13. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Congrats Svein ,the Claudius denarius is probably the most difficult one to acquire for a 12 Caesar set.
    I avoided a hefty price and added this provincial in my 12 Caesar set:

    Limes, Clavdivs, Parthicus and 8 others like this.
  14. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    Thank you. My Caligula is a drachm, and a lot of the silver provincials are great. I like yours.
    With this set, however, I want to end up with all denarii in VF or better. Right now that means starting to plan for a Caligula den in a year or two.
  15. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    I also cheated a bit with the Caligula, Svein, its a fourree, I wanted a 12 Caesar set for around $ 1500 in silver and another set in bronze for the same amount.

    How many do you need to complete your set ?

  16. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    The OP coin made the set «complete», but it will be a work in progress as long as I collect coins.
    I want a Julius Caesar portrait denarius and a Caligula denarius. That’s going to take some saving and coin dealing.
    After that, I’m pretty sure there’s something else that I want. I don’t imagine I’ll ever be happy with my 12 Caesars set. Like you, I am working on one in AE too, preferably Ases.
  17. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    OK, your complete but want an upgrade for 2, I bought a Julius Caesar portrait coin , but its not lifetime and no better then fine, it took a large chunk out of my budget:(

    P1230084 aaa (7) best.jpg

    My 12 Caesar bronze set is also As size.
    Limes, Clavdivs, Parthicus and 6 others like this.
  18. CoinDoctorYT

    CoinDoctorYT Well-Known Member

    You have a very good eye. Nice post.
    svessien likes this.
  19. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    I'm of no help, but that reverse, especially with the old cabinet toning, is simply beautiful. Congrats!

    Claudius and his kids...

    Claudius - Judaea Caesarea Panias - Children 2742.jpg CLAUDIUS
    AE24. 9.25g, 24.4mm. JUDAEA, Caesarea Panias, circa before AD 49, pre-royal coinage of Agrippa II. RPC 4842; Meshorer 350; Hendin 1259. O: [TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR IM P P], laureate head left. R: [ANTONIA B]RITANN[ICVS OC]TAVIA, the children of Claudius: from left to right, Antonia, Britannicus, and Octavia, the two daughters each holding a cornucopia.
  20. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    Thank you.
    I find it rather disappointing, however, that we see this kind of mis-attribution from very serious auction houses, and that Seaby RSC, RIC (online) and Sear RCV (not even listed) come up short describing this coin correctly. I’m not saying I’m definitely right about this being a Lyons mint, but I don’t understand why the correlation between RIC 10 and 12 hasn’t been picked up earlier. Also, the cut for the auction house is a good amount of money on coins like these, and I don’t think the seller got what he/she paid for here. The buyer is quite satisfied, however.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
  21. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Great coin and write-up. The research behind a new coin is always fun. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading Suetonius' The Twelve Caesars, but have avoided the temptation to buy a set. My favorite of the 12 is Galba. I bid on a coin of his recently, but was a bit short.
    svessien likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page