Is this really a Tiberius? I have my doubts

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by NicholasMaximus, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. NicholasMaximus

    NicholasMaximus Well-Known Member

    I just received a coin that I won at auction on ebay (via Holding History). The legend in the obverse mentions "Germanicus", so I figured that this coin might actually be a Caligula, or even Claudius instead of a Tiberius (as it was identified on the auction).

    From what I know of the history, it just doesnt seem to make sense for Tiberius to have made a coin for Germanicus. I know Germanicus was considered an adopted son to Tiberius, but Tiberius really wanted his son to be heir and might have had Germanicus killed. It seems far more likely that Caligula made this coin to honor his father.

    Here is the coin I received


    Caligula reverse.png

    Here is a coin that seems like a match (attributed to Caligula)

    caligula coin.PNG

    Here is a coin on Frank Robinson's site that is also attributed to Caligula


    Here are two coins from Claudius and Caligula on Forum Ancient Coins.


    If anybody has an opinion they want to share, I would be grateful. I knew the coin might not be a Tiberius when i bought it (but wanted it anyway). I would actually prefer a Caligula if I am being honest. I thought a Caligula would be more rare, but I have seen a list of emperors ranked by scarcity of coin on here recently, that indicated Tiberius coins are a bit rarer than Caligula's. I know Caligula was a prolific spender, but he did have a much shorter reign and then became the first emperor to receive Damnatio Memoriae.
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Issued to honor Germanicus by Caligula, it features Germanicus on the obverse. Here's mine:

    Germanicus, 15 BC - AD 19.
    Roman Æ as, 11.18 g, 27.5 mm, 7 h.
    Rome, issued under Caligula, AD 40-41.
    Obv: GERMANICVS CAESAR TI AVG F DIVI AVG N, bare-head of Germanicus, left.
    Rev: C CAESAR DIVI AVG PRON AVG P M TR P IIII P P around large SC.
    Refs: RIC 50; BMCRE 74-78; Cohen 4; RCV 1822; CBN 123.
    Note: Reverse die-match to Henry Cohen, Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Tome I, Paris, 1880, page 225, no. 4.
  4. NicholasMaximus

    NicholasMaximus Well-Known Member

    Thank you @Roman Collector !! I thought this was the case. In general, is a Caligula coin more rare than a Tiberius coin? Or are they pretty much the same in terms of rarity?

    I paid 60 bucks for this one, do you think I got it for decent value considering the shape its in?
    JackBlueDog likes this.
  5. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  6. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Your coin of Germanicus matches the one posted by Roman Collector but not the others here. The reverse legend refers to Caligula as DIVI AVG PRON or grandson of the divine Augustus. Several of Caligula's coins are found with either reference either as son of Germanicus or grandson of Augustus through his mother. There were a lot of adoptions, multiple marriages and half siblings in the family so it helps to have a chart to keep them straight.
  7. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member soon as i saw it, Germanicus came to my's a kool coin.. :)
    NicholasMaximus likes this.
  8. NicholasMaximus

    NicholasMaximus Well-Known Member

    Thanks @ominus1

    As soon as I saw the Germanicus lettering, I thought to myself “this is a Caligula”. That got me really excited. Still not sure how good I did in terms of value for what I paid, but I am really fascinated with Caligula. I also wanted a coin with “SC” and this one had good detail.

    I actually just watched a really good Netflix show earlier that had a season on Caligula, in celebration of getting the coin. It’s simply called “Roman empire” for anyone interested. It isn’t perfect, but the actors re-enact things pretty well.
    JackBlueDog likes this.
  9. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I had a similar confusing situation. I got a really low-grade Germanicus as from an eBay lot and I figured it was issued by Caligula, but the reverse inscription (what is left of it) wasn't matching up.

    Turns out it is a Titus restoration issue. A pleasant surprise to be sure.

    Titus - Germanicust Rest as lot May 2020 (0).jpg

    Titus - Germanicust Rest as lot May 2020 (0det).jpg

    Titus Æ As
    Germanicus Restoration Issue
    (80-81 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    GER[MANICVS CAESAR TI AV]G F DIVI AVG N, head of Germanicus, bare, left /
    IMP T CAES [DIVI VESP F] AVG REST · around large S-C.
    RIC 442 (RIC [1962] 228) (Titus)
    (8.25 grams / 23 mm)
  10. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    I'm pretty sure my Germanicus was issued by Claudius:
    Bronze As
    Rome mint, A.D. 50-54
    RIC (Claudius) 106
    29mm, 10.5g.
  11. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    I'm not sure there is a "market value" for your coin. Finding enough similar coins is similar condition to determine a market price would be very difficult.

    There's a saying in the ancient coin community: "An ancient coin is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it"

    So the real question becomes: Are you pleased with your purchase? If so, then you got a decent value.
    NicholasMaximus and dougsmit like this.
  12. NicholasMaximus

    NicholasMaximus Well-Known Member


    Its funny that you mention that saying, I recently wrote the same thing on a different thread. I think what I am more curious about, is how the shift from it being identified as a "Tiberius coin" to a "Caligula coin" could impact its value?

    I am very happy with the purchase. It was an auction and I walked away with a coin I really wanted (as soon as I saw it I was drawn in). Personally, I wanted it more after realizing it was possibly a Caligula. I recently saw a list of imperial figures by scarcity of coins on a different thread. It indicated Caligula was the 83rd hardest figure to get a coin from and Tiberius was 90th. Personally, I am more fascinated with Caligula (ever since he was a subject of a college paper on his mistreatment by modern historians who are too willing to believe questionable ancient criticisms).

    I am sure in some ways, a list like that can be arbitrary. Someone can be 120th on the list, but if a dealer you know has one their coins, it isnt very hard at all to get your hands on one. But if you view the market as a whole, it isnt hard to realize their are a ton more coins from Constantine (& sons), Probus and Diocletian, then there are from Marcus Aurelius or Lucius Verus.

    Caligula is an interesting figure in this regard because he has some factors that would seemingly make his coins more rare (earlier emperor, short reign, damnatio memoriae whether it was official or not is up for debate, but the senate did pass a law ordering Caligula coins to be destroyed). However, he was such a prolific spender, that his opulence might be a more powerful factor than any of the things that would seemingly make his coins more rare.
    JackBlueDog likes this.
  13. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    I think a lot would depend on your collecting interest. If you were assembling a collection of coins issued by Tiberius or Caligula, then, to you, the issuing authority would have an impact on the value. If you were assembling a collection of emperors, it might not matter whether it was issued during Tiberius' or Caligula's reign.

    A quick glance of suggests that the Tiberius version is much harder to find than the Caligula. But my guess is that more people have heard of Caligula than Tiberius, so it wouldn't surprise me if the Caligula issue had a slight premium over the Tiberius even though it is more common.
    JackBlueDog and NicholasMaximus like this.
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